nl en

Seminar Latin: Text and Author


Admission requirements

This course is open to MA and research MA students in Classics and Ancient Civilizations (specialization Classics).


Reading a poem, we can presume it to be a mirror of the author’s character and thereby make him responsible for what he has written, or we can maintain that his real life and opinions are entirely different from what is presented in the text. But these are, of course, two extreme – and highly problematic – ways of defining the relationship between an author and his text. And both do raise a host of questions: Who exactly are the ‘authors’ of a text – the author, the text itself, the Muses? And even if there was an author’s ‘intention’: is it at all possible to keep control over the text, or is a text – as well as its readers’ reactions – beyond the author’s control?

The relationship between the author, his text and his readers has much been discussed in theoretical reflections on poetry. But poetry, too, has always been reflecting on it. In the seminar we will concentrate on Roman authors, such as Catullus, Vergil, Horace, Ovid, Martial and Juvenal, and the theoretical implications as they are inherent in their poetry.

Course objectives

  • Research skills: independent formulation of a complex research question, collecting materials (both primary texts and results of earlier research). Analyzing results, constructing arguments, formulating conclusions;

  • Critical assessment of secondary literature;

  • Oral presentation: presenting clearly and making effective use of hand-outs, illustrations and/or multi-media techniques;

  • In case of 10 EC, a written presentation: setting out research results effectively, clearly and in a well-structured manner.


See timetables Classics and Ancient Civilisations

Mode of instruction

Seminar and independent research

Assessment method

When taken for 5 EC:

  • Preparation and active participation in class (40%);

  • Presentation (60%).

When taken for 10 EC:

  • Preparation and active participation in class (40%);

  • Presentation (30%);

  • Paper (8-10 pp, 30%).


In this course we make use of Blackboard.

Reading list

F. Jannidis et al (eds.), Texte zur Theorie der Autorschaft (Stuttgart 2009)

Secondary literature will be made available through the University Library, as for example:
Fuhrmann, M., Die Dichtungstheorie der Antike, second edition (Darmstadt 1992)


Via uSis


Mw. Prof. Dr. A.B. Wessels