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LATIN 463 A: Latin Literature of the Empire

Caesar crossing the Rubicon
Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
DEN 257
Stephen Hinds 2021 portrait photo
Stephen E. Hinds

Syllabus Description:

Latin 463:  Latin Literature of the Empire  (SLN 16211)

From Virgil to Lucan:  how epic wars begin

5 credits, VLPA

Winter 2020: T TH 2:30-4:20:  Denny 257 (Meg Greenfield Room)

Stephen Hinds


Aeneas has arrived in Latium in central Italy, but his mission is only at its half-way point:  the start of Aeneid7 marks a new beginning for Virgil’s epic.  War flares up between the newly-arrived Trojans and the local Latins, who are, however, destined to come together as a single people once hostilities are over:  in retrospect, then, a kind of civil war. 

Julius Caesar, an irresistible force of nature, is no longer prepared to share power with Pompey, who, with his best years behind him, is a mere shadow of the great man he once was: such is the set-up of Lucan’s De Bello Civili, unlike the Aeneid an epic grounded in history rather than in myth and legend, but written a good century after the events it describes. Lucan is a young Neronian poet in a hurry:  is the epic genre big enough for him, and how will he confront the Augustan classic that is the Aeneid

We will read substantial portions of Aeneid7 and 8, using the text and commentary of C.J. Fordyce, and will then move on to read substantial portions of Lucan BC1, using the text and commentary of R.J. Getty; both commentaries (paperbacks from Bloomsbury: Bristol Classical Press) will be available for purchase at the University Bookstore.

Note that the department’s Latin/Greek 461-2-3 cycles change every year:  a course like Latin 463 can be taken more than once during your undergraduate career.

This is an upper-level Latin reading class, which presupposes first-year and some second-year college Latin coursework, or equivalent.  Please email the instructor if unsure whether your level of Latin language work is right for this class.  The other option is Latin 306, also offered in Winter Quarter, which is in our second year (intermediate) Latin sequence.


Catalog Description: 
Readings and discussion of selected authors from the Roman Empire.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
November 7, 2019 - 9:11pm