Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Hellenistic Poetry GREEK5011

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides the opportunity to study the poets of Third and Second Century BCE Alexandria, with particular reference to linguistic, formal and literary issues, and paying close attention to the cultural context.


This is a PG (T) course, taught over one semester. Teaching will be by weekly seminar if enrolment is five or more, or by weekly supervision and guided reading if enrolment is fewer than five

Requirements of Entry

Available to students who have Greek to Honours level or equivalent, or at the discretion of the MLitt (T) convener

Excluded Courses

Hellenistic Poetry LDZS


One 3000 word coursework essay (50%) and one 1.5 hour examination (50%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ study a selection of poetry of the early Hellenistic period (late Third to mid-Second Century BCE)

■ examine the significance of Alexandria, both the city and its institutions, especially the Library

■ discuss the impact, limitations and significance of a common Greek literature and culture

■ discuss issues of textuality and performance

■ compare third-century poetry with its classical and archaic forerunners

■ examine issues of reception and intertextuality

■ consider the phenomena of classicism and canonicity

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

■ identify peculiarities of language within different Hellenistic authors

■ make judicious use of dictionaries, commentaries, works of reference and modern translations

■ translate fluently and accurately from the prescribed texts into clear and appropriate English

■ identify intertexts and aetiologies, and discuss their significance

■ recognize poetic figures and analyse their connotations

■ identify and explain other formal and structural elements

■ evaluate the importance of social context(s) to the texts under discussion

■ formulate and critique avenues of interpretation within modern scholarship

■ construct their own interpretations of the texts

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits