LAT20130 Catullus

Academic Year 2023/2024

In this course students will read the poetry of Catullus, who wrote on erotic, political and mythological themes during the period of the Late Roman Republic. In parallel with a close reading of the texts, the lectures and tutorials will explore the aesthetic qualities of Catullus' use of Latin, and interpret the poems in the context of Roman history of the period. The level of Latin is moderately advanced. PLEASE NOTE that the School of Classics reserves the right to withdraw modules in the period up to and including the first week of the teaching trimester.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
- Translate the set texts.
- Explain the course of the affair between Cicero and Clodius as depicted in the poetry.
- Recognise the main features of Catullus' style.
- Identify the key features of the 'New Poetry'.
- Recount the major political and social events of the period 63-54BC and evaluate the significance or otherwise of these events to the poetry of Catullus.

Indicative Module Content:

This module is language intensive, focused on Latin-to-English translation of unadapted passages of Catullus. Students sbould expect to translate about 350 lines of Latin.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Class time will be devoted to translation of the primary text, with some discussion of points of historical and literary interest along the way. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
LAT20170 - Introduction to Latin Texts

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Project: Collation and comparison of various translations of a poem of Catullus. Students taking the module as part of a research degree programme may be offered an alternative by agreement with the M/C. Week 6 n/a Graded No


Examination: End of semester exam, testing ability to translate passages of Catullus's poetry 1 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Essay: c.2000 word essay. Students taking the module as part of a research degree programme may be offered an alternative to this assignment by agreement with the module co-ordinator. Week 10 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive their mid-term essay back in a one-on-one session to be scheduled shortly after submission.

Course text

K.Quinn, Catullus (Bristol Classical Press, 1996).

Suggested further reading

R.Armstrong, “Journeys and Nostalgia in Catullus.” Classical Journal 109.1 (2013)
A.Burl, Catullus: a poet in the Rome of Julius Caesar (London, 2004).
J.Ferguson, Catullus. Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics 20 (Oxford 1988).
J.Godwin, Catullus: The Shorter Poems (Aris & Phillips, 1999).
R.Jenkyns, Three Classical Poets: Sappho, Catullus, Juvenal (London, 1982).
A.Kolson Hurley, Ancients in Action: Catullus (Bristol, 2004).
R.O.A.M.Lyne, The Latin Love Poets: From Catullus to Horace (Oxford, 1980).
C.H.Martin, Catullus (New Haven, 1992).
L.Morgan, “Escapes from Orthodoxy: Poetry of the Late Republic.” In O.Taplin (ed.) Literature in the Greek and Roman Worlds (Oxford, 2000), pp.336-358. Photocopy available on request.
R.G.M.Nisbet, “The Poets of the Late Republic: Catullus.” In Boardman, Griffin & Murray (eds.) The Oxford History of the Classical World (Oxford, 1986), pp.487-494.
M.C.J.Putnam, Essays on Latin Lyric, Elegy and Epic (Princeton, 1982).
K.Quinn, The Catullan Revolution (Cambridge, 1959; reprinted Bristol, 1999).
K.Quinn, Catullus: an interpretation (London, 1972).
A.L.Wheeler, Catullus and the Tradition of Ancient Poetry (Berkeley, 1934).
T.P.Wiseman, Catullan Questions (Leicester, 1969).
T.P.Wiseman, Catullus and his World: A Reappraisal (Cambridge, 1985).
Name Role
Dr Helen Dixon Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Wed 12:00 - 12:50