Latin 228 and 409, "Vergil's Aeneid"
University of Pennsylvania
NB: Under construction! (last modified 8/24/95)
This course will survey the main interpretive issues surrounding Vergil's
Aeneid and will introduce students to basic research
techniques. A notable feature of the course will be participation of both
undergraduates and graduate students at Penn, and of people with an even
wider range of experience via an Internet discussion list and a newly
established World Wide Web site.
Goals of the Course
- To acquaint students with the text of the Aeneid and
with the critical discourse that has grown up around the poem since
- To introduce students to the Verglian community defined in the broadest
- To enlist the students' enthusiasm for research as both an individual
and a collaborative enterprise;
- To create resources that will serve students and teachers of Vergil at
all levels and in all disciplines;
- To engage as many participants from as many different backgrounds as
possible and to address their needs and enlist their contributions at
the appropriate levels.
Structure of the Course
The course will have three equally important components:
weekly class meetings, an
Intenet discussion list, and a
collaborative research project.
Weekly Class Meetings
Class will normally meet from 3:00 to 4:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays in
Williams 723. Occasionally one of the weekly meetings will be cancelled
in favor of a special event. For each meeting a specific assignment will be required of the entire
class; individuals will from time to time be given additional assignments.
Internet Discussion List
A discussion list will be coordinated with the weekly class meetings.
Participation in this list is required of anyone taking the class for
credit, and is open to anyone who is interested. You can sign up for the
list my sending the message "subscribe vergil-list" to
firstname.lastname@example.org (leaving the subject line blank). List
participants are not required to duplicate what will be done in class at
Penn, but the list will follow the same weekly structure as the class,
and will receive regular reports on the class meetings. I expect the
discussion list to be somewhat wider-ranging than the in-class
discussions; but I also expect participants to remember that it is a
course discussion list, not a free-foor-all. The list will end
with the course, but contributions
will be continuously archived on
the CCAT gopher,
where you will be able to consult them along with other course materials
Collaborative Research Project
Everyone taking the course for credit will be assigned a research project
appropriate to his or her level of expertise, and auditors are more than
welcome to take something on as well. The emphasis in these projects will
be on collaboration and practicality: Instead of going off to write
individual term-papers, students will be assigned to groups charged with
creating research tools that will be mounted on the CCAT gopher or the
new WWW site mentoned above. The nature of this cite is described in
general on the home page of The Vergil
Project, and some of results so far can be found via the links at
the end of that page.
Anyone taking part in this course should own or have ready access to each of
I have ordered the following books through the University Book Store:
- A text of Vergil's works, preferably one with an apparatus criticus;
- A text of Vergil's works in English translation;
- A selection of commentaries on the Aeneid.
- A research library containing a good selection of journals and
I have also assembled a bulk-pack of shorter secondary readings. It is
available at Wharton Reprographics. The readings are listed in the Weekly Assignments section of this syllabus.
- critical text: Mynors' OCT;
- translations of the Eclogues by Lee, of the
Georgics by Wilkinson (both published by Penguin), and of
the Aeneid by Fitzgerald.
None of the specific texts listed here is "required". If for any reason you
prefer to use a substitute, you are welcome to do so. Any significant
differences in how editors, translators, and commentators treat the poetry
will simply become grist for our mill. Obviously we do not have the same
flexibility when it comes to secondary works, but you can use them in a
library if you do not wish to buy them.
We are beginning to see a variety of resources for
Vergilians on WWW. Links to some of these have been collected on a new site
created and maintained by The Vergil
Weekly Schedule and Assignments
We will in general be covering a book of the Aeneid per
week. Graduate students in particular are encouraged to read as much of
the poem as they can in Latin. Class meetings will focus on specific
passages from the book of the week, and everyone will be expected to have
read these passages with great care. Summaries of the secondary readings
will be prepared by class members and posted to the discussion list three
days in advance of each class meeting. Summaries of each class meeting
will be prepared by class members and posted by midnight the day of the
meeting. The full schedule is available on another page.
From time to time the regular schedule of class meetings will be
interrupted by special events. Some of these will take place at Penn,
others on the Internet.
Liveware Events in Philadelphia and Environs
Two events are planned:
- Early in the semester the class will meet with students from area
schools. The purpose of the meeting will be partly social, and partly to
provide us with an opportunity to coordinate our work on The Vergil
Project. No date has yet been made: watch Updates
below and the course discussion list.
During the week of November 6 the class will meet in a joint session with
Professor Ann Kuttner's class on "Greek Art and Architecture" (AHIS 220
and 620/AAMW620). Our subject will be Aeneid 8 in the
context of material and visual culture. Again watch Updates below and the course discussion list for
The Virtual Classroom
Again, two events are currently planned:
- On Wednesday, September 27 the class will meet on-line in a MOO
environment. Our guest will be Professor Ralph Hexter of the Deprtments
of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Colorado.
Professor Hexter will answer questions about his article on Book 2 of the
Aeneid, which is part of the assigned reading for the week.
Members of the discussion list are encouraged to attend this class. A
transcript of the sesson will be made available in raw
- On Wednesday, November 29 we will have a second MOO session. Our
guest will be Professor Denis Feeney of the Department of Classics at the
University of Wisconsin. Professor Feeney will discuss his chapter on
Vergil in his book The Gods in Epic and his article "History
and Revelation in Vergil's Underworld." Again, members of the discussion
list are encouraged to attend. A transcript of the session will be
archived on the CCAT gopher in raw
Check this space for alterations or corrections of the information
contained in this syllabus. Changes will be announced both here and on
the discussion list.
Meeting with Local Latin Classes This will now probably take
place early next semester. Students from the class will obviously not be
required to take part, but it will probably be a festive occasion,
and enjoyable for all who do come. Watch this space for details.
Lecture on Aeneid 8
On Friday, Oct. 26, Professor Russell Scott will speak on the
shield-ecphrasis in Aeneid 8. The lecture will be in the
Goodhart Music Room at Bryn Mawr College at 4:30 pm. This event is
sponsored by the Bryn Mawr Claassics Colloquium and is not formally
connected with the course, but it should be of great interest to all of us.
Joint Class on Literature and the Visual Arts
On Saturday, Nov. 11, the joint meeting between this class and Ann
class on "Greek Art and Architecture" will take place from 1 to 4 pm in
Jaffe Hall. The meeting will feature presentations by students from both
classes and by Professors Kuttner and Farrell. Watch this space for
New Materials on the Web
Dyson, "Septima Aestas": On the Puzzle of Aeneid 1.755-6 and 5.626
Commentaries (on Aeneid 1)
Two are available: Servius
and Conington-Nettleship-Haverfield. Both are under construction, but should be useful even in their current condition.
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