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Study information

Greek and Roman Narrative

Module titleGreek and Roman Narrative
Module codeCLA1005
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Chiara Meccariello (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module explores Greek and Roman epic poems within their literary, cultural, and social contexts: the Homeric epics Iliad and Odyssey, and selections from Apollonius’ Hellenistic work The Argonautica and Roman ‘epic’, including Catullus 64, Virgil’s Aeneid and Ovid's experimental Metamorphoses.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to explore:

  • the development of the narrative genre from the earliest heroic epics through to Imperial Rome
  • the assumptions the texts make about man and the world
  • how changes in society are reflected in literature and in the role of literature in society
  • how attitudes and preconceptions influence the author’s treatment of his subject

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge of a wide range of the major literary works of the Greeks and Romans, and the way they reflected changes in ancient society and perceptions
  • 2. Demonstrate knowledge of how the genre of epic poetry developed from the Archaic period to the early Principate
  • 3. Understand relevant literary-critical theories, such as intertextuality, hypertextuality, and narratology

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Analyse and critically evaluate ancient texts in relation to their socio-cultural context
  • 5. Demonstrate academic and library skills specific to Classics and Ancient History
  • 6. Identify and engage effectively with relevant theoretical approaches to ancient texts

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Demonstrate independent study skills in research and the presentation of findings
  • 8. Select, organise and synthesise relevant material and present this in a strong argument
  • 9. Work and discuss issues in a peer group in a constructive and responsive way

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Greek Epic: Homer, Iliad and Odyssey 
  • Hellenistic into Roman Epic: selections from Apollonius’ Argonautica, Catullus 64, Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid's Metamorphoses

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4422 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1010 x 1 hour seminars
Guided Independent Study246Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Contribution to seminars and other online activitiesWeekly1-9Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay402000 words1-8Mark and written feedback
Critical commentary (Term One)301500 words1-8Mark and written feedback
Critical commentary (Term Two)301500 words1-8Mark and written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-8Referral/Deferral period
Critical commentaryCritical commentary1-8Referral/Deferral period
Critical commentaryCritical commentary1-8Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Greek Epic:


  • Canevaro, L. G., Women of Substance in Homeric Epic: Objects, Gender, Agency (Oxford, 2018).
  • Fowler, R., The Cambridge Companion to Homer (Cambridge, 2005). 
  • Goldhill, S., The Poet’s Voice: Essays on Poetics and Greek literature (Cambridge, 1991). 
  • Graziosi, B. and Haubold, J., Homer: The Resonance of Epic (London, 2005)
  • Katz, M., Penelope's Renown: Meaning and Indeterminacy in the Odyssey (Princeton, 1991). 
  • Powell, B. and Morris, I. (edd.), A New Companion to Homer (Mnemosyne, Bibliotheca Classica Batava, Supplementum 163 1997). 
  • Schein, S., (ed.) Reading the Odyssey (Princeton: PUP, 1995). 
  • Segal, C., Singers, Heroes and Gods in the Odyssey (Ithaca, 1995). 


Roman Epic:


  • Barchiesi, A., Speaking Volumes:  Narrative and Intertext in Ovid and Other Latin Poets (London, 2001). 
  • Boyle, A. J. (ed.), Roman Epic (London and New York, 1993). 
  • Bramble, J.C. ‘Structure and ambiguity in Catullus 64’, Proceedings Cambridge Philological Society 16 (1970) 22-41.
  • Conte, G.B. The Rhetoric of Imitation. Genre and Poetic Memory in Virgil and other Latin Poets (Ithaca, N.Y. 1986).
  • Hardie, P.R. (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Ovid (Cambridge, 2002). 
  • Hinds, S. Allusion and Intertext. Dynamics of Appropriation in Roman Poetry (Cambridge 1998).
  • Powell, A. (ed.), Roman Poetry and Propaganda in the Age of Augustus (London: Bristol Classical Press, 1992). 
  • Solodow, J.B., The World of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Chapel Hill, 1988).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

The module description, lecture materials, additional reading materials, useful web links and a discussion forum will be available via the Exeter Learning Environment.

Key words search

Classics, Greek, Roman, Latin, Narrative, Epic

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date