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CAC2039 : Beginnings in Latin Literature (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Anke Walter
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this module is to introduce students to techniques of aetiological storytelling in Latin literature and beyond (the Romans’ Greek predecessors; modern culture). The students will be introduced to a wide variety of Latin texts of different genres. The students will learn about the background of these texts and about methods of textual analysis. They will have ample opportunity to practise these methods for themselves. The students will also practise their writing skills in different contexts (close reading; abstract; essay).

Outline Of Syllabus

Telling stories of origin is a universal human need. At all times and in very different cultures humans have been accounting for the origin of the cosmos, cities, customs and rituals, words, to name but a few examples. The Romans are no exception. Many of their stories of origin, or aetia, revolve around the centre of their world: the city of Rome. In this module, we will examine a wide variety of the many stories of origin that can be found in Latin literature. We will analyse their narrative strategies, the manipulations of time and perspective, of truth and fiction, and the way accounts of the remote past are anchored in and comment on the present.
We will focus on some of the Classical Latin texts such as the Aeneid or Livy’s ab urbe condita, but also follow the development of aetiological storytelling into early Christian literature. Students will be introduced to, and have ample opportunity to practice for themselves, methods of analysing Latin literature. Critically examining the functioning and particular power of stories of origin, so skilfully employed in Latin texts, will also help students to be critical readers of the rhetoric of modern aetia employed, for instance, in political contexts.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion891:0089:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Part of student contact hours (11 lecture recordings and materials, available online)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading361:0036:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00in-person seminars for student-led discussion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00drop-in for individual discussion of essay topics and essays
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study421:0042:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
CAC3039Beginnings in Latin Literature
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will introduce the relevant texts, their background and some of the secondary literature and demonstrate the kind of literary analysis of these texts, which the students will be expected to carry out in their close reading and essay. Seminar sessions will help us work toward that goal by providing a context for the discussion of selected passages of texts and secondary literature. Drop-in sessions provide a space for the individual discussion of essay topic, essays and other questions relating to the lecture material.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M25Close reading - 1000 words.
Essay1M10Essay abstract - 500 words.
Essay1A652500 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The students will demonstrate their ability to think critically about and develop an interpretation of a text by writing a short (1000 words) close reading of a set passage. They will sketch out the main point of their essay in an abstract (500 words) and demonstrate their skill of critical analysis in their essay (2500 words).

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.

Reading Lists