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:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lucy Fletcher


Type of module:

Summary module description:
«p»This module offers an introduction to early Greek epic, centring around close study of the Iliad Odyssey, but including discussion of other early Greek hexameter poems such Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and the Epic Cycle.  It may also cover later epic, for example Apollonius Rhodius or Roman epic.«/p»

To offer the students a broad discussion of early Greek epic, setting the Homeric poems in the context of the broader corpus of early Greek hexameter poetry.
To familiarise students with modern critical approaches to the analysis and interpretation of Greek epic (e.g. oral-formulaic theory, Analysis and Neo-Analysis, narratology and intertextual readings).
To introduce students to scholarly debates over the contexts of early Greek epic’s composition and reception.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module, students are expected to be able to: • relate the interpretation of ancient epic to the contexts of its composition and transmission, the history of the genre, and the wider literary tradition; • identify, distinguish between, and evaluate the merits of, different scholarly and methodological approaches to ancient epic, including recent scholarship; • demonstrate critical awareness of different literary-critical approaches and apply them to the texts under study; • analyse in detail selected passages in written commentaries; • conduct independent research and construct the answer to an essay question, articulating their arguments effectively and illustrating them with relevant evidence.

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, later Greek and Roman epic (e.g.the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius; Virgil; 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 heroic values and society, the divine, the relationship between epic and the expression of political and/or ethnic identity, gender, grief and immortality, competition and the reception of early Greek epic in later periods.

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:
One two hour paper

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Coursework: Students are required to produce two pieces of assessed coursework for this module: (1) One portfolio comprising (i) an annotated bibliography (approx. 100-200 words per item) of at least six items of modern scholarship relevant to an agreed essay question; (ii) a commentary of approx 1000 words (± 100 words),  comprising a thorough discussion of a relevant passage from a written ancient source studied for this module and making use of one or more of the critical approaches to Ancient Epic introduced in the lectures and seminars. 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) An essay (word count: 2500 words, with a maximum tolerance of ± 250 words) on the agreed essay question. This second piece of coursework is to be submitted by 12 noon on Friday of Week 1 of the term after the module is taught, and accounts for 25 % of the module mark. Examination One two-hour paper requiring: (1) One commentary on a text discussed in the course of the lectures. (2) One essay.

Formative assessment methods:

The first coursework assignment deadline is set so as to ensure that students receive feedback before the end of term and in good time to inform their work on the second assignment. T

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.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
40% overall

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

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: Students are required to purchase their own copies of the set translations of core texts.  The editions to be used will be confirmed in preliminary module material sent out before the term in which the module is taught.

Last updated: 27 April 2018


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