Roman Poetry And The Visual Arts CLASSIC4036

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course investigates Roman attitudes towards the visual arts, with particular reference to representations of works of art and reactions to such works in Roman poetry of the late Republic and early Empire.


Two one-hour sessions per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours

options in Classics and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Classics, Greek or Latin, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes.

Excluded Courses



Examination (90 minutes duration) - 60%

Essay (2,500 words) - 40%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ investigate representations of and responses to visual artefacts in a range of major Roman authors, and to relate these depictions and attitudes to ancient theoretical discussion of the visual arts

■ consider a range of possible factors - literary, aesthetic, political, social and philosophical - affecting representations of artwork and reactions to it in individual Roman poets and different genres of poetry

■ reflect on the relationship between poetry and the visual arts in ancient Rome, both as conceived at the time and in modern scholarship

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students will be able to:

■ discuss in an informed manner the treatment of real and fictional works of art and visual motifs in Roman poetry of the late Republic and early Empire

■ comment pertinently and critically, both orally and in writing, on individual passages from Roman poetry dealing with artefacts and visual motifs

■ analyse the ways in which depictions of the visual arts in Roman poetry are affected by and contribute to the different literary contexts in which they occur

■ give an accurate and informed account of the literary technique of ekphrasis and its theoretical implications, and identify instances of this phenomenon in literature of this period

■ identify different responses to visual art, connoisseurship and display suggested by the texts of the Roman poets, and account for the differences in these responses, with reference to contemporary aesthetic, philosophical, social and political contexts

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.