Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Advanced Ancient Language

CX 908

Module Aims

This module is designed to give students with existing linguistic skills in Greek and/or Latin additional intensive experience in translating and interpreting ancient texts from a range of periods and genres. The module is an intermediary step between taught courses and independent research. As such, the formal contact hours are accordingly reduced and the majority of student time will be spent in independent study and translation. Tutorials will serve to trouble-shoot grammatical questions as well as to discuss wider questions of interpretation and context.  


The aim of this module is to enable you to study passages in detail that will help your research for the rest of your modules. Consequently, you should select passages appropriate to your research interests. You should choose passages from the list below that complement your work for your optional and core modules. Alternatively, you may also include your own selection of inscriptions, in consultation with the module convenor. Each passage has been allocated a number of points. Your selection should be the equivalent of roughly 80 pages of text = 160 points. You should study 40 pages [= 80 points] of text in the autumn term, for examination in January, and a further 40 pages [= 80 points] of text before the summer examination.   

You should submit in writing to the convenor a list of the passages you intend to work on by the end of WEEK TWO in both autumn and spring terms. Tutors will then inform you about when tutorials will be held on these passages. These tutorials will not be systematic line-by-line analysis, but will pinpoint particular problems of translation and interpretation. It is crucial that you read and analyse the texts you choose via independent study.  


Tutors will be on hand during the year to help you with any problems of translation and interpretation that you may wish to raise. These tutors will advertise times when particular passages will be discussed. For the most part, you should work your way through the texts, using the standard commentaries, where appropriate, and dipping into the selected bibliography. You should also find that the texts intermesh with issues raised during the other modules.  


Towards the end of term you will be allocated a passage and question from those you have selected. You should work on these 'practicial criticisms' over the break and submit for feedback.  

You should prepare 40 pages of text = 80 points for the January exam, and the same again for the summer exam. You do not have to complete a language dossier as well. In the 1½ hour exams (in January and June), you will be required to translate ONE passage and answer practical criticism questions on TWO passages.  

Marking criteria


Each marked out of 100

• 0-30 Work does not meet standards required for a Masters degree. Much of the passage misunderstood or untranslated. Poor use of English. Only isolated phrases understood.
• 31-49 Work of limited quality, demonstrating some relevant knowledge and understanding. Limited grasp of syntax; significant gaps in knowledge of vocabulary. English is often lacking in sense or coherence. Chunks of text omitted.
• 50-59 Competent work, demonstrating reasonable knowledge and understanding; some errors in understanding syntax and in recalling vocabulary. The overall sense of the passage will be conveyed, but the standard of English may require improvement.
• 60-69 High quality work demonstrating good knowledge and understanding; high level of accuracy in good, accurate English. A few errors in understanding more complex syntax.
• 70-79 Very high quality work demonstrating excellent knowledge and understanding; a very high level of accuracy. No major syntactical errors; no omissions from translation; some minor slips in vocabulary. Will not always capture the nuances of the original or may use unidiomatic English or have the occasional minor syntactical error.
• 80-100 Exceptional work of the highest quality, demonstrating total fluency and accuracy in translating; stylish and accurate English. Close to flawless.

Practical Criticisms

Each marked out of 100

• 0-30 Does not in any way answer the question set. Poorly structured and unpersuasive arguments and reasoning. Does not accurately identify context of passage or author (literary and/or historical). Comments are demonstrably inaccurate. Makes no relevant comment on passage’s significance to visual and material culture (for relevant MAs only). Poorly written and rambling.
• 31-49 Answer to specific question set often tangential. Structure of arguments and their cogency show signs of confusion or are short of detailed and clear reasoning. Makes some general comments on the author. Historical and literary context of the passage given only in vague terms. Remains descriptive rather than engaging in interpretation. General comments on visual and material culture, but unrelated to the passage (for relevant MAs only). English style contains some errors.
• 50-59 Too little interrelation between the question set and the passage - makes some basic points relating to passage’s significance to visual and material culture, but lacks detail (for relevant MAs only). Correctly identifies historical and literary context. Interpretation is limited, and discussion is either rather basic or lacks coherence. Little engagement with relevant intellectual debates. Use of English basically accurate.
• 60-69 Some good engagement between question set and the passage, with an argument in response to the set question which is clear and generally cogent. Detailed knowledge of historical and literary context, and of relevant intellectual debates Some use of comparanda. Makes a good attempt to engage interpretatively with the passage and to comment in detail on content and form. Written clearly and accurately.
• 70-79 Generally very good engagement with the question set and the passage; discussion is clear, insightful, methodologically aware, and convincing. Detailed knowledge of historical and literary context, and of relevant intellectual debates. Perceptive use of comparanda. Shows sophistication in engaging interpretatively with the passage and comments in detail on content and form. Written clearly and accurately.
• 80-100 Excellent engagement between the question set and the passage; discussion is clear, insightful, methodologically aware, and convincing. Pertinent and original insights on the relation between linguistic detail and contextual and thematic analysis. High level of insight into source’s significance to visual and material culture and perceptive, extensive use of comparanda (for relevant MAs only). Detailed knowledge of and engagement with relevant intellectual debates. Shows significant flair and originality in engaging interpretatively with the passage and in commenting on content and form. Written in flawless, clear English.

