CLAS 102 - Fall 2018

Women and Men
in Roman Literature and Society

College of the Holy Cross

Course Details

Location: Stein 314
Time: TR 11am to 12:15pm

Instructor: Professor Daniel Libatique
Office Hours: T 1-3pm, W 11am-1pm, or by appointment
Office Location: Fenwick 410


Course Objectives

This course is an introduction to the literature of ancient Rome, from roughly the 3rd century B.C.E. to the 2nd century C.E., a span of about 500 years. We will read works of various genres of Roman literature in translation, including comedy, tragedy, historical prose, epic, elegiac and nugatory poetry, epistles, and epigraphy. The goal is to gain a basic understanding of the progression of Roman literature and how each work or genre relates to social conditions in Rome at the time, especially with regard to gender and interpersonal relationships.



PLEASE NOTE: All of these texts can be purchased online through sellers like Amazon in either physical or electronic form; the electronic forms are quite cheaper than the print versions. Each listing below will be linked to the Amazon entry. Two books (#1 and #6 below) are also available for free as e-books through Dinand Library. I will also have copies of #1-5 available for use in my office.

  1. Francese, Christopher, and R. Scott Smith, eds. Ancient Rome: An Anthology of Sources. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2014. ISBN 978-1-62466-000-9.
    • NOTE: Available as an E-Book through Dinand Library: link here.
    • Amazon link.
  2. Christenson, David, tr. Casina, Amphitryon, Captivi, Pseudolus. Indianapolis: Focus Publishing, 2012. ISBN 978-1585101559.
    • Amazon link.
      • Note that this link goes to an e-book for only Casina, which is the play we will be reading this semester. The print version of the book includes three other plays.
  3. Mandelbaum, Allen, tr. The Aeneid of Virgil. New York: Bantam Dell, 2004. ISBN 978-0553210415.
  4. Mandelbaum, Allen, tr. The Metamorphoses of Ovid. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 1995. ISBN 978-0156001267.
  5. Smith, R. Scott, tr. Seneca: Phaedra and Other Plays. Westminster: Penguin Books, 2011. ISBN 978-0140455519.
  6. Ruden, Sarah, tr. The Golden Ass. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0300154771.
    • NOTE: Available as an E-Book through Dinand Library: link here.
    • Amazon link.

Reference and Electronic Resources

Cornell notes example - A note-taking method suggested by Alison Innes that may help you organize your notes and thoughts throughout lecture more easily.
Cornell notes template

Eidolon - “Classics without Fragility.” An online journal with modern takes on Classical texts and society.

The Sportula - Microgrants for Classics undergrads. If you’re struggling money-wise and need help for anything relating to your studies (buying books, paying for food, studying abroad, etc.), the Sportula can help.

Nuts & Bolts

Academic Conduct

You are expected to abide by Holy Cross’ Academic Integrity Policy, posted here. Cheating on homework, quizzes, or papers (defined here as but not limited to reproducing answers from an answer key, referring to forbidden notes to help answer questions, copying another student’s answers, or failing to give proper credit for citations or paraphrases) may result in penalties ranging from a failure on the specific assignment, quiz, or paper to failure for the entire course.


You must attend each meeting of the course to attain a good grade. The information that I provide in lecture is not readily available through any of our course materials, and while I will make my slides available, they will not have the sort of detailed notes that you should be taking in class. Make sure to have at least one class buddy who can give you notes if you need to miss a meeting, or come see me in office hours.

If you must miss a class meeting for any reason, please inform me as soon as you know of the absence via e-mail before the class meeting begins, and we will correspond accordingly. More than two (2) unexcused absences, defined as a failure to appear in class without notifying me via e-mail that you won’t be there before the class period begins, will result in a full grade drop for the semester (e.g., an A- will be dropped to a B-).

It bears repeating: if you will miss class for any reason, you must e-mail me before that class period begins to let me know!

Any absence beyond the two allotted above for compelling and verifiable reasons (including but not limited to extended illness, a death or medical emergency in the family, a wedding in the immediate family, and participation in a college-sponsored athletic event) falls under Holy Cross’ Excused Absence Policy and requires a note from your Class Dean. See the full Excused Absence Policy here.


Any student who needs accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Disability Services to discuss support services available. Once the office receives documentation supporting the request for accommodation, the student would meet privately with Disability Services to discuss reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Contact information for the Office of Disability Services can be found here.

If you are already registered with Disability Services, please be sure to get your accommodation letters and deliver them to me in a timely fashion. Instructors need 4-5 days advance notice to be able to facilitate the process of receiving testing accommodations.

Diversity and Inclusion

Studying Roman literature at Holy Cross is one way to challenge a centuries-long tradition that reserved the study of the ancient world for a privileged elite. The challenge goes beyond simply welcoming students however they identify their race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religious or spiritual tradition, or socioeconomic background. As we work to see the multicultural world of the ancient Mediterranean through the original thoughts of Latin speakers and writers, we reflect on and actively explore how this can help us recognize and respond to structures of power and privilege in our own lives.

