CL2AE-Ancient Epic

Module Provider: Classics
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Ms Niki Karapanagioti


Summary module description:
This module offers a broad introduction to Greek epic, with a close study of the Iliad and the Odyssey in translation.

•To offer the students a broad discussion of Homeric and later epic, exploring the context in which the poems were produced.
•To discuss modern critical approaches to the interpretation of Greek epic (e.g. oral formulaic theory, comparative approaches, historicist analyses, intertextual readings).

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, students are expected to:
•relate the interpretation of ancient epic to the contexts in which it was composed, the history of the genre, and the wider literary tradition;
•distinguish between, and evaluate the merits of, different methodological approaches to ancient epic; and develop different styles of literary criticism;
•complement the evidence and arguments presented in the lectures and seminars with additional information assembled by their own research;
•analyse in detail selected passages in written commentaries;
•articulate their arguments effectively and illustrate them with relevant evidence.
•recognise and criticise key arguments made in recent scholarship

Additional outcomes:
The module develops students’ skills in oral communication and team-work, through discussions and presentations in seminars. It also encourages critical thinking in the assessment of ancient and modern texts, and the logical and persuasive construction of arguments. It provides training in key research skills such as using web databases to locate ancient evidence and modern scholarly works.

Outline content:
Works to be studied may include the works of Homer and Virgil. Other possible topics are: the Near Eastern epic of Gilgamesh, the Epic Cycle and Homeric Hymns; the poetry of Hesiod, the Argonautica of Apollonius and Latin epyllion. The lectures will discuss some fundamental issues that affect the interpretation of ancient hexameter poetry, such as authorship, the nature and context of performance, intertextuality and cultural borrowing. Topics discussed may include, for example, heroic values, the role of the supernatural and the divine, the relationship between epic and the expression of Greek or Roman identity, the political dimension of Latin epic, and the reception of Classical epic in later cultures.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be taught by lectures and seminars with at least two contact hours per week.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 6
Guided independent study 174
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:
Students are required to produce two pieces of assessed coursework for this module:
(1) one portfolio (maximum word count: 2000 words), comprising:
•one annotated bibliography of at least four items relevant for an agreed research topic. Annotations must reflect (a) how this item is relevant for the specific research question and (b) the main line of argument of this item.
•one commentary, comprising a thorough discussion of a short, relevant passage from a written ancient source studied for this module,
This first piece of coursework is to be submitted by 12 noon on Friday of week 7 of term, and accounts for 25% of the module mark.

(2) one essay (word count: 2000 words, with a maximum tolerance of ± 200 words) on an agreed research topic. This second piece of coursework is to be submitted by 12 noon on the last day of term, and accounts for 25% of the module mark.

One two-hour paper requiring:
(1) One commentary on a text discussed in the course of the lectures.
(2) One essay.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One two hour paper

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August / September. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed grade of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 22nd August.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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