00567 - Latin Literature (E-M)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to present authors and genres of the literature of Rome in their historical development and to provide the basic tools (phonetics, morphology, syntax, prosody and textual criticism) for interpreting Latin texts and documents. Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to competently demonstrate: 1. knowledge of Roman literature (main genres, authors and works set in their historical and literary context); 2. knowledge of Latin language (phonetics, morphology, syntax), of Latin prosody and of the basic concepts of textual criticism as appearing in the mentioned texts; 3. capacity to translate the Latin texts listed in the programme; 4. capacity to carry out a literary and linguistic analysis of the listed in the programme.

Course contents

In order to make the study of the handbook of Latin Literature more effective, classes will provide an overview of different literary genres. The course will be divided up into three parts: the first one will be held by prof. D. Pellacani and will start on September 19; the second one, held by prof. F. Citti will start as soon as the first one is over; the third one, held by prof. A. Ziosi will start as soon as the second is over.


I. SPECIAL FOCUS COURSE (lessons in class)

The literary genres in Roman literature

  • module I (D. Pellacani): Philosophical Prose and Didactic Poetry (readings from Lucretius' De rerum natura (Book III) and Seneca's Consolatio ad Marciam).
  • module II (F. Citti): Theatre and Lyrics (readings from Plautus' Amphitryon; Seneca's Troades; Horace's Odes).
  • module III (A. Ziosi): Epic and Elegy (readings from Virgil's Aeneid I-II and Ovid's Heroides, 3)

The exact list of passages, whose translation from Latin to Italian will be required during the final exam, will be included in the online teaching materials.


II. LATIN LITERATURE (classes; individual study):

The insights on genres and authors, presented during the lessons in class, should be integrated by a general historical framework. In particular, knowledge of the following authors of Latin literature is required:

Augustine, Apuleius, Catullus, Caesar, Cicero, Ennius, Juvenal, Hieronymus, Livy, Livius Andronicus, Lucanus, Lucilius, Lucretius, Martial, Naevius, Horace, Ovid, Petronius, Plautus, Plinius the Elder, Propertius, Quintilian, Sallustius, Seneca, Statius, Suetonius, Tacite, Terentius, Tibullus, Virgil.

NB the knowledge of literary history will be verified in the first part of the exam

III. LATIN LINGUAGE (syntax); elements of TEXTUAL CRITICISM, METRICS (hexameter and elegiac couplet).
Students are in charge of this part.



1. Cicero: Pro Archia.
2. Virgil: Aeneid, Book 4
To be prepared in full in the original Latin, and with metrical reading, as far as Virgil is concerned (individual study; optional online classes are provided).


The exam involves an oral translation of a short sentence, from an unfamiliar text (not listed in the syllabus), from Latin into Italian.


LECTURES: Monday, Thuesday, Wednesday, 11-13, aula II (via Zamboni 38). The course will start on Monday 19th September.

SEMINARS: seminars will be carried out in blended learning. The recorded lessons (uploaded on Virtuale) will be accompanied by some audits to verify any doubts. Audit dates and times will be indicated shortly.

  • seminar on Cicero, Pro Archia (D. Pellacani):
  • Lettura di Vergil, Aeneid IV + Metre (E. Dal Chiele).

The exercises in preparation for the written test will take place exclusively online (via Teams) on Fridays from 1pm to 3pm (starting from 7 October) by connecting to the following link:


STUDENTS WHO DO NOT ATTEND LESSONS are required to replace the monographic course with preparation of Vergil, Aeneid, Book VI and Seneca, The brevity of Life: recommended editions: A. Albertini (Eneide, lib. 6, Roma, Ed. Alighieri, 2005) e di A. Traina (La brevità della vita, Bologna, BUP, 2017). However, the other program instructions (essays, literature, grammar, translation) remain valid.



Texts: The Latin texts will be uploaded online, in the ‘Teaching materials’.