Syllabus for MAs in Visual and Material Culture (please scroll down for syllabus for MA in Ancient Literature and Thought)


  • Cicero, Philippics 9; 14 = 56 points [AC]
    (Honorific statue for Servius Sulpicius; War memorial proposal)
  • Catullus, 64 = 16 points
  • Virgil Aeneid 1.446-97 = 4 points
    (Temple in Carthage)
  • Virgil Aeneid 8.608-731 = 8 points
    (Shield of Aeneas)
  • Propertius Elegies 2, 31, 4.6; 4.9; 4.11 = 30 Points
    (Temple of Apollo, Ara Maxima; Cornelia’s speech/tombstone)
  • Horace Carmen Saeculare = 6 points
  • Ovid, Met.3.341-510; 10.243-97 = 10 points
    (Narcissus; Pygmalion)
  • Ovid Tristia 3.3 = 4 points [AC]
    (Ovid’s tombstone)
  • Vitruvius De Arch. 1 praef.; 6 praef = 10 points [AC]
  • Petronius Satyricon 28-34, 71 = 18 points [AC]
    (Trimalchio’s inscriptions)
  • Colossus of Nero = 8 points [AC]
    SHA, Hadrian 19, Commodus 17; Pliny Elder NH 34.45; Suet Nero 31, Vesp 18
  • Statius Silvae 1.1 = 4 points [IF]
    (Domitian’s equestrian statue)
  • Statius Silvae 2.2 = 6 points [ZN]
    (Pollio’s Villa)
  • Statius, Silvae 4.6 = 4 points
    (Hercules Vindex statuette)
  • Pliny the Elder, NH 34.6-19 = 12 points [AC]
    (Bronze sculpture)
  • Juvenal Satire 3 = 25 points [AC]
  • Pliny Younger Ep. 3.6; 2.17; 5.6 = 28 points [ZN]
  • Pliny Younger, Ep. 7.29; 8.6 = 10 points
    (Pallas’ tomb)
  • Suetonius, selection = 25 points
    (Julius: 78-79, 81: Caesar’s honours and omens before death; Aug 7: Statuette of Octavian ‘Thurinus’, Aug. 12: Nursi war memorial, Aug.97: omens before death, Aug. 101: RGDA; Calig.8: votive altar; Calig. 41: abuse of inscrs; Nero 31: the Domus Aurea; Vesp. 8-9: rebuilding Rome; Dom. 23: damnatio memoriae)
  • Apuleius, Flor. 16.35-45
    (setting up honorific statues)
  • Ammianus Marcellinus 16.10.13-17 = 5 points
    (Visit to Trajan’s Forum)
  • Sidonius Apollinaris Ep. 2.8; 3.12 = 10 points
    (Composing epitaphs)
  • Gaius, Institutes 1.122 = 2 points
    (Early Roman coins)
  • Digest epigraphic selection = 14 points + 11.7.6 + 11.7.42 + (tombs); (tombs) = 2; 22.4.4-5 (documents) = 2; 50.10.2pr-3.2 (public buildings)
  • Cassiodorus Variae I.25, III.30-31; III.51; IV.51; V.42 = 32 points
    (Urban fabric of late antique Rome)
  • Isola Sacra epigraphic selection = 10 points
    tomb 75, no.82; tomb 76, no.92; tomb 78 no.95; tomb 79 no.96; tomb 90 no.114-16; tomb 97 no.128-29; tomb 100 no.133; tomb 102 no.141-42; tomb 114 no.169; tomb 135 no.198; nos 202, 223, 226, 228, 233, 238, 241, 284, 296, 315, 320, 337, 342