This work is especially important today, when historically false images of the ancient world are being invoked to support particular political viewpoints. Studying Roman literature helps us see through erroneous assertions about the “whiteness” of the ancient Mediterranean, and reject claims that the Greco-Roman world is the special province of any ethnic or political group.

Extra Help

If you feel overwhelmed and need extra help, please do not hesitate to visit me in office hours or e-mail me. Additionally, Holy Cross has many resources to help you with your assignments, including personalized help with research for papers at Dinand Library and help with paper argumentation and structure at the Writer’s Workshop. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Assessment & Grades

Attendance and Participation: 30%
You must attend each class and actively engage with the material being discussed (i.e., no distractions via cell phones or Facebook, no disruption of the class by having personal conversations, etc.).

Ten (10) quizzes: 40%
There will be ten (10) quizzes throughout the semester, each weighted at 4%, designed to keep you honest on your readings and your attention in lecture. The quizzes will involve objective information, e.g., “which of these is not a character in this play,” “what is the Latin term for this concept,” etc. Each quiz will be administered at the beginning of the class meeting on the date for which it’s listed.

One (1) paper: 15%
There will be one compulsory argumentative paper of 5-6 pages based off a prompt that you will choose from a set of three or four (or based off a topic of your own choosing that you must clear with me first). This paper will invite you to engage with the material that you’re reading beyond our discussions in lecture and create an argument based on textual evidence. More detailed information will come as the first paper deadline approaches.

Final project: 15%
One final project for the class will involve either writing a paper based on provided prompts, as above, or some creativity and thinking outside of the box. More details to come.

NOTE: If you cannot attend class and miss a pop quiz, I will let you know about it in my response to your e-mail letting me know about your absence (see “Attendance” above) and schedule an opportunity for you to make the quiz up. If you do not clear your absence with me beforehand and miss a quiz, you will receive a 0% for that quiz.

The final grade will be calculated as a percentage out of 100; then, it will be converted to a letter grade according to the following scheme:

A = 95-100%; A- = 90-94%
B+ = 87-89%; B = 84-86%; B- = 80-83%
C+ = 77-79%; C = 74-76%; C- = 70-73%
D+ = 67-69%; D = 65-66%
F = 0-64%

Grades ending in .45 or greater will be rounded up to the nearest whole number; grades ending in .44 or less will be rounded down to the nearest whole number.

By the way, to test whether you’ve read the syllabus all the way through, please e-mail me a photo of your favorite Roman monument by 9/3 with the subject line “Caesar and Pompey were ARCH-enemies.”


Writing / Creative Assignments

You will have two major assignments, each worth 15% of your final grade, as part of this course. The first is a compulsory argumentative essay, based on prompts that I will provide or on a topic of your choosing (that you’ve cleared with me first). The second is either a second argumentative essay or a more creative project.

Guidelines for Mid-Semester Essay

Due date: Tuesday, October 23, at the beginning of class.

Guidelines here.

Guidelines for Final Essay or Project

Due date: Tuesday, December 11, by 5pm.

Guidelines here.


Detailed Schedule

All reading assignments listed below should be completed by the date under which they’re listed. So, for example, you should come to class on Tuesday, 9/4, having read all of Plautus’ Casina.

The parenthesis after each reading assignment is the source in which you can find the reading. “Hackett” means entry 1 in the texts section above (Francese and Smith, eds., Ancient Rome: An Anthology of Sources, Hackett 2014). The other four texts will be referenced by the author’s last name. Some reading assignments will be found online – a link will be provided.

I highly recommend that you complete the reading for both class meetings during the weekend prior. At the very least, make some decent headway into any given Thursday assignment before the interval between Tuesday and Thursday meetings. Some of the Thursday readings are long; you may not finish reading and internalizing them if you try to cram the reading into the space of a day.

Slides are available through links provided after each lecture title. Note that you need a Holy Cross log-in to view each set of slides.

Week 1

R 8/30 - Introduction: Women and Men in Roman Literature and Society.
Slides here. Tweet thread here.

Week 2

T 9/4 - The Origins of Roman Literature and Plautus’ Casina.
Plautus, Casina (Christenson)
Slides here. Tweet thread here.

R 9/6 - Cicero: Orator, Letter-Writer, Philosopher, Novus Homo
Cicero, In Defense of Archias (Hackett, pp. 34-43)
Cicero, selected letters (5-8, 10, 12-14, 16, 18) (Hackett, pp. 43-44, 53-57, 59-65, 67-69)
Slides here. Tweet thread here.

