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Study information

Classical Language and Texts: Latin V: Epic

Module titleClassical Language and Texts: Latin V: Epic
Module codeCLA3251
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Sharon Marshall (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Lucan's epic poem The Civil War, written during the rule of Nero and describing the civil wars of the previous century, is a powerful condemnation of civil war and the ensuing disintegration of society. This module takes Lucan's nihilistic and hyper-violent poem as the starting point for an in-depth examination of the developing genre of Roman epic in the original language. Reading Lucan's poem thematically alongside the works of his epic predecessors (e.g. Ennius’ Annales, Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid's Metamorphoses) and Neronian contemporaries (e.g. Persius’ Satires, Seneca’s Thyestes and Petronius’ Satyricon) will enable us to explore the way texts draw on and rework literary traditions in order to reflect or resist dominant ideologies.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to produce advanced understanding of the language, style and significance of Roman epic by close study of selected Latin texts.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate knowledge of all set texts in Latin
  • 2. Translate and provide independent, sophisticated literary commentary on Latin texts
  • 3. Demonstrate knowledge of whole poems (in translation) from which set texts are taken
  • 4. Develop a broad understanding of the nature of the epic genre and its development
  • 5. Develop a sensitivity to Latin language

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 6. Engage in literary criticism and analysis
  • 7. Gain confidence in the reading of literature

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 8. Develop independent research skills, skills in construction and organisation of arguments, confidence and clarity in oral and written communication

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:

Term 1: Lucan and the epic tradition

Term 2: Lucan in the Neronian context

Two-hour seminars consisting of detailed whole-group discussions of specified passages of set text prepared in advance by students; brief student presentations on background topics and themes researched outside class; discussion and criticism of secondary material. You read all of set texts in Latin in your own time as well as secondary material, but class work should provide a guide as to how these should be tackled, and a forum in which questions arising from their own work may be addressed.

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 teaching441 x 2 hour seminar per week
Guided independent study256Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Language workWeekly1-8Written/Oral 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
Examination603 hours1-8Mark and written or oral comments
Annotated passage202000 words1-8Mark, written comments, and oral feedback session
Essay 2203000 words1-8Mark, written comments, and oral feedback session

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination1-8Referral/Deferral period
Annotated passageAnnotated passage1-8Referral/Deferral period
Essay 2Essay1-8Referral/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

Set text:

  • Lucan, A Lucan Reader: Selections from Civil War. Ed. Susanna Braund. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2009.

Additional set texts to be provided.

Further reading:

  • Toohey, P. Reading Epic (London, 1992).
  • Boyle, A.J. (ed.) Roman Epic (London and New York, 1993).
  • Hardie, P. The Epic Successors of Virgil (Cambridge, 1992).
  • Henderson, J. 'Lucan/The Word at War' in A. J. Boyle (ed.) The Imperial Muse (Bentleigh, 1990).
  • Ahl, F. Lucan: An Introduction (Ithaca 1976).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Classics, Latin, Language, Text, Epic

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

CLA2254 Classical Language and Texts: Latin IV (or equivalent).

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date