Landscape And Civilisation In Latin Poetry (In Latin) LATIN5013

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • 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 investigates the themes of humanity's relationship with the landscape and the development of human civilisation in three important Latin poets of the late Republican period, Lucretius, Virgil and Tibullus, studied in the original language.


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 less than five

Requirements of Entry

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

Excluded Courses

Landscape and Civilisation in Latin Poetry MNBS


One end-of-course examination (90 minutes): 50%
One submitted coursework essay (2,000
 words): 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

- explore and compare differing treatments of the two themes of landscape and civilisation - and the relationship between the two - in three Latin poets of the first century BC

- locate the treatment of these themes by Lucretius, Virgil and Tibullus in the context of wider Greek and Roman attitudes to landscape and civilisation, and in relation to later thinking on human development and the place of humanity in the natural world

- study in detail and at an advanced level a major work of Latin poetry (Virgil's Georgics, called by Dryden "the best poem by the best poet"), paying particular attention to matters of style, genre and intertextuality, and to historical, philosophical and political contexts

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

- analyse the attitudes towards landscape and civilisation (and the relationship between them) suggested by the prescribed texts, and identify and account for apparent differences in emphasis and attitude between the three authors under consideration

- relate these poets' treatment of evolution, the natural world and humanity's place in it to broader currents in Greco-Roman thought, including (where appropriate) ancient schools of philosophy

- demonstrate an informed understanding of the literary, social, political and philosophical issues raised in Virgil's Georgics, and discuss critically the ways in which these issues are handled in the text, with reference to modern scholarship on the poem

- write well-researched and critically-aware essays on the treatment of particular themes in the prescribed texts, and discuss these themes and other aspects of the texts in a pertinent and informed manner

- identify points of interest in passages taken from the set texts, indicate their significance within the literary and/or thematic framework of the text under consideration, and relate them to wider contexts in Greek and Roman thought, literature and history

- analyse ways in which the poetic style of one or more of the three authors studied contributes to the expression of ideas treated in the text

- translate passages from the set texts into clear, accurate and idiomatic English

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits