General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Masterpieces of Roman Literature
Language English
Module lecturer dr Łukasz Berger
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position assistant professor
Faculty Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology
Semester 2023/2024 (winter)
Duration 30
USOS code 03-AP-MLL


Fridays, 9.45-11.15

Collegium Maius, 3rd floor

room 328

Module aim (aims)

The main objective of the module is to provide a comprehensive panorama of the greatest Latin literary works. Through a contextualized reading of the most prominent dramas, poems, and novels (in the teacher's selection) the student will find out what is the essence of Roman literature and how can we perceive ancient Rome through these texts. During the in-class discussion, we will analyze these aspects of the literary work which are more representative for the author, the epoche or the genre. The most important problem to address, however, will be to indicate which features of the text decide that the proposed masterpieces have had such influence back in their times and/ or nowadays.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Very good competence of English in reading and intermediate speaking abilities will be necessary for the home readings and the class discussions. General knowledge about ancient Rome and familiarity with basic terms from the literary study would also prove useful.


Each class will be devoted to one masterpiece (and its author) in the following order: Week 1: Literature at Rome (introduction); Week 2: Plautus as a master of deceit; Week 3: Terence and a family portrait; Week 4: Catullus and his poems to Lesbia; Week 5: Horace and the meaning of life; Week 6: Horace with a satirical eye; Week 7: Vergil and the travel of Aeneas; Week 8: Vergil and the beginning of Rome; Week 9: Ovid as a teacher of love; Week 10: Ovid and changes of the body; Week 11: Petronius dining with Trimalchio; Week 12: Seneca and all that killing; Week 13: Apuleius, Cupid, and Psyche; Week 14: Summary: motifs, themes, anxieties.The last week (15) is reserved for the test.

Reading list

Latin literature in (any) English translation (in case of poems, the detailed list will be provided during the semester):1. Plautus, "Pseudolus".2. Terence, "Andria". 3. Catullus, "Poems" (selection), 4. Horace, "Poems" (selection), "Satires" (selection) 5. Vergil, "Aeneis". 6. Ovid, "The Art of Love", "Metamorphoses" (book III-IV) 7. Petronius, "Satyricon" ('Trimalchio's feast') 8. Seneca, "Medea". 9. Apuleius, "Metamorphoses or Golden Ass" ('Cupid and Psyche'). Comments: The more extensive (and important) reading is Vergil's "Aeneis". Plautus, Terence and Seneca's works are dramas of different lengths. We will read episodes from Ovid's "Metamorphoses", Petronius' "Satyricon" and Apuleius' "Golden Ass". All the (selected) poems will be read and commented on during the class.