JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Literature and Society in Ancient Rome "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018

INSTRUCTOR: Thomas Govero
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30-5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above

This course focuses on the literature of Ancient Rome and its role in shaping modern notions about the customs, social practices, and ideas of its citizens. Emphasis will be placed on using Roman literature as a means of studying Roman civilization, while simultaneously examining stylistics and literary techniques particular to the genres of comedy, rhetoric, epic and lyric poetry, satire and history. Texts, which vary, are chosen from Terence, Plautus, Cicero, Catullus, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Tacitus, and Juvenal. All texts are studied in translation.

The course will be a review and analysis o f the following topics:

.  Historical, cultural and social contexts for the various periods of Roman literature:  Regnum, Republic and Empire.

.  Literary, epigraphical and documentary texts to support the literary one.

.  Techniques and approaches for reading, analyzing and understanding literary texts.

.  Major authors to be read:  Livy, Plautus, Terrence, Lucretius, Cicero, Catullus, Vergil, Ovid, Seneca, Petronius.

.  Plus:  Inscriptions and other texts.

.  Contemporary articles of interpretations


At the end of the course students should:

.  Be knowledgeable about the historical, cultural and social contexts of Roman literature

.  Have interpretative skills for analyzing literary texts of both Roman prose and poetry, and other texts.

.  Be able to read a literary text in depth. (Deep, close reading)

.  Understand the interrelationships of cultural movements, politics, and social developmentsw with literary expresson

.  Be motivated to read and study more  classical texts in the future.


Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Roman WayEdith HamiltonW.W. Norton978-0-39335445-4 Almost Corner
The Aeneid of VirgilVergilBantam0-553-21041-8 Almost Corner

Midterm paper (3 - 5 pp) and oral presetnationTBD20%
Résumés: (c. two per wee)Short paragraphs written in class based on a prompt examining content and liteaery analysis.20%
Final analytical paper of a text not read in class. 3 -5 pp with oral pesentation of paperTBD40% (20 + 20)
ParticipationQuestions, responses, presence and attentive attitude20%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cours
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


SessionSession FocusReading AssignmentOther AssignmentMeeting Place/Exam Dates
Week 1: Jan 15, 17Review of course syllabus, logistics, procedures, protocols & assessments. Approaches to texts. Historical & linguistic introduction to ancient Rome & Italy.. The Latin language. Chronological review of Roman history up to 27 BCE- Background fro reading Livy. Review of Livy reading, Books 1 & 2Livy, "Early History of Rome", Books 3William Curran, "Only Connect" Mary Beard "The Romans and Us"Rèsumé 1
Week 2: January 22, 24Review and discussion of Livy Books 1 - 3 Review of Curran and Beard. Review of Twelve Tables Roman History from Regnjum to Republic: Struggle of the Orders and ExpansionPlautus "The Haunted House"E. Hamilton, "The Roman Way" pp. 13 - 58Résumé 2
Week 3: January 29, 31Hellenism and Stoicism Roman Drama: Review of Plautus, "Haunted House" Oral and Written traditionsTerence, "The Brothers" Résumé 3
Week 4: February 5, 7Review of Terence, "The Brothers" The end of the Roman Repbulic Cicero, "De Amicitia/On Friendship"Sallust, "The Conspiracy of Cataline"Résumé 4
Week 5: February 12, 14, 16 Friday, make-up dayReview of Cicero, "On Friendship" Collapse of Roman Repbulic (con't)Cicero, "Pro Archia" Résumé 5
Week 6: February 19, 21 Review of Cicero, "Pro Archia" Discussion of midterm paper. Due: October 19th Epicureanism Lucretius, "De Rerum Natura/On the Nature of Things", Books 1, 5E. Hamilton, pp 68 - 101Rèsumé 6
Week 7: February 26, 28Review of Lucretius, Book 5None Résumé 7
Week 8: March 5,7Midterm papers due. In-class reading of Catullus, Lesbia poems and no. 63Vergil, "Aeneid", Books 1, 2, 4, 6  
Week 9: March 12, 14Review of Vergil, "Aeneid", Book 1Vergil, "Aeneid", Books 2, 4, 6 Résumé 8
Week 10: March 19, 21Review of Vergil, Book 4 Vergil, "Aeneid", Book 6 Résumé 9
Week 11, March 26, 28Review of Vergil, Book 6 In class reading of selections, Book 8Ovid, "Metamorphoses", (selections) for oral presentationsE. Hamilton, pp. 148 - 20\1Résumé 10
Week 12: April 2, 6 (Springbreak) Seneca, "Letters to Lucillius" Résumé 11
Week 13: April 9, 11Ovid presentations Seneca, "Letters to Lucilius"  
Week 14: April 16, 18 Seneca, "Letters to Lucilius" (selections) The Neronian Age Review of Petronius, "Satyrica"Petronius, "Satyrica" Résumé 12
Week 15: April 23 (Last Class), 25 (Holiday)Review, Petronius "Satyricon" Aelius Aristides