CLLA 405
Livy and Tacitus: Myth, History and Morality in Ancient Rome Spring 2023
Division I

Class Details

We will begin the semester in mythical Rome by reading selections from Book 1 of Livy’s history in which Roman values, practices and institutions are given their origin stories, and the mythical figures of Rome’s past are established as moral exempla for Rome’s present. We will examine how Livy deploys the storyteller’s art to excite his readers’ pathos, indignation and sympathy; we will examine as well how he constructs Rome’s past through the filter of his own Augustan present. Writing more than a century after Livy, Tacitus offers a different and jaded view of Augustus and his legacy, one conditioned by his own experiences living through the terrors of the reign of Domitian. His compressed and fastidious prose is the vehicle for complex and gripping accounts of imperial scandals and tragedies as well as of individual acts of heroism and nobility. We will read primarily selections from Tacitus’ Annals as well as selections from either his Germania or Agricola.
The Class: Format: seminar; discussion
Limit: 12
Expected: 6-8
Class#: 3713
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Evaluation will be based on class preparation and participation, an 8- to 10-page paper, a midterm, and a final exam
Prerequisites: CLLA 302 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Classics majors
Distributions: Division I

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