GRC20100 Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Transformation of Myth

Academic Year 2016/2017

In this module we will read Ovid's great epic poem the Metamorphoses in its context of Augustan Rome. We will look at how Ovid creatively adapts and refigures already-existing stories in innovative fashion, and we will see how those stories are in turn adapted and represented in post-classical literature and art. We will concentrate on three particular myth cycles: the Creation and the ascent of man (Metamorphoses 1), the Cadmus cycle (Metamorphoses 3-4), and the origins and rise of the Roman people (Metamorphoses 12-15).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the major myths of the Metamorphoses, and the ways in which Ovid adapts already-existing epic and mythic traditions.
- Evaluate the significance of these myths within the political and cultural atmosphere of Rome in the age of Augustus.
- Research and analyse examples of ways in which these same myths are re-presented in post-classical literature and art.
- Explore the role of myth as a 'socially useful story' which comments on and attempts to explain features of the society within which it is told.
- Debate key questions about the text in tutorials, and modify their judgement based on the arguments advanced by their peers and the secondary literature.
- Recognise the processes of effective story-telling
- Analyse the literary techniques by which Ovid narrates effectively.
- Evaluate the success or otherwise of Ovid's appropriation of material from his epic predecessors.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning








Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Ovid's Metamorphoses (GRC2007E)

Description % of Final Grade Timing
Examination: 2 hour examination


2 hour End of Trimester Exam
Essay: 2000 word essay


Week 11
Project: Short preliminary assignment


Week 5


This module is not passable by compensation

Resit Opportunities

In-semester assessment


Remediation will be offered in the following semester by way of a take-home assignment. The exact form of the remediation exercise will be tailored to students' specific circumstances, so students who intend to remediate should contact the module co-ordinator directly as early as possible.