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Unit information: Greek and Roman Drama in 2016/17

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Unit name Greek and Roman Drama
Unit code CLAS22363
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lyndsay Coo
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. Individual weeks will be devoted to Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander, Seneca, Plautus, and Terence, and plays to be studied include Oedipus Tyrannus, Bacchae, Frogs, Phaedra, and Amphitryon.


  • 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 develop students’ written presentation skills

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. have developed a detailed knowledge and in-depth understanding of the key features and historical developments of Greek and Roman drama.
  2. have developed a good knowledge of the varied sources available for studying Greek and Roman drama and a good understanding of the best way to make use of these sources.
  3. be able to use the knowledge acquired in lectures and seminars through their own research to construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments on different aspects of the subject 'at a standard appropriate to level I
  4. have had an opportunity to further develop their skills through participation in seminar discussions, and in an essay and a written exam.

Teaching details

1 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

1 x essay of 2,500 words (50%) and 1 x 90 minute exam (50%) both testing ILOs 1-4

Reading and References

  1. Easterling, P. E. (ed.), (1997) The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Goldhill, S. (1986) Reading Greek Tragedy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. Silk, M. S. (2000) Aristophanes and the Definition of Comedy, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  4. A. J. (2006) An Introduction to Roman Tragedy, London: Routledge
  5. Sharrock, A. (2009) Reading Roman Comedy: Poetics and Playfulness in Plautus and Terence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  6. Beacham, R. C. (1991) The Roman Theatre and its Audience, London: Routledge