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    College of William & Mary
  Dec 18, 2017
2017 - 2018 Undergraduate Catalog

LATN 330 - Imperial Latin Literature: The Rhetoric of Cruelty

Spring (3) Panoussi Prerequisite(s): LATN 202   (ALV)

In no other period did the tensions and ambiguities inherent in Roman society manifest themselves more acutely than in the first and early second century C.E., Rome's 'Silver Age.' It was frequently a violent and cruel period in which absolute power could be exercised with a malignancy rarely plied since. Yet this age also produced a literature often marked by profound humanity and by an inventiveness comparable to that of the 'Golden Age' a century before. The goal of this course is to gain some insight into the paradoxes of this period. Reading selections in Latin and sometimes English from authors like, Seneca, Petronius, Lucan, Statius, Pliny the Younger and Tacitus, we will
examine the social and political conditions of writing in this period, and we will consider the degree to which these authors were aware of, and indeed played with, the hierarchies created by literary canons and reflected in epithets like 'golden' and 'silver.'