Greek MA

Lyric poems and their performance in ancient Greece CLASSIC4060

  • 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

Through a reading of the major surviving pieces of Greek lyric poetry in translation, this course investigates the themes, techniques and the social context of the genre. It offers students a new perspective from which to study lyric poems by focussing on the relationship between poets, texts and audiences.


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.

Excluded Courses



Examination (90 minutes duration) - 50%

Essay (2,500-3,000 words) - 50%

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 in depth a selection of Greek lyric poetry from synchronic and diachronic perspectives

■ explore relationships between lyric poems and their performance contexts in ancient Greece

■ become familiar with the textual transmission of Greek lyric pieces

■ discuss different theoretical approaches to interpreting Greek lyric poetry

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ identify the formal characteristics of different lyric genres (melic, iambic, elegiac)

■ compare the different types of lyric poetry with regard to performance and themes

■ recognise the social, political and cultural context of lyric poetry

■ summarise and evaluate modern theories about lyric poetry and its performance

■ formulate your own interpretations of the poems with due regard for recent scholarship

■ formulate lucid arguments which demonstrate engagement with primary texts and secondary literature

■ demonstrate such essay skills as stipulated in the Classics Handbook

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.