Greek MA

Reasons To Be Cheerful: Theorising Comedy With Aristophanes And Menander CLASSIC4005

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • 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

Short Description

From the surreal satire of Aristophanes to the situation comedy of Menander, this course investigates the nature and context of ancient Greek humour, relating it both to modern traditions of comedy and a range of theoretical perspectives.


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. When running it will consist of :

Two seminars, weekly.
Seminar 1: discussion of ancient texts

Seminar 2: discussion of modern th
eories and/or comparative strategies
Follow-up discussion online (expectation of 2 substantive posts minimum weekly).

Excluded Courses





Essay (3,000 words) - 60%

Presentation (10 minutes) - 20% each

Contribution to online discussion ( 1,000 words) - 20%

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:

■ study a selection of Greek comedy from synchronic and diachronic perspectives

■ discuss ancient humour within its original context

■ study a range of theories of humour and the comic in the Western tradition

■ relate ancient komoidia to modern categories of humour

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ identify the formal characteristics of Greek comedy and compare its two main varians (Old and New Comedy).

■ relate the texts to their social, cultural and political context

■ recognise the principal theories of comedy, ancient and modern.

■ develop their own arguments about the nature of the comic, orally and in written form

■ use and critique comparative strategies in approaching ancient humour

■ evaluate critical approaches to humour and comedy through discussion of the set texts

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.