Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module CLAS42930: Juvenal's <i>Satires</i> in Context

Department: Classics and Ancient History

CLAS42930: Juvenal's <i>Satires</i> in Context

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap


  • Completion of undergraduate degree; good knowledge of Latin and familiarity with more difficult Latin texts


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • In accordance with the general aims of the MA in Classics, to promote self-motivated and self-directed research in the field of ancient satire (and related genres) for students who have received appropriate grounding in their undergraduate studies.


  • This graduate seminar comprises one introductory meeting and eight sessions (two hours each).
  • It aims at a thorough reading (in the original Latin) and discussion of Juvenal’s <i>Satires</i>. Apart from an analysis of the stylistic and literary characteristics of his work, the focus will be on the political and social functions of Roman satire. Other satirists, in particular Lucilius and Horace, as well as literary genres such as epigram, invective and comedy will also be taken into account .
  • By the end of the course, students will be able to put forward a differentiated interpretation of Juvenal’s <i>Satires</i> based upon knowledge of the primary texts (studied in the original Latin), secondary literature and arguments presented in the course.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • The seminars deal with major issues of interpretation in the study of Juvenal’s <i>Satires</i>. By the end of the course, students should have acquired a close familiarity with some important and representative works of Roman satire as well as a general understanding of the preconceptions and theories with which modern literary critics approach their subject.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will develop skills in literary analysis relevant to the handling of Juvenal’s <i>Satires</i> and related genres (in particular texts written by other Roman satirists, but also epigram, invective and comedy). They will also gain experience of a range of modern theoretical approaches to the interpretation of these texts.
Key Skills:
  • The interpretative and analytical skills required by this module are transferable to any field which requires detailed engagement with literary materials and the assimilation, assessment, structuring and presentation of heterogeneous data. Successful students will develop an insight into various methods and categories of induction, and sensitivity to the effect of differing forms of verbal expression. This module also requires the effective use of library resources as well as good oral and written presentation skills.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching will be by seminar, with most sessions focusing on the translation and analysis of individual texts. In addition there will be student presentations on specific topics. This will ensure that individuals engage in independent research and thought on the topics for which they undertake the presentation, as well as gaining practice in articulating their conclusions.
  • The seminars are two hours in length so as to permit detailed discussion of the topic, with an onus on all to engage with the texts under discussion, assess the coherence of the interpretation, and encourage critical reflection.
  • Summative assessment will be by one written essay of c. 4,000 words (85 %) and one oral presentation of c. 20-30 minutes (15%).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 8 Fortnightly 2 hours 16
Preparation and reading 284
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 85%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 4,000 words 100%
Component: Oral presentation Component Weighting: 15%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Oral presentation (incl. handout) 20-30 minutes 100%

Formative Assessment:

A critical review of a scholarly article (published in the past 40 years) and/or a shorter essay (max. 2,000 words).

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University