CL2PE-Ancient Persuasion

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

Module Convenor: Dr Gillian Knight


Summary module description:
This module focuses on rhetoric and the art of persuasion as major components of ancient literature.

- To equip students with knowledge and understanding of key ancient rhetorical texts.
- To introduce students to ancient theories of oratory.
- To offer a broad discussion of the context and significance of rhetoric in ancient societies.
- To gain an understanding of key trends in past scholarship on the subject.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, students are expected to:
- identify and explain ancient rhetorical terms and theories
relate the interpretation of ancient oratory to the contexts in which it was composed and performed, and to the wider literary tradition;
- complement the evidence and arguments presented in the lectures and seminars with additional information assembled by their own research;
- analyse in detail selected passages of ancient writing;
- articulate their arguments effectively and illustrate them with relevant evidence;
- recognise and criticise key arguments made in recent scholarship.
- frame their own research question

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:
This module has at its heart works of rhetoric such as the epideictic speeches of Gorgias and the legal and political speeches of Demosthenes and Cicero; however, it also assesses the role of persuasion in ancient literature more widely, as well as examining what the ancients themselves thought and said about the power of language to move audiences and to affect decision-making processes.

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:

- one annotated bibliography of at least six items relevant for the agreed topic by 12 noon on Friday of week 6 of term; annotations must reflect (a) how this item is relevant for the specific research question and (b) the main line of argument of this item. This first piece of coursework accounts for 10% of the module mark.

- one essay (word count: 3,000 words, with a maximum tolerance of ± 300 words) on the agreed topic, including an integrated section containing a thorough discussion of a short, relevant passage from a written ancient source (which should account for 1/3 of the total length of the essay), to be submitted by 12 noon on the last day of term. A penalty of 20 marks will be applied if no thorough discussion of a passage from an ancient source section is included. This second piece of coursework accounts for 40% 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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