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CLU22441 Latin Comedy: Life on Stage in Roman Comedy

In this module you will study a play in the original Latin and read widely in translation from the surviving complete plays of Plautus and Terence. We will use Amy Richlin’s subaltern reading of Plautine theatre as a springboard to a wider investigation of ancient Roman comedy. We will critique the thesis that the plays represent a form of slave theatre, produced of, by, and for, unfree communities. Incorporating questions of language, performance, and reception, we will explore how these texts appear to give voice and agency to Rome’s disenfranchised while critiquing the behaviour and values of its rich and powerful. We will combine our reading of selected texts with the work of some modern theorists in order to place issues of humour, anger, and power centre stage.
  • Module Organisers:
    • Professor Anna Chahoud, Dr Charlie Kerrigan
  • Duration:
    • Semester 1
  • Contact Hours:
    • 22 (one lecture and one reading class per week)
  • Weighting:
    • 5 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 100% coursework (two written assignments)
  • Course Open To:
    • Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology; TJH Latin; Columbia Dual Degree; Visiting

CLU22443 Latin Comedy with Project
This 10-ECTS version of the module includes a substantial element of independent research on a topic/text to be agreed with the module coordinator.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Translate the prescribed texts both literally and idiomatically.
  • Analyse the language, style, and contexts of Latin comedy. 
  • Translate and analyse the language of Latin passages of similar difficulty.
  • Elaborate on Plautus and/or Terence’s verbal and dramatic techniques.
  • Evaluate modern theories on the form and function of Plautine and/or Terentian drama.
  • Discuss the connections between anger, humour, and power in both ancient and modern contexts.
  • Examine the politics and possibilities of performance in ancient and modern contexts.
  • Formulate well-researched views in written assignments.
  • Demonstrate an ability to reflect independently and creatively.