Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Survey of Classical Epic

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Classics and Archaeology

DESCRIPTION This study-unit surveys classical epic in its origin, development, and reception. The close reading of excerpts from one of the two Homeric epics helps students experience epic poetry in an engaging way as a reflection of ancient life, as well as as a useful and active inspiration in their own life.


This unit aims to provide students with:
- A comprehensive knowledge of the narrative of the major ancient epics, namely Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Virgil’s Aeneid;
- The mythology and history underscoring the epics;
- An in-depth knowledge of one of the two Homeric epics;
- An appreciation of the epics' timelessness, their power to appeal, and their continual significance to modern-day issues;
- An awareness of the oral tradition and the rise and development of the Homeric Question;
- An understanding of the persisting influence of the epics in modern art-forms in the light of classical reception studies.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Explain the basic plotline of the three classical epics;
- Analyze major episodes and key characters of the epic under review;
- Explain the significance of the historial and cultural epics between the Homeric epics and Virgil’s epic;
- Report on the history of the reception of the Homeric epics and the significance of the Homeric Question.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Engage in the discussion relating to the several reasons which make ancient epic so persistently and universally appealing, including such aspects as drama, mythology, heroic code, and emotional power.

Reading List:

- Homer The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles (Penguin Classics).
- Homer The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fagles (Pengun Classics).
- Virgil The Aeneid, translated by Robert Fagles (Penguin Classics).
- Graziosi, B. (2016) Homer, Oxford University Press.
- Sherratt, S. and Bennet, J. eds. (2017), Archaeology and Homeric Epic, Oxford : Oxbow Books.

ADDITIONAL NOTES This study-unit cannot be taken by students who have registered, or intend to register for CLA3028.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Workbook SEM1 No 40%
Project SEM1 No 60%

LECTURER/S Carmel Serracino

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.