CLA3251 - Classical Language and Texts: Latin V: Epic

2022/3 Module description

StaffDr Irene Salvo -
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesCLA2254 Classical Language and Texts: Latin IV (or equivalent).
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

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

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

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 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

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

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 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

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
Language and texts exercises (to include translation and commentary)505 x 1000 words or equivalent (10% each)1-8Mark, written comments, and oral feedback session
Essay503000 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
Language and texts exercisesLanguage and texts exercises1-8Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay1-8Referral/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:

  • Albrecht, M. von. (1999) Roman Epic: An Interpretative Introduction. Leiden: Brill.
  • Asso, P. ed. (2011) Brill’s Companion to Lucan. Leiden: Brill.
  • Bates, C. ed. (2010) The Cambridge Companion to the Epic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Buckley, E. and M. Dinter, eds. (2013) A Companion to the Neronian Age. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Boyle, A. J. ed. (1993) Roman Epic. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Tesoriero, C. ed. (2010) Lucan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Toohey, P. (1993) Reading Epic: Introduction to the Ancient Narratives. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Zientek, L and M. Thorne, eds. (2020) Lucan's Imperial World: The Bellum Civile in its Contemporary Contexts. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

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Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Classics, Latin, Language, Text, Epic

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