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Unit information: Pompeii 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 Pompeii
Unit code CLAS32345
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Hales
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

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

Description

Pompeii has played a major part in the way we imagine and relate to the ancient world. The urge to resurrect the city prompted the invention of archaeology and evidence from Pompeii is used in a range of disciplines from ancient history to psychoanalysis. At the same time, the human tragedy of the eruption of Vesuvius has inspired artists of all kinds. The city is at once the backdrop for erotic paganism and Christian judgement. She appeals to the intellectual elite but also to popular culture. This unit explores popular and intellectual responses to Pompeii since its rediscovery in the eighteenth century and how contemporary preoccupations have affected the way that Pompeii has been viewed in academic scholarship, art, fiction and film. We will also ask what we want from Pompeii at the beginning of the twenty first century (a century that Pompeii may well not survive).

Aims:

  • To introduce students to the range of academic and creative responses to Pompeii formed from the eighteenth to the twenty first century.
  • To make students aware of the social, political and intellectual contexts that have fuelled those responses and their development and evolution over time.
  • To explore the ways in which academic and creative responses to Pompeii impinge on each other and relate to each other.
  • To develop students’ experience of evaluating and comparing material across a range of media, and of developing their own interpretations of this material and its relevance to the topic.

Intended learning outcomes

  • be familiar with a range of responses to Pompeii formed from the eighteenth to the twenty first century. Students should be aware of the contexts that have fuelled those responses and their development and evolution over time.
  • have had some experience of evaluating and comparing material across a range of media, and of developing their own interpretations of this material and its relevance to the topic.
  • be able to use the knowledge acquired in class and through their own reading to construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments on different aspects of the topic.
  • have had the opportunity to develop their oral and written communication, in seminar discussion and in essays and written exams.

Teaching details

3 hours per week, seminars

Assessment Details

one essay of approx. 3,000 words (50%), one 2 hour exam involving passages and images for comment and essay questions (50%).

Reading and References

  • S. Hales & J.Paul (eds) Pompeii and Public Imaginations from its Rediscovery until Today (Oxford) 2011
  • R. Harris, Pompeii (London) 2003
  • M. Beard, Pompeii. Life and Times of a Roman City (London) 2009
  • V. Coates, K. Lapatin & J. Seydl eds. The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection (Los Angeles) 2012
  • P. Roberts, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum (London) 2013
  • Lord Lytton, The Last Days of Pompeii (1834)

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