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CL 310 : Syllabus
Introduction Objectives Instructor Textbooks Requirements

Odi et amo. I hate and I love. These are the stark and immortal opening words of Gaius Valerius Catullus, poem 85.

The poem is short , comprising a total of two verses in all;  but its impact on Latin poetry is enormous.


The sentiments of love and hate seem directed toward "Lesbia," Catullus' mistress, but by themselves establish an emotional dichotomy for later poets — a framework surrounding almost all subsequent erotic discourse in Rome. In this course we will survey of the poetry of Catullus, cleaving closely to the lines of love and hate.

We will read his verses in their social context (in which issues such as gender and sexuality meet congeniality and erudition), and address the challenges in translating Catullus for 21st century audiences; we will also explore the dynamics of Latin poetry at work in Catullan verse, from metrics to modelling (both Catullus' models and Catullus as a model for other poets).


Students of CL 310 will

-- explore the genres of Roman elegy and lyric;
-- read Catullus in his cultural and literary context;
-- engage advanced Latin syntax and vocabulary.

Furthermore, students will develop critical reading and thinking skills through class discussion, quizzes, and written exercises.

Professor Dan Curley
Office: 210 Ladd Hall
Hours: MWF 10:00 - 11:00 a.m, and by appointment.
Telephone: 518.580.5463
email: dcurley@skidmore.edu

The following books are available in the Skidmore Shop:


-- Thomson, D. F. S. (ed.)  Catullus.  Toronto, 1997.
-- Mahoney, Anne (ed.)  Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar.  Focus, 2001.
-- Wiseman, T. P.  Catullus and his World.  Cambridge, 1985.


-- Dettmer, H. and L. Osburn.  A Catullus Workbook.  Bolchazy-Carducci, 2006.
-- Oxford Latin Desk Dictionary. Oxford, 2005.


Class participation (20%)

Class participation involves more than just attendance.  Students must also keep up with the readings and participate actively during all sessions.  Students are also expected to come to class on time and to maintain an environment that promotes the exchange of ideas.

Opera (20%)

Every class will have one or two written assignments (an opus or opera) due apart from our regular primary and secondary readings.  These opera will generally be one of three kinds: scansion and meter; student-led discussions of secondary sources; and student-led reports on Roman history and culture.

List of assignments available here.

Quizzes (25%)

Four take-home quizzes wil be administered, one at the end of every reading unit.  Each quiz will assess students' comprehension of Catullan grammar, syntax, and themes.

Quizzes available here.

Semester project (35%)

In the semester project for CL 310 students will adopt a Catullan poem and examine it from several perspectives: translation and grammar, its status in the secondary literature, and its place in the Catullan corpus.  Though there will be small assignments along the way, the final outcome of the project is a 15-20 page research paper.

The project is due Thursday, December 18, by noon (the end of our scheduled final examination period).  Preliminary work on the project is due at regular intervals throughout the term, often on Friday afternoons.

Guidelines, requirements, and schedule here.

© 2010 Skidmore College Classics Department