CLLA 416
Praise, Blame, and Performance in Flavian and Trajanic Rome Spring 2018 Division I;
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In this course, we will consider how authors of imperial Rome represent the spectacle of their urban surroundings. Poets such as Martial and Statius describe the lavish entertainments that Domitian put on in the newly constructed Colosseum: Saturnalia festivities, beast hunts, gladiatorial combats. But their interest in these imperial displays is just one aspect of a greater preoccupation with social performance and self-fashioning during this time. Statius invites readers to marvel at imperial statues, aristocratic villas, and even an impressive new road built by Domitian. Martial, on the other hand, dispenses not praise but blame: in his epigrams, he encourages readers to laugh at the ridiculous displays of upstarts, flatterers, and deviants, casting vice as entertainment. As we read selections from Statius’ Silvae, Martial’s De Spectaculis and epigrams, Pliny’s letters about public and literary life, and his speech of praise for the emperor Trajan, we will pay particular attention to questions such as the following: What do these authors’ representations of spectacle tell us about the values of Flavian and Trajanic Rome? How do their works constitute performances in their own right? What do these texts reveal about the social functions of literature under autocratic rule?
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 5-10
Class#: 3034
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, short writing assignments, two translation exams, and a final paper
Prerequisites: CLLA 302 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preference: majors and potential majors in Classics and Comparative Literature
Distributions: Division I;

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