  • Homer, Iliad 18.478-617 = 6 points
    (Shield of Achilles)
  • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 375-652 = 22 points
  • Thuc. 1.132; 6.53-59 + Meiggs/Lewis nos 6, 11, 27 = 15 points [AC]
    (Pausanias at Delphi; Peisistratids)
  • Euripides, Ion 184-237 = 4 points
    (Temple of Apollo)
  • Aristotle, Politics 1.3.12-17 (1257a-b) = 4 points [KB]
    (Development of coinage)
  • Polyb. Histories 6.49.8-10
  • Polyb. Histories 3.22-27 = 12 points [AC]
    (Treaties between Rome and Carthage)
  • Anth. Pal. 16.160-168; 16.275 6 points
    (Epigrams on Venus Cnidia + Poseidippos on Kairos)
  • Dion. Hal. 4.25-26 + 4.58.4 = 8 points [AC]
    (lex of Diana on the Aventine)
  • Josephus BJ 5.13.4 550-2 = 2 points [KB]
    (Refugees swallow gold coins)
  • Plutarch, Lycurgus 9.1-4 = 4 points [KB]
    (Introduction of iron currency)
  • Dio Chrysostom Oration 31 selection = 76 points
    (31.1-22, 48-57, 78-100, 139-65)
    (Honorific statues on Rhodes)
  • Pausanias 1.22-28.3 = 40 points
    (Athens Acropolis)
  • Pausanias 5.10-11 = 16 points
    (Olympia, Temple of Zeus)
  • Pausanias 2.27.1-29.1 = 16 points
  • Philostratus, Imagines 1.23-24 = 10 points
    (Narcissus, Hyacinth)
  • Apollonius Argonautica 1.719-92 = 7 points
    (Jason's cloak)
  • Callistratus, Imagines 1-3 = 12 points
    (Satyr, Bacchante, Eros)
  • Pollux, Onomasticon 111.86 + 51-67, 70-93 ?15points [KB] tbc
    (Terms for silver coinage + names of coins)
  • Libanius, Oration 30 = 50 points
    (To Theodosius On Temples)
  • Libanius, Oration 11, 196-end = 64 points or 233-64 (Praises of Daphne) = 32 points (ZN).
    (The Praises of Antioch)

Syllabus for MA in Ancient Literature and Thought

Students should choose 2 themes from Greek texts if they are taking the optional core module Roman Literature and Thought; and they should choose 2 themes from Latin texts if they are taking Greek Literature and Thought.


Latin Thematic Blocks (each 80 points = c.40 pages of OCT text in total)


Seneca Apocolocyntosis 1-4

Petronius, Satyricon 58-62

Martial Epigrams Book 14

Statius Silvae 1.6



Ovid Remedia Amoris 523-814

Seneca Consolatio ad Helviam 1-7

Apuleius Metamorphoses Book 11.30-42

Seneca Epistulae ad Lucilium 63

Catullus 101



Persius, Satire 5

Cicero De oratore 1.1-14

Horace Ars Poetica 1-219

Ovid Ars Amatoria 2.21-142



Lucan 1.1-97

Statius Thebaid 12.1-429

Caesar, Bellum Civile 3.84-99

Horace Epodes 1, 6, 7, 9, 14, 16

Calpurnius Siculus Eclogues 1



Horace, Epodes 5, 8, 12, 17; Satires 1.8, 2.8

Lucan 6.413-830

Cicero Pro Caelio 23-50

Apuleius Metamorphoses 1.1-19



Seneca De tranquillitate 1, 17; Naturales Quaestiones 7 [selection]

Tacitus Agricola 10, 30-32; Germania 45-6

Quintilian 10.1.27-30; 12.10.58-72

Lucretius 3.1-415

Virgil Aen. 2.589-649, 6.42-336



Ovid Metamorphoses 1.451-567, 3.173-252

Horace Odes 1.1, 2.20, 4.10

Propertius 3.10
Catullus 63, 66

Virgil Aeneid 7.1-45, 9.1-122

Livy Book 23 [selected passages]



Lucan Book 10

Propertius 3.9

Ovid Ars 1.177-228

Tacitus Annals 13-14 [selection of 10 pp.]

