CLAS 102(F) Roman Literature (Same as Comparative Literature 108)

Modern fascination with the ancient Romans may be due in no small measure to modern assumptions about the enduring influence of their civilization on our own. The very real continuities between our distant cultures are certainly due in large part to the enormous impact of Roman on European literature. Yet continuity is counterbalanced by significant cultural differences that are often overlooked in representations of ancient Rome in today's literature, film, and television. We will read a variety of Roman literary works in translation-epic, satire, lyric poetry, oratory, philosophy, historiography, and drama-with an aim to both appreciating them as literature and gaining a deeper understanding of Roman culture and society. Since a number of Roman authors were also important figures in Roman political life, we are in an unusually good position to analyze how Roman literature delineates and deploys cultural ideals, power structures, class hierarchies, political ideology, religious beliefs, categories of sex, gender and difference, and the relationship between the individual and the state. Readings from Plautus, Terence, Lucretius, Cicero, Caesar, Catullus, Vergil, Horace, Ovid, Seneca, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Apuleius will be supplemented by critical essays and by movies (e.g., A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Gladiator). Format: lecture/discussion. Evaluation will be based on classroom participation, one or two short essays, and midterm and final exams. No prerequisities. Enrollment limit: 35 (expected: 35). Open to first-year students.