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Unit information: Drama in 2020/21

Unit name Drama
Unit code CLAS20066
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Michelakis
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit considers the role of drama within the ancient world. We will consider a range of plays (in translation) from the Greek and Roman world, including both tragedies and comedies, and will consider the plays within their social, historical, and political contexts. Authors studied may include: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander, Seneca, Plautus, and Terence; dramatical works to be studied may include: Oedipus Tyrannus, Bacchae, Frogs, Phaedra, and Amphitryon.

Students will be expected to deliver a formative group presentation


  • To introduce students to the study of ancient drama, including the formal features of the texts and the circumstances of their original performance;
  • To introduce students to notions of ancient genre and the contextual differences between Greek and Roman theatre;
  • To provide an overview of key scholarly approaches to the study of ancient drama;
  • To develop students’ critical reading skills;
  • To strengthen students’ written skills through the course assessments.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this units, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of ancient plays, and the social, historical, and political contexts of their production, and their reception.
  2. Evaluate the principal critical approaches and identify the issues involved in studying individual dramatic texts and the ancient genres of tragedy and comedy.
  3. Construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments on different aspects of the subject.
  4. Demonstrate skills in oral and written communication appropriate to level I.

Teaching details

This unit will involve a combination of independent investigative activities, long- and short-form lectures, and discussion. Students will be expected to engage with materials and participate on a weekly basis. Feedback will be provided for both formative and summative assessments, and this will be supported by meetings with tutors.

Assessment Details

2,500 word essay (100%). [ILOs 1-4].

Reading and References

  • Boyle, Antony J. (2006) An Introduction to Roman Tragedy, London: Routledge
  • Easterling, Patricia E. (ed.), (1997) The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Goldhill, Simon (1986) Reading Greek Tragedy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Sharrock, Alison (2009) Reading Roman Comedy: Poetics and Playfulness in Plautus and Terence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press