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Syllabus

Study materials for term 1

The course textbook is Maria Wyke’s Projecting the Past (Routledge, 1997), available cheaply in paperback. You might also want a copy of Jon Solomon’s entertaining and informative The Ancient World in the Cinema (Yale, revised edition 2001), again available in paperback.

You will study three required films in semester 1, as follows:

  1. Ben-Hur (1959)
  2. Spartacus (1960)
  3. Cleopatra (1963)

You should also aim to study at least one of the following additional films:

  1. Cleopatra (1936)
  2. Roman Scandals (1933)
  3. Quo Vadis (1951)

You are advised to acquire your own copies of the three required films. Copies will usually be available from the course convenor on short-term loan, but availability cannot be guaranteed.

Term 1 outline

  1. no class
  2. introduction to Classical Hollywood style and Ben-Hur
  3. Ben-Hur: inventing the past, commenting on the present
  4. Ben-Hur: selling history + Spartacus: introduction
  5. Ben-Hur seminar + Spartacus and politics
  6. reading week: no lectures
  7. Spartacus: the body, gender and ethnicity
  8. Spartacus seminar + introduction to Depression Hollywood
  9. Depression Hollywood 2 + Cleopatra: introduction
  10. Cleopatra: spectacle and excess + Cleopatra seminar

Study materials for term 2

You will study three required films in term 2, as follows:

  1. Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
  2. Fellini Satyricon (1969)
  3. Alexander the Great (1955)

You should additionally aim to study at least one of the following:

  1. Your choice of two ‘ancient world’ websites.
  2. One or more receptions of Greece and Rome in other media, e.g magazines, comics, genre fiction (your choice).

Term 2 outline

wk.1 Recap + introduction to Fall of the Roman Empire.
wk.2 Fall of the Roman Empire contd + introduction to Fellini Satyricon.
wk.3 Fellini Satyricon contd. + seminar (fall of the Hollywood epic).
wk.4 New Romes for old: Gladiator + Rome on TV and DVD.
wk.5 Introduction to Greece on film + seminar (remaking Hollywood’s Rome).
wk.6 (no lectures; reading week)
wk.7 Introduction to Alexander the Great.
wk.8 Alexander the Great contd. + seminar (Wars of the Successors).
wk.9 Subcultural Greece: science fiction and comics.
wk.10 Greece and Rome Online + wrap-up.