Week 3

T 9/11 - Elegiac and Nugatory Poetry 1: novum libellum and a Woman’s Perspective
Catullus (all in Hackett, pp. 23-33)
Sulpicia (all in Hackett, pp. 431-433)
Quiz #1
Slides here. Tweet thread here.

R 9/13 - Elegiac and Nugatory Poetry 2: Odes to Rome and Epigrams in the Empire
Horace (Odes in Hackett, pp. 106, 115-126)
Martial (all in Hackett, pp. 201-219)
Slides here. Tweet thread here.

Week 4

T 9/18 - Livy 1: The Aims of Livian Historiography and the Beginnings of Rome
Livy, preface, I.1-11, 13, 16 (Hackett, pp. 142-155, 157)
Quiz #2
Begin reading the Aeneid if you haven’t already begun to do so.
Slides here. Tweet thread here.

R 9/20 - Livy 2: From Numa to the End of the Monarchy
Livy, I.19, 21, 34-35, 39-41, 46-49, 56-60 (Hackett, pp. 159-161, 163, 165-167, 171-174, 179-183)
Slides here.

Week 5

T 9/25 - Augustus: pater patriae
Augustus, The Accomplishments of the Deified Augustus (Hackett, pp. 14-22)
Quiz #3
Slides here.

R 9/27 - Aeneid Part 1: From Troy to Carthage
Vergil, Aeneid 1-3 (Mandelbaum)
Slides here.

Week 6

T 10/2 - Aeneid Part 2: Dido’s Tragedy and the Future Rome
Vergil, Aeneid 4-6 (Mandelbaum)
Quiz #4

R 10/4 - Aeneid Part 3: A Roman Iliad
Vergil, Aeneid 7-12 (Mandelbaum) Slides here.

FALL BREAK: 10/6 - 10/14

Begin reading the Metamorphoses if you haven’t already begun to do so.

Week 7

T 10/16 - Non-Epic Hexameter: Catullan Epyllion and Vergilian Bucolics
Catullus 64 (click here)
Vergil, Eclogues 1 and 4 (Hackett, pp. 445-450)

R 10/18 - Non-Epic Hexameter: Horatian and Juvenalian Satire
Horace Satires 1.6, 1.9 (Hackett, pp. 106-107, 110-115)
Juvenal Satires 1 (Hackett, pp. 127-133)
Quiz #5
Slides here.

Week 8

T 10/23 - Ovid Part 1: ab origine mundi
Ovid, Metamorphoses 1-5 (Mandelbaum)
First paper due.
Slides here.

R 10/25 - Ovid Part 2: From Divine Punishment to Human Horrors
Ovid, Metamorphoses 6-10 (Mandelbaum)
Quiz #6
Slides here.

Week 9

T 10/30 - Ovid Part 3: ad mea tempora
Ovid, Metamorphoses 11-15 (Mandelbaum)
Slides here.

R 11/1 - Ovid Part 4: From Amatory to Exilic Elegy
Ovid, The Art of Love 1.1-176, 229-398, 437-642; Fasti 4.721-862; Tristia 4.10 (Hackett, pp. 227-245, 248-256)
Quiz #7
Slides here.

Week 10

T 11/6 - Roman Philosophy: Epicureanism, Stoicism, Cynicism
Lucretius On the Nature of Things (all in Hackett, pp. 184-200)
Seneca, Philosophical Letters (all in Hackett, pp. 394-418)
Slides here.

R 11/8 - Seneca and (the Loss of) Roman Tragedy
Seneca, Thyestes (Smith)
Quiz #8
Slides here.

Week 11

T 11/13 - Imperial Historiography: Tacitus and How to Survive a Tyrant
Guest lecturer: Prof. Tim Joseph
Tacitus, Agricola: link to Loeb Classical Library here.
Slides here.

R 11/15 - Imperial Epistolography: Pliny the Younger
Pliny, Letters 2-3, 5, 8, 12-16, 18, 20-21, 23-24, 27-34 (Hackett, pp. 299-307, 309-312, 315-321, 322-323, 324-331)
Quiz #9
Slides here.

Week 12

T 11/20 - The Epigraphic Habit: Graffiti and Epitaphs
Inscriptions, all (Hackett, pp. 451-502)
Slides here.


Make sure to read Apuleius’ The Golden Ass during break!

Week 13

T 11/27 - Apuleius 1: Lucius, the Ass
Apuleius, The Golden Ass 1-6 (Ruden)

R 11/29 - Apuleius and the Roman Novel
Apuleius, The Golden Ass (Ruden)
Slides here.

Week 14

T 12/4 - Perpetua: A Christian Martyr
Perpetua, The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas (Hackett, pp. 257-266)
Slides here.

R 12/6 - In Conclusion and Next Steps
Quiz #10

Study period: Sa 12/8 - M 12/10
Exam period: T 12/11 - Sa 12/15
Final project due: Tuesday, December 11, by 5pm.