course schedule

In this class, we will be reading: Plautus’ Iran Man, selections of the poetry of Catullus, Vergil’s Aeneid, and Seneca’s Thyestes. You should start reading these as soon as the semester begins, particularly Vergil’s Aeneid. The required texts are:

  • Rome and the Mysterious Orient. Three plays by Plautus. Translated with Introductions and Notes by Amy Richlin. ISBN: 0520242750
  • The Poems of Catullus. A bilingual edition. Translated by Peter Green. ISBN: 0520253868
  • The Aeneid. Translated by Sarah Ruden. ISBN: 9780300151411
  • Seneca. Six Tragedies. Translated by Emily Wilson. ISBN: 0192807064  

USED OR KINDLE VERSION IS FINE. But make sure you are using these specific translations.

A disclaimer. While the literature, art, and mythology of the cultures of the ancient mediterranean are fascinating and often inspire us, the values and social practices of those societies can be very far from our own. The following were regular motifs in Roman storytelling: enslavement, sexual violence, murder, suicide, incest, abduction, cannibalism, bodily mutilation. Please be forewarned that we will sometimes be discussing very sensitive topics, which may be challenging to some students. Our study of these narratives is not an endorsement of their perspectives


The instructor reserves the right to make changes as she sees fit.
Bring your texts with you for lectures 5, 8, 15-17, 20.

Lectures Sections: Quizzes (in bold) + class discussion topics   
Wk 1 Tues 3rd Sept. Lecture 1: Introduction. Etruscans. Beginnings of Rome. No sections this week.
Thurs 5th Sept. Lecture 2: Early Rome. I.
Wk 2 Tues 10th Sept. Lecture 3: Early Rome. II. Early Roman History.
Thurs 12th Sept. Lecture 4: Rome of the Middle Republic.
Wk 3 Tues 17th Sept. Lecture 5: Plautus’ Iran Man. Terence. The Roman Stage. Plautus, Iran Man.
Thurs 19th Sept. Lecture 6: Rome in the 2nd century BCE.
Wk 4 Tues 24th Sept. Lecture 7: The Roman Political and Social Revolution: 133-82 BCE  Early Roman Theatre and Rome in the 2nd century BCE.
Thurs 26th Sept. Class cancelled.
Wk 5 Tues 1st Oct. Lecture 8: Catullus: 1, 2a, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 24, 35, 36, 48, 49, 51, 61, 58a, 68a, 68b, 70, 72, 85. Optional: 64. Quiz 1: Plautus, Iran Man. Catullus.
Thurs 3rd Oct. Lecture 9: The Roman Aristic Revolution: 100-20 BCE.
Wk 6 Tues 8th Oct. Lecture 10: The Roman Political and Social Revolution: 82-62 BCE. Roman Republican intellectual life and art.
Thurs 10th Oct. Lecture 11: Julius Caesar.
Wk 7 Tues 15th Oct. “BU Monday” = no class Quiz 2: Catullus. Roman politics.
Thurs 17th Oct. Lecture 12: Octavian to Augustus.
Wk 8 Tues 22nd Oct. PAPER 1 DUE. Lecture 13: The Augustan Principate (27 BCE-14 CE): Politics and Art. No sections this week.
Thurs 24th Oct. Study session with Teaching Fellows.
Wk 9 Tues 29th Oct. MIDTERM Vergil Aeneid.
Thurs 31st Oct. Lecture 14: Vergil Aeneid. 1-4
Wk 10 Tues 5th Nov. Lecture 15: Vergil Aeneid. 5-8 Vergil Aeneid.
Thur 7th Nov. Lecture 16: Vergil Aeneid. 9-12
Wk 11 Tues 12th Nov. Lecture 17: The Augustan family. Quiz 3: Vergil Aeneid. The Augustan Family.
Thurs 14th Nov. Lecture 18: The Post-Augustan Julio-Claudian Emperors (14-41 CE).
Wk 12 Tues 19th Nov. Lecture 19: Seneca Thyestes. Julio-Claudians. Seneca Thyestes.
Thurs 21st. Nov. Lecture 20: Post-Aug Empire: Claudius (41-54 CE).
Wk 13 Tues 26th Nov. Thanksgiving. Class cancelled. No sections this week.
Thurs. 28th Nov. Thanksgiving. Class cancelled.
Wk 14 Tues 3rd Dec. Lecture 21: Nero’s Iconosphere (54-68 CE). Quiz 4: Seneca Thyestes. Neronian Rome.
Thurs 5th Dec. Lecture 22: Envoi.
Wk 15 Tues 10th Dec. MFA EXTRA CREDIT DUE.
Study session with Teaching Fellows.
Study sessions.