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Horace, Authority and Authoritarianism

Module Code: CX282-15, CX382-15

Module Value: 15 CATS

Available in: Term 2, 2023-2024

Module Teacher: Dr Lucrezia Sperindio


This module surveys the poetry of Horace as key for our understanding of the relationship between poets and patrons under Augustus. By looking at the entirety of Horace’s production, we will analyse the tension between his own poetic authorship and authority and the possibly authoritarian constraints of the Augustan regime as it evolved during the years of Horace’s life. The module will also provide a broad understanding of the main political theories of authoritarianism and totalitarianism as well as some key modes of reading Latin literary texts.

Timetabled Teaching: 2 hours of class per week in term 2 (partly lecture, partly seminar) with an extra hour for those studying the texts in the original; 1 hour per week of revision class in Term 3, with an extra hour for those studying the texts in the original.

Assessment: One assessed essay of 2,500-3000 words in length in the second term (60% of the final mark); One 1-hour examination in the summer term consisting of two practical criticisms (40% of the final mark).