CLLA 422
Crete in the Ancient Roman Imagination Spring 2024
Division I

Class Details

Appeals to origins “long ago” and “far away” occur as a basis for positive cultural claims in ancient literature, but also function to banish or contain taboo desires and practices by placing them safely beyond the limits of civilized time and place. For the Romans, the island of Crete fulfilled both these roles. In this course, we will explore the representation of Crete and Cretans in several authors and genres, with special attention to Catullus 64 and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. We will consider how representations of Crete helped our authors navigate perennial tensions at Rome between philhellenism and xenophobia and attend to the complex play of poetic intertextuality among Roman texts as well as their intimate engagement with Greek predecessors. Moreover, to complement our literary investigation, students will gain familiarity with the history of Roman rule on the island from its establishment as a province in 67 BCE through late antiquity, and will consider vestiges of the Roman imperial presence that endured much longer. Students will research Roman activity on Crete with an emphasis on material culture as well as written sources. All students enrolled in this course will have the option of participating in a short-term travel course to Crete in May, conducted in collaboration with CLGR 422.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 10
Expected: 6
Class#: 3921
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, translation quizzes and exams, occasional short writing assignments, seminar paper and presentation
Prerequisites: CLLA 302
Enrollment Preferences: Classics majors and intending majors
Distributions: Division I

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