The Roman Stage: A History of Roman Drama from the Republic to the Empire (Latin) LATIN4031

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course offers a critical and research-based overview of the development of Roman drama in all its forms (tragedy, comedy, Atellane farce, mime, and pantomime) from the third century BC to the Second century AD. A selection of texts will be read in Latin.


22x1hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. These are shared with The Roman Stage CLASSIC4010.

Requirements of Entry

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

Excluded Courses





Exam (2-hour duration) - 50%

Essay (2,500 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will 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 aims to:

■ Trace the development of Roman drama in all its forms (comedy, tragedy, Atellane farce, mime, pantomime) from the third century BC to the second century AD,

■ Consider its debt to Greek drama and its interaction with other forms of literature;

■ Evaluate the position of actors and the acting profession within the social hierarchy of the Republic and the Empire,

■ Discuss the visual aspects of the Roman stage (buildings, costumes, masks, stag-action as evidenced in scenes from plays depicted in art)

■ Read major works of tragic and comic playwrights both as spectacles intended for live performance and as complex literary texts that were meaningful to their audience,

■ Engage with these plays in the original Latin


Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Situate Roman drama within its literary, cultural, political, and social context,

■ Critique the plays both as literature and as scripts for staging,

■ Engage critically with the secondary literature interpreting these plays,

■ Express their arguments lucidly and coherently both orally and in writing,

■ Translate the Latin of each playwright into idiomatic English with due concern for stylistic nuances.


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.