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Level 6

6AACLT08 Latin Texts VIII (Prose): Various Texts

Module convenor and assigned text change from year-to-year, please see below for annual information

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor: Various, changes from year-to-year, see below
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 2-hour examination (100%) (For Study Abroad students attending for Semester 1 only, 1 x 2-hour test paper in December.)
Prerequisites: A pass in 4AACLA03 Latin Language 3 or a level 5 Latin text module, 5AACLT01-L04.

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.

This is a Level 6 Latin text module, focusing on prose. The text prescription will vary from time to time, and will be announced before module choices have to be made for the next academic session. Specimen prescriptions, from previous years, can be found below. The examination will test knowledge of the context, content and themes of the set text(s), as well as translation ability.

For the specific text assigned for a particular year, please see below:

2016-17, Suetonius, Life of Claudius

Module convenor/tutor: Dr Martin Dinter & Dr Danielle Frisby

Claudius, who ruled from AD 41 to 54, is presented in the literary sources as dominated by his wives and freedmen, but he was also a scholar and a shrewd administrator.  By studying Claudius and his reign we gain insight into what it meant to be an emperor and into Romans' expectations of their emperors. 

Texts studied include Suetonius' life of Claudius (in Latin), Tacitus, Annals Books 11-12 (Penguin Classics Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome pp. 231-283, in trl.); Tacitus' account of the first part of Claudius' reign (AD41-46) is lost, and for this period our principal historical account is that of Cassius Dio; moreover we have a great satirical source with Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis. Translations of Tacitus, Dio and Seneca will be provided in class .

Set Text

  • All students will need to purchase a copy of  Donna Hurley (ed.), Suetonius: Divus Claudius. Text and commentary. Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • You will need a Latin dictionary and a guide to Latin grammar and syntax, such as Kennedy’s Revised Latin Primer, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar. or the Oxford Latin Grammar. 

Suggested Introductory Readings

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

  • For general introductions to Claudius and the early Principate see especially Wells, The Roman Empire ch. 5 (2nd ed. Harvard 1995), and Alston, Aspects of Roman History AD 14-117, ch. 4.  (2nd. Revised edition, Routledge 2014). 
  • J. Osgood, Claudius Caesar (Cambridge 2011) and  B. Levick, Claudius (London, 1990), are the best and most up-to-date accounts of the life of Claudius. 
  • See also Levick's article 'Claudius: antiquarian or revolutionary', in American Journal of Philology 99 (1978), 79-105. 
  • For earlier accounts of the emperor see A. Momigliano, Claudius: The Emperor and his Achievement (Oxford, 1934; repr. Cambridge, 1961); V. Scramuzza, The Emperor Claudius (Cambridge, Mass., 1940).
  • On Tacitus' account of Claudius see especially, R. Martin, Tacitus (London, 1981), ch. 6. For other studies of Tacitus see Mellor, The Roman Historians (Routledge 1999) ch. 4; Kraus and Woodman, Latin Historians (Oxford 1997) ch. 5.

2014-15, Cicero, Pro Caelio

Module convenor/tutor: Dr Emily Pillinger

The text for this course will be Cicero’s brilliant and often hilarious speech in defence of Marcus Caelius. Cicero is in his element, in his favourite position as the last of the defence team to speak. He makes only token reference to the legal details of the prosecution against Caelius, saving most of his energy for scathing personal attacks on virtually everyone involved in bringing the case to court. His mockery sweeps from the lawyers for the prosecution to Clodia Metelli, a shadowy presence behind the court case, the sister of Cicero’s worst enemy, and probably the historical figure behind Catullus’ beloved Lesbia. Over the course of the speech Cicero manipulates many themes, particularly those borrowed from Roman comic drama, to offer a fascinating insight into what might have been considered socially appropriate behaviour for a young Roman man. 

We will read the speech in its entirety, combining close analysis of the Latin and its rhetorical features with discussion of the wider political issues at stake. There will be a certain amount of background reading set and some further speeches and letters to read in English over the course of the module.

Set Text

  • Cicero: Pro Marco Caelio, ed. A. R. Dyck, Cambridge 2013 (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics)

Other useful commentaries

  • Cicero: Pro M. Caelio Oratio, ed. R. G. Austin, Oxford 1988
  • Cicero, Pro Caelio, ed. W. Englert, Bryn Mawr 1990 

Suggested introductory reading

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

  • M. G. L. Leigh, ‘The Pro Caelio and Comedy’, CPh 99, 2004: 300-35
  • T. P. Wiseman, Catullus and his World, Cambridge, 1985
  • M. Skinner, ‘Clodia Metelli’, TAPhA 113, 1983: 273-87
  • A. Leen, ‘Clodia Oppugnatrix: The Domus Motif in Cicero's Pro Caelio’, CJ 96, 2000-1: 141-62
  • J. M. May, ‘Patron and Client, Father and Son in Cicero's Pro Caelio’ CJ 90, 1995: 433-441

2012-13, Seneca, On Life and Leisure

Module convenor/tutor: Dr Ian Goh

In this module we will read two of Seneca’s short treatises, ‘De otio’ (On Leisure) and ‘De brevitate vitae’ (On the Brevity of Life). Both are of considerable historical and literary as well as philosophical interest – rich in intertextual connections with other Latin writing, and offering an introduction to concepts central to Roman thinking about happiness and freedom.

Set Text

G. D. Williams (ed.), Seneca: De Otio and De Brevitate Vitae (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics, 2003).

Students should order a copy of this edition as early as possible in advance of term, to ensure that they have it by the time teaching begins.

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