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COURSE NAME: "Literature and Society in Ancient Rome"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Thomas Govero
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 6:00 PM 7:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above *This class can substitute for one of the two EN LIT general distribution required courses. The other EN LIT course must have the EN prefix*

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.

Reading, analysis and interpretations of Roman poetical and prose  works from the Twelve Tables

through the early empire including Plautus, Terrence, Lucretius, Cicero, Catullus, Vergil,

Ovid, Seneca and Juvenal (5 centuries of literary works).  There will also be some attention

to inscriptions and other literary expressions. 


.  Students should develop the capacity for close reading.

.  Development of a critical vocabulary and knowledge of historical and social contexts.

.  Skill in writing critical responses to the works read.

.  Ability to correlate the contemporary Roman literary expression with other

   literary traditions.

.  Knowledge of the chronicle of Roman history, events, personalities and political

   developments as related to the literary tradition.

.  Some awareness of the reception of Roman literature in later literary productions.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
The Roman WayEdith HamiltonNorton258N 970-0-395 5878-8xxxEntire bookHard CopyAlmost Corner 
The Aeneid of VirgilVergilBantam Classic9780555210415xxxxxAlmost CornerHard CopyAlmost Corner 
The Aeneid of VirgilVirgilBantam Classic9780555210415xxxxNoneHard CopyAlmost Corner 

Midterm paper (5 pages)The paper will be a critical analysis of a topic in Roman literature.25%
Final exam-paper and presentitionA critical analysis of a topic in Roman literature with an oral presentation of the contents and related elements.25%
RésumésFrequent (2 per week) short, paragraph-long résumés written on a prompt. These will be based on lectures and texts which have been read in preparation for the class25%
PresentationsIndividual, 10 minute presentations on topics related to Roman literature: historical evens, political developments, social issues etc.15%
ParticipationPaticipating in class session with questions, comments etc. Presence in the class and attention to the class dynamic, i.e not meditating on internet, iphone sites.10%

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 course.
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 __Friday 4 August__________
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
Monday July 3Review of course syllabus, logistics, procedures and assessment guidelines. Approaches, texts Historical and linguistics introduction to ancient Rome and Italy. The Latin language. Chronological review of Roman history up to 27 BCE. Background for reading Livy.Livy, Early History of Rome, Books 1 - 3William Curran, "Only Connect" 
Wednesday July 5Review and Discussion of Livy Books 1 & 2. Roman history from Regnum to Republic. Myth and History.Livy Booki 3 Résumé 1
Thurday, July 6, Friday, July 7 (Make-up day)Review and discussion of Livy, Book 3Mary Beard article Résumé 2
Monday, July 10Livy (con't) Discussion Twelve Tables of Roman Law. Development of Roman Law Briefing for reading PlautusPlautus, "The Haunted House" Résumé 3
Tues. July 11 Hellenism and Soicism Background and elements of Roman drama. Review and discussion of Plautus, "Haunted House"   
Wednesday, July 12Plautus, "Hauted House"Terrence, "The Brothers"Discussion of midterm paper due Thurs. July 20Résumé 4
Thursday, July 13Review and discussion of Terence, " The Brothers" Briefing for reading Cicero The collapse of the Roman RepublicCicero, "De Amicitia/On Friendship" Résumé 5
Monday, July 17Review and Discussion of Cicero, "On Friendship" Collapse of the Roman RepublicIn-class reading of Sallust selection Résumé 6
Tuesday, July 18Continued discussion of Cicero, "On Friendship"Cicero, "Pro Archia"  
Wednesday, July 19Review and discussion of Cicero, "Pro Archia"Lucretius "On the Nature of the Universe" Books 1 and 5 Résumé 7
Thursday, July 20Review and discussion of Lucretius, Book 1Lucretius, Book 5Papers dueRésumé 8
Monday, July 24Review and discussion of Lucretius, Book 5 Discussion of final papers. Due August 3.None  
Tuesday, July 25Catullus poems/elegies and number 63.In-class reading of Catullus Vergil, "Aeneid", Books 1, 2, 4, 6  
Wednesday, July 28Review and discussion of Vergil, Book 1 The Augustan AgeVergil, Book 2 Résumé 9
Thurday, July 26Vergil, Books 4 & 6Ovid, "Metamorphoses". Selections to be assigned for oral reports  Résumé 10
Monday, Juily 30"Laudatio Turiae" "Res Gestae Augusti"Ovid reports on Tuesday  
Tues. July 31Ovid, "Metamorphoses" reportsSeneca, "Letters to Lucillius" (Selection)  
Tuesday, August 1Seneca, "Letters to Lucilius" The Neronian AgePetronius, "Satyrica"  
Wednesday, August 3 (Last class)Petronius, "Satyrica"