Cicero, De Imperio [selection of 5 pp.]

Livy Book 35 [selection of 5pp.]


Greek Thematic Blocks (each 80 points = c.40 pages of OCT text in total)


Homer Odyssey 24.205–382

Sappho fr. 96

Pindar Pythian 1

Sophocles Philoctetes 219–541

Callimachus Epigram 5

Theocritus Idylls 1 and 7

Oppian Halieutica 1.1–92



Gorgias Encomium of Helen

Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 130–265

Plato Phaedrus 274c1–278e3

Plato Symposium 189c2–193e1

Aristotle Poetics 1451a36–b32

Dionysius of Halicarnassus De comp. verb. 1–3, 26



Homer Iliad 18.478–617

Theocritus Idyll 15

Apollonius Argonautica 1.719–92

Posidippus Lithika

Pausanias 5.10–11



Homer Iliad 6.312–68

Homer Odyssey 11.1–80

Euripides Electra 503–80

Herodotus 5.92

Thucydides 1.20–2 and 2.35–41

Callimachus Aetia Prologue

Theocritus Idyll 16

Apollonius Argonautica 3.975–1078

Dionysius of Halicarnassus De ant. orat. Preface

Longinus De subl. 44.1–end



Hesiod Theogony 1–67

Homeric Hymn to Hermes

Pindar Paean 9

Pindar Pythian 8

Euripides Troades 1–47

Callimachus Hymn 5

Pausanias 5.10–11

Philostratus Heroicus 6–11



Sappho frr. 2, 16, 31

Simonides 543 PMG

Aeschylus Myrmidons frr. 131–42 Radt

POxy 663, ancient summary of Cratinus Dionysalexandros, and Cratinus frr. 39–51 KA

Testimonia and fragments of Cratinus Pytine frr. 193–215 KA

Plato Protagoras 339a–47a

Dionysius of Halicarnassus On Thucydides 28–33



Sappho fr. 31

Sophocles Philoctetes 730–864

Herodotus 3.30–8

Hippocrates Airs, Waters, Places 1–12

Thucydides 2.47–54

Theocritus Idyll 11




Homer Iliad 12.1–33

Homer Odyssey 9.39–104

Pindar Olympian 7

Aeschylus Eumenides 848–1048

Aristophanes Wealth 624822

Herodotus 5.49–52

Xenophon Anabasis 3.1.1–2.39


Bibliographies - Greek

Homer Iliad 18.478-617

Text: Allen (OCT)

  • Alden, M. (2000) Homer Beside Himself: Para-Narratives in the Iliad (Oxford), ch. 3
  • Fowler, D. P. (1991) 'Narrate and Describe: The Problem of Ekphrasis', Journal of Roman Studies 81: 25-35, reprinted in his Roman Constructions: Studies in Postmodern Latin (Oxford)
  • Hardie, P. (1985) 'Imago mundi: cosmological and ideological aspects of the shield of Achilles', JHS 105: 11-32
  • Henderson, J. (1993) 'Hendanceson Tuplin's Shield (and on)', Liverpool Classical Monthly 18.4: 58-62
  • Taplin, O. P. (1980) 'The Shield of Achilles within the Iliad', Greece & Rome 27: 1-21

Thucydides 1.132; 6.53-59 + ML 6, 11, 27

Text: OCT (Jones/Powell)

  • Hornblower, S. A Commentary on Thucydides
  • Hornblower, S. Thucydides pp.88-91
  • Smarczyk, B. (2006) 'Thucydides and epigraphy', in Rengakos and Tsakmakis, eds Brill's Companion to Thucydides pp495-522

ML = Meiggs & Lewis, A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions (revised edn)

Also add Hdt 9.81; DionHal 11.33??

Cf. Herodotus: S. West CQ 35 (1985) 278ff - 6.14, 5.59-61

Polybius Histories 3.22-27

Text: Loeb, trans. Paton, rev. Walbank & Habicht (2010)

Pausanias, Description of Greece

Text: Loeb edition

  • Habicht, C., Pausanias’ Guide to Ancient Greece (2nd edn.; Berkeley, Los Angeles & London, 1988).
  • S. E. Alcock, J. F. Cherry and J. Elsner eds., Pausanias: Travel and Memory in Roman Greece (New York, 2001), 21-32. Esp chs 1-3.
  • Arafat, K. W., Pausanias’ Greece: Ancient Artists and Roman Rulers (Cambridge, 1996), for a brief version of his ideas see Arafat, K. W., ‘Pausanias’ Attitude to Antiquities’, Annual of the British School at Athens 87 (1992), 387-409.
  • Pritchett, W. K., Pausanias Periegetes (Amsterdam, 1999).



