Monsters in Roman Literature - CLAS6920

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


This module explores the monsters of Roman culture, mythological and otherwise, treated as a series of self-contained but interrelated topics. Most were inherited from Greece but adapted for new tastes and purposes. Latin poetry in translation is the focus, and Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses are the central texts, but prose sources and the visual arts are included where appropriate, as well as comparisons with earlier Greek sources. Major figures such as the Cyclopes, the Centaurs and Medusa are included, but the definition of the 'monster’ is broad, incorporating (for example) the supposed bodily imperfections of emperors, or the strange features of personified figures such as Hunger and Envy.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 30


Also available under code CL691 (Level 6)

Method of assessment

• Essay 1 (2,500 words) – 40%
• Essay 2 (3,000 words) – 60%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Primary Sources
C. Day Lewis (trans.), Vergil: The Aeneid (Oxford: Oxford UP 1998)
A.D. Melville (trans.), Ovid: Metamorphoses (Oxford: Oxford UP 1998)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module Level 5 students will be able to:

8.1 Critically evaluate and understand how Roman texts represent monsters, and how this reflects their historical and cultural context;
8.2 Outline and understand a wide range of Roman literary forms through the examination of primary and secondary sources;
8.3 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of another culture, whether focused on literature or history.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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