Critical essays: • 2 essays as an introduction to ancient genres: 1) G.B. Conte, Il genere tra empirismo e teoria, in Id., Generi e lettori, Milano 1991, 145-173 (or S. Harrison, Generic Groundwork, in Id., Generic Enrichment in Vergil & Horace, Oxford 2007, 1-33); 2) G. B. Conte-A. Barchiesi, Imitazione e arte allusiva, in Lo spazio letterario di Roma antica, I, La produzione del testo, Roma, Salerno Editrice, 1989, 81-114.
• at least 1 essay from this list: Lucrezio: I. Dionigi, Modello grammaticale e modello fisico, in Id., Lucrezio, le parole e le cose, Bologna, Pàtron, 2005. Orazio: A. Traina, Introduzione a Orazio lirico: la poesia della saggezza, rist. in Id., Poeti latini (e neolatini). V, Bologna, Pàtron, 1998, 133-168. Seneca: A. Traina, Lo stile “drammatico” del filosofo Seneca, Bologna, Pàtron 19954 (e successive ristampe), 9-41. Virgilio: A. Barchiesi, Virgilian Narrative: ecphrasis, in C. Martindale (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Virgil, Cambridge 1997, 271-281; R. Heinze, La tecnica epica di Virgilio, Bologna 1996, 33-67. Ovidio: A. Barchiesi, Narratività e convenzione, in Id., P. Ovidii Nasonis Epistulae Heroidum 1-3, Firenze 1992, 15-41.

NB: Please notice that the essays are compulsory for not attending students as well.

Literature: G.B. Conte, Letteratura latina. Manuale storico dalle origini alla fine dell'impero romano, Firenze: Le Monnier, 2002 [in English: G.B. Conte, Latin Literature: A History, Baltimore, The John Hopkins UP, 1994].

Language: I. Dionigi - E. Riganti - L. Morisi, Il latino, Bari, Laterza 2011 is recommended. For Latin syntax: A. Traina, Sintassi normativa della lingua latina, Bologna: Pàtron, 2015. As an alternative, Allen and Greenough's New Latin grammar, Ginn & Company, Boston-NY-Chicago, 1903 (both for syntax and morphology). For specific problems of phonetics, morphology and syntax: A. Traina - G. Bernardi Perini, Propedeutica al latino universitario, Bologna, Pàtron, 2007, chapt. II-VI.
Textual criticsm and Latin metrics: A. Traina - G. Bernardi Perini, Propedeutica al latino universitario, Bologna, Pàtron, 2007, chapt. VII-VIII.

Cicero: Il poeta Archia, a cura di E. Narducci, traduzione di G. Bertonati, Milano: Rizzoli BUR, 2000.
Virgil: Eneide, IV, from Eneide, introduzione di A. La Penna, traduzione e note di R. Scarcia, Milano: Rizzoli BUR 2002; or Virgilio, Eneide, traduzione di M. Ramous, introduzione di G.B. Conte, commento di G. Baldo, Venezia: Marsilio, 1998.

Teaching methods

Lectures in class, complemented by seminars (where students will interact with the teachers; individual research will be discussed and essays and tests corrected).

Assessment methods

In the viva voce examination the students will be tested Latin phonetics, morphology, syntax and literature through the reading and translation of the Latin texts dealt with in class and listed in the programme.
The ability to orally translate a short sentence from an unfamiliar text (without vocabulary, with the help of the teacher for non-basic vocabulary) will also be assessed.

Please note that, as far as the viva voce examination is concerned, the course can be splitted between core course (parts II, III and IV), to be completed first and focus course (part I and V): two exam sessions at most are allowed between these two parts

The assessment criteria is thus explained:
failing grades: lack of basic linguistic knowledge and inability to produce a correct translation and interpretation of the text. Lack of knowledge of Latin literature
passing grades: language proficiency at an intermediate level; translation and literary interpretation of the texts are mostly correct, but inaccurate and lacking in autonomy
excellent grades: language proficiency at an upper-mid level; translation and interpretation of the texts are not only correct, but carried out with autonomy and precision. Good knowledge of Latin prosody and metrics.

The evaluation of oral translation from unfamiliar text (syllabus item V) will affect the overall oral grade according to a range from a maximum reward of 2 points (autonomous recognition of vocabulary and constructs, full understanding of the text, production of a translation in correct Italian) to a maximum penalty of 2 points (inability to analyze the text and failure to understand it).

Teaching tools

Lectures are complemented by seminars on different aspects of Latin Literature (please see the course programme). Teaching materials will uploaded online.

Office hours

See the website of Daniele Pellacani

See the website of Francesco Citti

See the website of Antonio Ziosi