Philostratus, Imagines

Text: Loeb edition

  • Lehmann-Hartleben, K., ‘The Imagines of the Elder Philostratus’ Art Bulletin 23 (1941) 16-44.
  • Newby, Z., 'Absorption and erudition in Philostratus' Imagines' in E. L .Bowie & J. Elsner eds., Philostratus (Cambridge, 2009) 322-42.
  • Bryson, N. (1994) ‘Philostratus and the imaginary museum’, in Goldhill, S. and Osborne. R. (eds.) Art and Text in Greek Culture, Cambridge. 255-283.
  • Conan, M., ‘The Imagines of Philostratus’, Word and Image 3.2 (1987) 162-171.
  • Anderson, G. (1986) Philostratus. Biography and Belles Lettres in the Third Century A.D. London. Ch 14
  • Beall, S. M. 'Word-Painting in the Imagines of the Elder Philostratus', Hermes 121 (1993) 350-363.

Libanius, Oration XI (Antiochikos), 196-end

Text: Libanius Opera, ed. R. Foerster (Teubner), Vol 1.2

Translations and commentaries:

Norman, A. F., Antioch as a centre of Hellenic culture as observed by Libanius, translated with an introduction (Liverpool, 2000)

Downey, G., 'Libanius' Oration in Praise of Antioch (ORATION XI). Translated with Introduction and Commentary', Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 103, No. 5 (1959): 652-686 (available via JSTOR)


Bibliographies - Latin

Cicero Philippics 9, 14

Text: Loeb (Shackleton Bailey)

  • Shackleton Bailey, D.R. (1986) Cicero Philippics [PA 6280.A1]

  • Manuwald, G. (2007) Cicero, Philippics 3-9. Volume 1. Introduction, Text and Translation. Volume 2. Commentary

  • Ramsey, J.T. (2003) Cicero Philippics I-II [PA 6280.A31]
  • Syme R. (1939) Roman Revolution
  • CAH IX
  • Lintott, A. (2008) Cicero as Evidence: A Historian's Companion ch.18-19 [PA 6346.L48 + e-book]
  • Cooley, A.E. (in press) 'Commemorating the war dead of the Roman world’ in Cultures of Commemoration, (eds) P. Lowe, G.J. Oliver, P. Rhodes

Catullus poem 64

Text: OCT

  • C. Fordyce (Oxford 1961)
  • K.Quinn (Macmillan 1970, repr. Bristol 1997)
  • Jenkyns R. (1982) 'Catullus and the idea of a masterpiece' in Three Classical Poets (Duckworth)
  • Laird A. (1993) 'Art and Text in Catullus 64' Journal of Roman Studies, 18-30
  • Lyne, R.O.A.M. (1980) The Latin Love Poets (Oxford)
  • Newman J.K. (1990) Roman Catullus and the Modification of the Alexandrian Sensibility (Hildesheim)
  • Putnam M. (1961) The Art of Catullus 64' Harvard Studies in Classical Philology (65) 165-25
  • Quinn K. (ed.) (1972) Approaches to Catullus (Cambridge)
  • Quinn K. (1972) Catullus: an Interpretation (London)
  • Quinn K. (1969) The Catullan Revolution (Cambridge)
  • Ross D.O. (1969) Style and Tradition in Catullus
  • Wheeler A.L. (1934) Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry
  • Wiseman T.P. (1969) Catullan Questions (Leicester)
  • Wiseman T.P. (1985) Catullus and his World: A Reappraisal (Cambridge)
  • J. Ferguson (1988) Catullus (Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics 20, Oxford)
  • H.Harrauer (1977) A Bibliography to Catullus (Hildesheim)

