Other Mary Ward ServicesLegal Advice Community Services Education Outreach
This course is suitable for anyone with an interest in epic poetry, Greek and Roman myth, or fantastic journeys. It follows on from courses on Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, but knowledge of Homer is not essential.
The course is focused on reading and discussing Virgil's Aeneid. Virgil was consciously making a successor to the Homeric epic poems of Archaic Greece, and we will explore the Roman adaptation of Greek mythology and epic forms. But the poem stands alone in its own right, and we will be immersed in the compelling tale of Aeneas's flight from Troy, as he tells the story of the Wooden Horse and the death of King Priam. We witness his arrival at Carthage and the tragic story of Queen Dido (as memorably rendered in Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas); his discovery of the Golden Bough, bringing him to Cerberus and the terrible creatures encountered in his vivid underworld journey; and the battles which secure his position as ancestor of the Roman Emperors. We will also assess the enduring politcal and literary legacy of the Aeneid myth, as it lends legitimacy to medieval British and Scandinavian rulers, and becomes a poetic example for poets from Dante to Heaney and beyond.
By the end of the course you should be able to:
understand the historical context of the creation of the Aeneid
identify the Greek gods and myths that Virgil used as his model
recall the outline of Aeneas's journey from Troy to Italy
appreciate the enduring influence of Virgil's poem on Western culture
Classes will typically consist of an introduction of the topic and relevant themes by the tutor; close reading of text extracts; tutor-guided class discussion; small group work.
We will assess your expectations of the course in the first session, and we will monitor your progress through class discussion.
Extracts from key passages will be provided, but you may wish to buy a copy of the Aeneid. We will mainly be referring to the translation by Shadi Bartsch (Profile, 2020) but other editions are also welcome.
Other Humanities courses at Mary Ward Centre or elsewhere.
This is an on-line course. Virgil's Aeneid is the epic poem of Imperial Rome, with its roots in the Greek models of Homer's epics. It tells the story of Aeneas, a refugee from the destroyed city of Troy. What can it tell us today about war, migration and national myth-making? This course follows Aeneas as he recounts the Fall of Troy, meets and abandons Dido, Queen of Carthage, crosses to the Underworld on Charon's barge, and finally gives us a foundation myth for Rome with echoes throughout Western literature.
From the London-based tales of Poe, Woolf and Machen, and the Parisian flânerie of Baudelaire, to the 'psychogeography' of contemporary cities, the city has been the site of many poetic or visionary walks. We will read some of the authors who have explored the modern city (including Iain Sinclair, Nick Papadimitriou, Laura Grace Ford, and Esther Kinsky) and share their peculiar discoveries. Is the literary walk an act of re-enchantment of the world? Can it be a political gesture against the privatisation of public space? What makes the simple act of walking so powerful?
This is an on-line course. The Iliad is more than 2,500 years old, and yet it remains startlingly relevant today. It transports us to the final year of the Trojan War, and the catastrophic consequences of an argument between Greek warriors Agamemnon and Achilles. Homer's epic poem still speaks clearly about the horrors of war, but it deals with many other themes besides, such as the impact of war on the women and children who remain at home, and the ever-present role of the gods in archaic society. This course explores the poem in all its complexity, horror and beauty.
See how long it will take you to get to college. Please select the campus of the course you wish to study.