Literature: Virgil - 'The Aeneid' with Dr Tim Hammond

Ref: C3532664

This course is an introduction to Virgil's Aeneid, his epic poem about the mythical Aeneas, the refugee from the Trojan war who founds Rome. Written during the reign of the emperor Augustus, it has been translated many times and served subsequently as the basis for countless works of Western art. Each session will each week take the form of a survey of a part of the poem's content (its story, characters and themes etc.); and its context, the relationship of the work to the world around it, historical events, key ideas and other works of art. Students will have the option of reading, in sequence, two books of the poem's twelve books in preparation for each week's session. Special attention will be paid to the history of translations of the Aeneid out of Latin and into other languages, especially English. The course will put the poem in its Roman context but will also be concerned about how the poem has been understood in different times and places down to the present day.

Course aim

To make accessible to readers of English, perhaps the greatest work of Roman literature, Virgil's epic poem, the Aeneid; and to to demonstrate how and why the work appealed not just to Romans of the time but to other cultures down to the present.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is likely, but not exclusively to appeal to students with some prior interest in Literature, Classical Studies, History or Art History.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Provide an outline of the key narrative events of the Aeneid.
  • Recognise the way that the Aeneid reflects aspects of the culture of the Roman Empire under Augustus and that later translations of the Aeneid similarly reflect the cultures of other people living in different places at different times.
  • Carry out simple analysis of the language of the English text.
  • Discriminate – in basic terms – between different English translations of the Aeneid.
  • Participate in and make informed contributions to discussions about the meaning and value of The Aeneid from a personal perspective.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

A list of recommended, accessible translations of the Aeneid and other suggestions for optional reading will be posted on the WEA's Canvas Virtual Learning Environment, accessible to registered students.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Literature: Virgil - 'The Aeneid' with Dr Tim Hammond


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