 Vitruvius De Arch. 1 praef.; 6 praef-1

  • Text: Loeb edition (Granger)
  • Andre, J-M. (1985) 'Le prologue scientifique et la rhetorique: les prefaces de Vitruve', BAGB 375-84
  • Andre, J-M. (1988) 'La rhetorique dans les prefaces de Vitruve. Le statut culturel de la science', Filologia e forme letterarie. Studi offerti a F. Della Corte Vol 3 (Urbino) 265-89
  • Bajoni, M.G. (1988) 'Vitruvio fra letteratura e scienza', ACD 24: 47-49
  • Baldwin, B. (1989) 'The non-architectural side of Vitruvius', Prudentia 21.2: 4-12
  • Baldwin, B. (1990) 'The date, identity and career of Vitruvius', Latomus 49: 425-34
  • Gabba, E. (1980) 'La praefatio di Vitruvio e la Roman augustea', ACD 16: 49-52
  • Gros, P. (1982) 'Vitruve: l'architecture et sa theorie, a la lumiere des etudes recentes', ANRW 30.1: 659-95
  • Gros, P. (1989) 'L'auctoritas chez Vitruve. Contribution a l'etude de la semantique des ordres dans le De Architectura', in H. Geertman & J.J. De Jong, Munus non ingratum. Proceedings of the international symposium on Vitruvius' De architectura and the Hellenistic and Republican architecture (Leiden) 126-33
  • Rawson, E. (1985) Intellectual Life in the Late Roman Republic
  • Rowland, I.D. & Howe, T.N. (1999) Vitruvius. Ten Books on Architecture
  • Ruffel, P. & Soubiran, J. (1962) 'Vitruve ou Mamurra?' Pallas 11.2: 123-79
  • Schrijvers, P.H. (1989) 'Vitruve et la vie intellectuelle de son temps', in H. Geertman & J.J. De Jong, Munus non ingratum. Proceedings of the international symposium on Vitruvius' De architectura and the Hellenistic and Republican architecture (Leiden) 13-21
  • Wallace-Hadrill, A. (2009) Rome's Cultural Revolution

Virgil, Aeneid I.446-97
  • Text: R.D.Williams, The Aeneid of Virgil Books 1-6 (New York, 1972)
  • R. D. Williams (1960) ‘The Pictures on Dido’s Temple (Aeneid I. 450-93)’, CQ 10: 145-51 [repr. in S. J. Harrison, ed., Oxford Readings in Vergil's Aeneid (Oxford, 1990), 37-45]
  • S. J. Harrison ‘Picturing the future : the prophetic ekphrasis from Homer to Vergil’, in S.J. Harrison, ed., Texts, Ideas and the Classics: Scholarship, Theory and Classical Literature (Oxford, 2001),70-92 (on proleptic ekphrasis)
  • A. Barchiesi, 'Virgilian narrative: ecphrasis', in C. Martindale, ed., Cambridge Companion to Vergil (1997) 271-82

Virgil, Aeneid VIII.608-731
  • Text: R.D.Williams, The Aeneid of Virgil Books 7-12 (New York, 1972)
  • K. Gransden (1976) Aeneid Book 8 (CUP)
  • D.A West, Cernere erat: the shield of Aeneas’, in S. J. Harrison, ed., Oxford Readings in Vergil's Aeneid (Oxford, 1990), 295-304
  • S. J. Harrison, ‘Picturing the future : the prophetic ekphrasis from Homer to Vergil’, in S.J. Harrison, ed., Texts, Ideas and the Classics: Scholarship, Theory and Classical Literature (Oxford, 2001),70-92 (on proleptic ekphrasis)
  • A. Barchiesi, 'Virgilian narrative: ecphrasis', in C. Martindale, ed., Cambridge Companion to Vergil (1997) 271-82
  • P. Hardie (1986) Virgil's Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium 336-76

Propertius Elegies 2.31
  • Text: Loeb edition (Goold)
  • M. Hubbard (2001) Propertius
  • J. P. Sullivan (1976) Propertius. A critical introduction 
  • R.A. Gurval (1995) Actium and Augustus

Ovid Tristia 3.3
  • Text: Loeb (Wheeler, revised by Goold)
  • J-E. Claassen, 'Tristia', in P.E. Knox (2009) A Companion to Ovid
  • G. Williams, 'Ovid's exile poetry: Tristia, Epistulae ex Ponto and Ibis', in P. Hardie, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Ovid (2002)

Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.341-510

Text and commentary: A. A. R. Henderson, Ovid Metamorphoses III (1979)

