BA Latin and Spanish

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Greek Epic Poetry

Unit code CLAH31042
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Classics & Ancient History
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This course entails the study of epic poetry in Greek as represented primarily by two poems from very different periods: the Iliad of Homer, the first surviving work of Western literature, and the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, which tells the story of Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. It focuses closely on understanding and interpretation of the primary texts. All students will read and study both major poems in their entirety in translation (those with the appropriate level of Greek language will also read a proportion of both epics in the original Greek).

Pre/co-requisites

Pre-requisite units

for those reading the poems only in translation: none;

for those reading some parts of the poems in Greek: (at least) Advanced Greek 1 or equivalent (higher is fine); student must be at L3


Co-requisite units

Anti-requisite: this course cannot be combined with CLAH 20152 Greek Epic Poetry.

Those taking this course alongside Advanced Greek are expected to take it as linguists.  If you are in any doubt about which level of the course is appropriate for you, please ask.

Aims

• To introduce students to two key poems (Iliad, Argonautica) within the genre of Greek epic, and their wider contexts
• To enable the appreciation of the main lines of criticism on these poems
• To give students an appreciation of the differences between Homeric and later epic
• To introduce students to the study of texts surviving only in fragments (the Epic Cycle) and the challenges, problems and opportunities involved

Syllabus

This course entails the study of epic poetry in Greek as represented primarily by two poems from very different periods: the Iliad of Homer, the first surviving work of Western literature, and the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, which tells the story of Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. It focuses closely on understanding and interpretation of the primary texts. All students will read and study both major poems in their entirety in translation (those with the appropriate level of Greek language will also read a proportion of both epics in the original Greek, and will do proportionately less formatively assessed and summatively examined work in translation).


Set Texts:


Non-linguists :
• Hammond, Martin, Homer: The Iliad. London 1987 (Hammond’s Penguin Classics translation of the Iliad)
• Hunter, Richard, Jason and the Golden Fleece. Oxford 1993 (World’s Classics translation of the Argonautica)
• West, M.L. Greek Epic Fragments. London 2003, available at loebclassics.com  [the Loeb edition of Greek epic fragments, including the cycle; set texts are: translations of the fragments and testimonia of the Cypria, Aethiopis, Little Iliad, Sack of Ilion and Returns]


Linguists:
• Iliad book 24, in the text available online at loebclassics.com (Murray's Loeb revised by Wyatt)
• Apollonius, Argonautica 3.1-209, in the text available online at loebclassics.com (Race's Loeb)

Teaching and learning methods

  • 2 x 1 hour lectures per week;
  • 1 x 1 hour seminar per week;
  • 1 dedicated consultation hour per week.
  • Blackboard: course material, handouts and other supporting materials.

Knowledge and understanding

• show a knowledge and critical understanding of the content, form, conventions, and background of two very different major epic poems and their place within the genre of epic
• show an appreciation of some aspects of the nature of poetry composed in a oral tradition
• show an understanding of, and the ability to illustrate, the influence of Homer on Apollonius of Rhodes as well as the profound differences between them
• show an understanding of the nature of studying fragmentary texts and their potential for shedding light on better preserved texts

Intellectual skills

  • Show the ability to respond thoughtfully to difficult and complex texts, and to comment critically upon them

Practical skills

  • manage time and resources

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • have improved their verbal and written expression, the organisation of personal study, and the use of IT resources

Employability skills

Analytical skills
The course involves a large number of important employment skills, most notably an ability to analyse and examine a large amount of often difficult information, an ability to see both sides of an argument, the ability to synthesise an argument in a cogent form, the ability to retrieve information from complex sources and present it in a compelling and cogent fashion.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

  • written feedback on two pieces of formatively assessed coursework
  • additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment)

Recommended reading

 

In general on the Iliad:

 

Postlethwaite, N. (2000). Homer Iliad: A Commentary. Exeter.

Jones, P. V. (2003) Homer’s Iliad: A Commentary on Three Translations. Bristol.

Edwards, M. (1987).  Homer. Poet of the Iliad.

Schein, Seth L. (1984).  The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad.  Berkeley; London.

Silk, M. S. (1987).  Homer. The Iliad.  Cambridge.

 

In general on the Argonautica:

 

DeForest, Mary Margolies (1994).  Apollonius Argonautica: A Callimachean Epic.  Leiden.

Hunter, R. L. (1993).  The Argonautica of Apollonius: Literary Studies.  Cambridge.

Knight, V. (1995). The Renewal of Epic. Leiden.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Morrison Unit coordinator

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