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CLU34385/44385 Hellenistic Poetry

This module introduces the Greek poetry of the third century BCE, notably that of the Ptolemaic court in Alexandria, in its literary and social contexts. Key concepts are poetics and aesthetics, intertextuality and genre, tradition and innovation, continuity and change, philosophy and ideology. You will study selections from the poetry of Callimachus, Theocritus and Aratus. You will also read a substantial part of Apollonius’ epic Argonautica, whose novel hero and heroine, ‘Hellenistic’ world view, bold narrative experiments, and pervasive intertextuality and aetiology inspired Virgil’s Aeneid.
  • Module Organiser:
    • Dr Martine Cuypers
  • Duration:
    • Semester 2
  • Contact Hours:
    • 22 (one 2-hr discussion seminar per week)
  • Weighting:
    • 10 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 40% coursework, 60 % written examination
  • Course Open To:
    • Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology; TJH Greek; Visiting

Learning Outcomes

Upon the successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Analyse the language, style, structure, metre, themes and content of the poetry studied in Greek
  • Critically discuss the content, themes and style of the poetry studied in translation
  • Evaluate differences in poetics and aesthetics between Hellenistic and earlier poetry in relevant genres
  • Evaluate current critical approaches to intertextuality, genre, narratology and other key literary-critical areas associated with Hellenistic poetry
  • Situate Hellenistic poetry in its historical, social, and ideological contexts, viz., the royal courts and cities of the Hellenistic world (323-31 BCE).
  • Orally introduce a topic, text or problem and play an expert role in the relevant group discussion
  • Write a research essay with appropriate questions, arguments, evidence, language use, referencing and bibliography.
  • Translate unseen Greek extracts of similar genre, style or content as the studied Greek texts into idiomatic English