  • P. Hardie (2002) Ovid’s poetics of illusion (Cambridge), 143-72

Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.243-97

Text and commentary: D. E. Hill, Ovid Metamorphoses IX-XII (1999)

  • P. Hardie (2002) Ovid’s poetics of illusion (Cambridge), 173-226

Petronius Satyricon 28-30, 71

Text: Loeb (Heseltine - Rouse - Warmington 1987) 

  • J. Öberg, ed., Cena Trimalchionis (1999)
  • V. Rimell, Petronius and the Anatomy of Fiction (2002)
  • E. Courtney, A companion to Petronius (2001)
  • C. Connors, Petronius the poet. Verse and literary tradition in the Satyricon (1998)
  • V. Hope, in I. Repath & J. Prag, eds., Companion to Petronius
  • Nelis-Clement, J. and Nelis, D. (2005) 'Petronius' epigraphic habit', Dictynna = Jocelyne Nelis-Clément et Damien Nelis, « Petronius’ epigraphic habit », Dictynna [En ligne], 2 | 2005, mis en ligne le 30 novembre 2010. URL :
  • L. Hackworth Petersen The Freedman in Roman Art and Art History
  • P. Veyne, 'Cave canem' MEFRA 75 (1963)
  • JRW Prag, 'Cave navem' CQ 56.2 (2006) 538-47

Colossus of Nero

[SHA, Hadrian 19, Commodus 17; Pliny Elder NH 34.45; Suet Nero 31, Vesp 18]

Smith, R.R.R. (2000) 'Nero and the Sun-god: divine accessories and political symbols in Roman imperial images', JRA 13: 532-42

Pliny the Elder, Natural History 34.6-19

Text: Loeb edition

  • J. Isager (1991) Pliny on art and society. The Elder Pliny’s chapters on the history of art, especially 80-108, ‘Book 34. Bronze Art’,
  • E. Sellers (1976) The Elder Pliny’s chapters on the history of art (translated by K. Jex-Blake)
  • M. Beagon (1992) Roman nature. The thought of Pliny the Elder ch1, and see index under ‘artes’

Statius Silvae 1.1

Text: OCT Courtney (1992)

  • Newlands, C. (2002) Statius' Silvae and the poetics of Empire (CUP) [PA 6698.N3]

Statius Silvae 2.2

Text: Shackleton Bailey (Loeb)

  • C.E. Newlands (2002) ‘Dominating nature: Pollius' villa in Silvae 2.2’, in C. E. Newlands, Statius’ Silvae and the Poetics of empire (Cambridge), 154-98
  • B. Bergman (1991) ‘Painted perspectives of a Villa Visit’, in E. K. Gazda, ed., Roman Art in the Private Sphere (Ann Arbor, MI), 49-70
  • A. G. McKay (1975) Houses, Villas and Palaces in the Roman World (Ithaca, NY) 115-18
  • A. Kuttner (1999) ‘Looking Outside Inside: Ancient Roman Garden Rooms’, Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 1: 7-35

Statius Silvae 4.6

Text: Coleman, K.M. (1988) Statius Silvae IV (OUP) = Coleman, K.M. (1998) Statius Silvae IV (BCP reissue)

  • C.E. Newlands (2002) ‘Embodying the statue: Silvae 1.1 and 4.6’, in C. E. Newlands, Statius’ Silvae and the Poetics of empire 46-87
  • M. Beard and J. Henderson (2001) Classical Art. From Greece to Rome (Oxford), 192-202

Juvenal satires 3

Text: CUP Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics - S. Morton Braund (1996)

  • Braund, S. Juvenal Satires I (CUP)
  • Rudd and Courtney Juvenal Satires I, III, X (BCP 1977)
  • Courtney, A Commentary on the Satires of Juvenal (1980)

Pliny the Younger, Letters 2.17, 3.6, 5.6

Text: Loeb edition

  • A. Sherwin-White (1966) The Letters of Pliny. A historical and social commentary 

Pliny Younger, Letters 7.29; 8.6

Text: OCT Mynors (1966)

  • Sherwin-White, A.N. (1966) The Letters of Pliny. A Historical and Social Commentary (OUP)


Text: J.C.Rolfe (Loeb, 1928)

