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coursework

*Term 1 deadline: 12 noon on Monday 4th December* (scroll down for term 2 coursework)

Term 1 essay questions: choose one from the following

1) Did the Romans learn how to laugh?

2) To what extent would it be simplistic to draw sharp contrasts between the joking cultures of Greece and Rome?

3) Discuss the (lack of) distinction between those who laugh and those who get laughed at in one or more Latin texts you have studied.

4) Explore the problems and issues involved in our modern attempts to ‘access’ Roman humour.

5) ‘The Eunuchus is one of Terence’s most adventurous pieces of writing, not just because it offends against comic convention, but more particularly because it does so by half-jokingly, half-seriously entangling the play with tragedy.’ (Sharrock). Discuss this statement.

6) Are eunuchs inherently funny? Make Terence’s Eunuch the focus of your response.

7) Is Terence’s Eunuch a good testcase for the incongruity theory of humour?

8) ‘Marcus Tullius Cicero – funster, punster, jokester’: to what extent does this sloganising modern assessment help us to understand the cultural specificity of Roman Republican oratory?

See Assessment tab for guidelines, and Bibliography tab for suggested reading. It is up to you to select appropriate primary texts and scholarship, but if you need guidance please ask the module tutor. As a general rule, in researching your essay topic, you should be reading (at least sections of) 3-4 books and consulting 4-5 articles or chapters. Feel free to stray beyond the recommended reading, but make sure you do not neglect the reading lists provided, and make sure you are not only reading introductions to or surveys of the topic or text. Also please ask for guidance if you are unsure about your approach to an essay question,or have questions about study or presentation skills (e.g. using the library, electronic resources, note taking, writing footnotes, compiling bibliographies).

Term 2 essay questions (1800-2000 words): choose one from the following

Term 2 coursework deadline Monday 5th March 2018, 12 noon.

1) How does the symbiosis of satire and stoic philosophy in Seneca Epistle 56 provoke, challenge and entertain its Roman readers?

2) Compare and contrast the comic potential of bathhouse/Naples tunnel in Seneca Epistles 56 and 57.

3) Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis is a satire on citation: discuss

4) How does analysis of Suetonius’ and Tacitus’ representations of Claudius help us to interpret and understand Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis?

5) How important is it to decide whether the Apocolocyntosis was written specifically for the Saturnalia of 54?

6) To what extent, and in what ways, is Trimalchio ridiculus? Analyse the relationship between tyranny and comic performance in Satyricon 48-65.

7) To what extent does comic effect depend on the juxtaposition and interaction of poems in Martial Epigrams Book 1?

8) Analyse the function and impact of the prologue to Martial Epigrams 1. In what ways does it direct or misdirect our readings of the poems that follow?

9) ‘It is through their bodies, each possessing its own peculiar set of strengths and inadequacies, that the poets of Roman satire configure their satiric principles’ (Barchiesi and Cucchiarelli). How might this apply to Juvenal?

Term 2 practical criticism questions for those taking the module with Latin texts (1800-2000 words): choose one passage. Please consult advice on the module webpages under the ‘practical criticism’ tab.

1) Terence, Eunuchus 597-613: analyse this culminating section of dialogue, paying close attention to poetics, the development of key themes, and the production of comic effect.

2) Analyse the interaction between philosophy and comedy in either Seneca Ep.56.2-3
or Seneca Ep.56.12-15, paying close attention to poetics and context.

3) Develop a close interpretation of one of the following passages, paying close attention to poetics, voice, and to the multiple layers of potential comic effect catalysed by intertextuality: Seneca Apocolocyntosis 3-4; Seneca Apocolocyntosis 10.

Suggested blog post topics (800-1000 words).


Note you may if you wish choose your own topic, but must discuss this with the lecturer. You should develop your own title for your blog, even if you take up one of the topics or ideas listed below. We will devote an hour of week 5’s lecture session to this.

The Roman Smile
Roman stand-up
The laughing philosopher
A book review (e.g. of Mary Beard’s Laughter in Ancient Rome, or Antony Corbeill’s Controlling Laughter)
The vocabulary of Roman humour: a dead language?
Topsy-turvy Saturnalian wit
The Roman joke book
Giggling and guffawing: the performance of gender in Roman humour
Grotesque bodies in Roman Laughter
Lapping it up: the philosophy and comedy of food
Performing Roman humour
The Stoic poker face
Laughing with/at Roman emperors
Monkey business: Roman laughter and the animal
Daring to laugh in Rome
Laughter and looking in Latin literature
The Freudian slip, in Latin
Roman punchlines
Crossing boundaries in Roman laughter