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Autumn Term
1. Week 1: no class
2. Week 2: Introduction

3. Week 3: Ancients and moderns: the case of medicine

4. Week 4: Love melancholy and society from Aretaeus of Cappadocia to Jacques Ferrand

5. Week 5: Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) and the classical heritage

6: Week 6: Reading Week

7. Week 7: Vampires and cannibals: the dark side of medicine, from antiquity to early modern times

8. Week 8: Renaissance descriptions and depictions of the human body: Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543) and Galen

9. Week 9: Hippocrates and modern medical ethics

10: Week 10: Hysteria : anatomy of a disease

Spring Term

  1. Week 1: Introduction: What are ‘Reception Studies’ and the ‘History of the Classical Tradition’?
  2. Week 2: The end of Antiquity: strategies of survival in an anti-pagan world (Set Text: Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, Book I)
  3. Week 3: Pagans in Hell? Dante’s Divine Comedy (Set Texts: Dante, Inferno I (Meeting Virgil), Inferno IV (Meeting the pagans), Purgatorio I (encounter with Cato) and XXII (encounter with Statius). The text can be read in translation by Robert M. Durling, Oxford University Press, 2011; in the original in the editions by Natalino Sapegno (La nuova Italia, 2002), or by Umberto Bosco and Giovanni Reggio (Monnier, 1979). You can also use the following link:

  4. Week 4: From Byzantium to Italy: The translatio of the Classical heritage in the Middle Ages (Set Texts: Petrarch, Letter to Virgil and Letter to Homer)

  5. Week 5: Concordia discors: When humanists seek to reconcile paganism and Christianity (Set Texts: Bessarion, Against the Slanderer of Plato, Book II (excerpts), Ficino, Preface to the Platonic Theology and Preface to his Commentary on Plotinus)

  6. Week 6: Reading Week: No class

  7. Week 7: Appropriating Ancient Rome: The Pope as Julius Caesar and the Capitol renewed (Set Texts: Bartolomeo Platina, The Restoration of Rome (excerpts) and Egidio da Viterbo, Letter to Zoccoli (excerpts))

  8. Week 8: Reinventing Antiquity: The Laocoon (Set Texts: Virgil, Aeneid II, 199-224; Pliny, Natural History XXXVI, 37; Jacopo Sadoleto’s Laocoon)

  9. Week 9: Interpreting Ancient Culture: Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-68) and Aby Warburg (1866-1929) (Set Text: Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Reflections on the Imitation of Greek Works in Painting and Sculpture (excerpt))

  10. Week 10: Discussion around The New Yorker article “The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture” (Set Text:

Class work: Prior to each class, you are expected to do preparatory reading of set texts. You will be required to set aside several hours of your own time to do this, prior to each class. It is essential that you do the preparatory reading before attending the lecture. These set texts are the primary sources you will be examined on and should form the basis of your essay.

***Please note: Handouts provided by the tutor can be used for exam preparation but are by no means exhaustive. Please refer to your own notes on lectures, seminar discussions and and close reading of texts for the exam***

Summer Term

Revision session