Skip to main content

Unit information: The Trojan War in Ancient Literature in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name The Trojan War in Ancient Literature
Unit code CLAS30026
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lyndsay Coo
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

The Trojan War forms the subject of our earliest ancient Greek poem, the Iliad, and remains a recognisable and resonant myth up until to the present day. In this unit we will consider how and why writers throughout Greco-Roman antiquity continued to turn to the idea of Trojan War in order to articulate crucial questions and concepts of identity, heroism, political behaviour, gender, lament and commemoration. By analysing a series of core texts, including evidence for the lost Trojan Epic Cycle, selected Greek tragedies and extracts from later Greek and Roman epic, students will be introduced to a chronologically wide range of Trojan receptions, and gain an understanding of the process by which this mythical material could be endlessly adapted to suit its new generic, social and political contexts.

Aims:

To acquire detailed knowledge of a chronologically broad range of literary texts which engage with Trojan War mythology;

To analyse how these literary receptions re-interpet Trojan War mythology, and how this relates to their own contexts of production;

To develop critical interaction with primary and secondary materials;

To develop written presentation skills through the course assessment.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students will have:

(1) Acquired in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of key texts from Greek and Roman antiquity relating to the theme of the Trojan War.

(2) Acquired the ability to recognise and analyse how these texts may be situated within wider literary and intellectual traditions.

(3) Developed the ability to explain and analyse scholarly approaches to the reception of mythology, and to apply these approaches to their interpretation of the set texts.

Students will also be expected to show:

(4) skills in critical thinking and in written communication appropriate to level H.

Teaching details

3 hours per week (seminar)

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 3000 words (50%) and one unseen examination of 2 hours (50%). Both elements will assess ILOs (1) (2) (3). The coursework essay in particular will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate ILOs (4).

Reading and References

Core Texts:

Homer, Iliad (books 1, 6, 9, 18, 22, 24)

Homer, Odyssey (books 4, 8, 11)

Fragments of the Greek Epic Cycle

Sophocles, Ajax

Euripides, Trojan Women

Virgil, Aeneid (book 2)

Ovid, Metamorphoses (books 12-13.398)

Quintus of Smyrna, Posthomerica (book 5)

Preliminary Background Reading:

Anderson, M. The Fall of Troy in Early Greek Poetry and Art (Oxford 1997)

Davies, M. The Greek Epic Cycle (Bristol 2001, second edition)

Feedback