  • Carter, J.M. (1982) Divus Augustus (BCP)
  • Wallace-Hadrill, A. Suetonius 
  • Cooley, A.E. (2009) Res Gestae divi Augusti
  • Flower, H.I. (2006) The Art of Forgetting [Domitian damnatio]
  • Cooley, A.E. (2012) in Cultures of Commemoration, eds Low, Oliver, Rhodes [Nursi war memorial]
  • Corbier, M. (1987) in L'Urbs : espace urbain et histoire [Caligula's 'publication' of laws]
  • Varner, E. (2004) Mutilation and transformation : damnatio memoriae and Roman imperial portraiture
  • Dennison, W. (1898) 'The epigraphic sources of Suetonius' AJA 2: 26-70

Apuleius Flor. 16.35-45

Ammianus Marcellinus 16.10.13-17

Text: Loeb ed. Rolfe (1940)

  • R. Blockley, Ammianus Marcellinus. A Section with Introduction and Notes (1980)
  • P. De Jonge, Philological and historical commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus XVI (1972)
  • T.D. Barnes, Ammianus Marcellinus and the representation of historical reality (Ithaca and London, 1998)
  • J. W. Drijvers and D. Hunt, eds, The Late Roman world and its historian: interpreting Ammianus Marcellinus (London, 1999)
  • Grig, L. 'Competing Capitals', in Two Romes. Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity, eds L. Grig and G. Kelly (Oxford Studies in Late Antiquity, 2012: OUP)

Sidonius Apollinaris ep. 2.8, 3.12

Text: Loeb text & translation by W.B. Anderson 2 vols (1956, 1965)

  • J. Harries, Sidonius Apollinaris and the Fall of Rome AD 407-485 (1994) intro, ch.1, epilogue


Cassiodorus Variae


Digest epigraphic selection

Text: The Digest of Justinian, eds Mommsen, Krueger, Watson [KE152.J8]

  • D. Johnston, Roman Law in Context (1999) [DG88.J6]

Isola Sacra inscriptions

Edition and commentary:

  • Helttula, A., ed. (2007) Le iscrizioni sepolcrali latine nell'Isola Sacra 

Sample Bibliography:

The main focus of the module is on the primary texts listed above, which you should read in conjunction with the standard commentaries. However, the following offer readings contextualizing the texts:

  • Bartsch, S. Decoding the Ancient Novel (Princeton, 1989) ch 1
  • Carroll, M., Spirits of the Dead: Roman funerary commemoration in western Europe (Oxford, 2006)
  • Conan, M., ‘The Imagines of Philostratus’, Word and Image 3 (1987) 162-71.
  • Elsner, J. (ed.) Art and Text in Roman Culture (Cambridge)
  • Elsner. J., ‘Naturalism and the Erotics of the Gaze: Intimations of Narcissus’ in N. B. Godwin, J., Catullus Poems 61-8 (Warminster, 1995)
  • Kampen ed., Sexuality in Ancient Art (Cambridge 1996), 247-61.
  • Goldhill, S. & Osborne, R. (edd.)(1994) Art and Text in Greek Culture (Cambridge)
  • Laird, A. 'Sounding out Ekphrasis: Art and Text in Catullus 64' Journal of Roman Studies 83 (1993), 18-30.
  • Lehmann-Hartleben, K., ‘The Imagines of the Elder Philostratus’ Art Bulletin 23 (1941) 16-44.
  • Liddel, P. and Low, P. (2013, in press) Inscriptions and their Uses in Greek and Latin Literature (OUP)
  • Melville Jones, J. R., Testimonia Numaria: Greek and Latin Texts concerning Ancient Greek coinage (London, 1993)
  • Newby, Z. & Leader-Newby, R. (eds.) Art and Inscriptions in the Ancient World (Cambridge, 2007) [Shear on Dio Chrysostom]
  • Newby, Z., ‘Testing the boundaries of ekphrasis: Lucian On the Hall’, Ramus 31 (2002) 126–35.
  • Newby, Z., 'Absorption and erudition in Philostratus' Imagines' in E. L .Bowie & J. Elsner eds., Philostratus (Cambridge, forthcoming).
  • Pollitt, J. J., The art of Rome: sources and documents (Cambridge, 1983)
  • Pollitt, J. J., The Art of Ancient Greece: sources and documents (Cambridge, 1990)
  • Small, J. P., The Parallel worlds of Classical Art and Text (Cambridge, 2003)
  • Webb, R.., ‘Ekphrasis Ancient and Modern: the invention of a genre', Word and Image, 15 (1999) 7-18