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Level 5

5AACTL10 Adventures in Ancient Greek Drama

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor: To be confirmed
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminar (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 2-hour exam (100%)

Assessment pattern for Graduate Diploma students only 

Assessment: 2 x 2,000-word essays (100%, essays worth 50% each)

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

In this course we will explore ancient Greek drama through a study of select plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. The plays will be read in English translation. We will read four plays, one by each playwright.  In our reading, we will consider such issues as the development of the genre, performance conventions, gender, ethnicity, and religion. Particular attention will be paid to the evolving relationship between Athenian drama and the socio-political context of the democracy. We will supplement our investigations with readings from contemporary scholarship.

Provisional teaching plan

  • Week 1 Introduction to Ancient Theatre (playwrights, conventions, and performance context)
  • Week 2 Aeschylus’ Persians – dramatic form, innovation and effects
  • Week 3 Aeschylus’ Persians – cultural significance and impact
  • Week 4 Sophocles’ Women at Trachis– dramatic form, innovation and effects
  • Week 5 Sophocles’ Women at Trachis – cultural significance and impact
  • Week 6 Euripides’ Trojan Women – dramatic form, innovation and effects
  • Week 7 Euripides’ Trojan Women – cultural significance and impact
  • Week 8 Aristophanes’ Wasps – dramatic form, innovation and effects
  • Week 9 Aristophanes’ Wasps – cultural significance and impact
  • Week 10 Conclusion – the nature of ancient Greek drama 

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

  • E. Bakola, L. Prauscello, and M. Telò (eds) Greek Comedy and the Discourse of Genres (CUP, Cambridge)
  • P.E.  Easterling (1997) The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy (Cambridge)
  • E. Hall (2010) Greek Tragedy: Suffering under the Sun. (OUP, Oxford)
  • C. F. Russo (1997, transl. Kevin Wrap) Aristophanes an Author for the Stage (London)
  • O. Taplin (1978) Greek Tragedy in Action (London)
  • R. Wyles (2011) Costume in Greek Tragedy (Bristol Classical Press, London)
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