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Syllabus for
LATN 400 (02): Senior Latin
Satire: Juvenal and Martial

John Porter, instructor

Term 2
Time: TBD
Room: TBD

Registration Notice

This is a small-enrolment class. Students interested in registering should contact me by early November
with their T2 class schedules so that I can work out a suitable set of times for us to meet.

Nature and Purpose of the Course

We will read some of Juvenal's greatest hits (Satires 1, 3, and 10) as well as a selection of epigrams by Martial. Our goal will be to become familiar with the genres of satire and epigram (meter, vocabulary, stylistic features, hermeneutic issues) while at the same time improving our basic facility in Latin and in the use of the aids appropriate to reading Latin at a senior level (lexica, commentaries, grammars).
Weeks 1-12: close reading of the assigned texts with particular attention to matters of syntax, meter, and poetic style.
The final sessions of the course will be led by members of the class, who will apply the skills that they have developed over the term to present a close reading of a passage from Juvenal, a substantial epigram of Martial, or a group of epigrams by Martial on a related theme. (In all, your presentation should address 20-30 lines of Latin text.) Each student will be required to compose a grammatical commentary on their text, with supporting references to Allen and Greenough and other relevant sources, and to lead the class as they work through the translation and analysis of the material. Your commentaries can address other matters (literary, historical, archaeological) but must engage in a thorough manner with the language (syntax, diction, style, meter) of your passage.


To understand our two authors, it is important to have a general sense of the history of the Late Republic and of the rise and development of the imperial system of government over the course of the 1st century AD. Above all, it is important to have some understanding of the reign of the emperor Domitian, who was in power from AD 81-96. For the former, see C. Kelly, The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction [eBook: DG272 .K45 2006eb]. For the latter, see T.P. Wiseman, "Domitian and the Dynamics of Terror in Classical Rome," History Today 46.9 (1996) 19-24.   [EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete]
Although we will read Juvenal first, it is Martial who is the earlier of our two authors. Martial's works (which can be dated to ca. AD 80-104) are virtually coextensive with reign of Domitian, under whom Martial thrived: see the introduction in Watson & Watson, esp. pp. 1-5 and 9-12. It will be interesting to see how life under Domitian is reflected in poems written during his reign, in contrast to the image that emerges in the works of our second author.
Juvenal was a younger contemporary of Martial and belonged to the same generation as the historian Tacitus. The precise date of each of Juvenal's satires is difficult to pin down. We know, however, that the collection was published in five books, over a span of a some 15 years (roughly AD 115 to 130): Book I: Sat. 1-5; Book II: Sat. 6; Book III: Sat. 7-9; Book IV: Sat. 10-12; Book V: Sat. 13-16. Juvenal's works, then, date to the period following Domitian's fall, and reflect something of the greater freedom and optimism of the Roman elite under the emperors Trajan and Hadrian. Like Tacitus and other members of the aristocratic classes, however, Juvenal seems to have been scarred by his experience under Domitian: see my handout of testimonia of Domitian's reign, esp. the excerpts from Tacitus. See, further, pp. 15-16 in Braund's commentary and pp. 1-9 in Courtney's commentary.

Required Text

Recommended Texts

On-Line Material

Recommended Reference Works

Student Assignments

Emphasis will be placed on the precise translation, with grammatical analysis, of the prepared texts, but examinations will include a significant amount of Latin to be translated at sight. Dictionaries and grammars might be permitted in the case of sight passages, but all translations of prepared passages in an examination setting will be done without the use of any external aids.
At the conclusion of the term, each student will select approximately 20-30 lines from one of our two authors (see above) to present to the class. The student will be expected to lead the in-class translation and analysis of those lines and to produce a grammatical commentary, with supporting references to Allen and Greenough and other relevant sources.


In addition to weekly reading assignments and the commentary assignment, there will be a midterm examination and a final examination required this term. Each examination will consist of some combination of:
  1. translation of material read in class, with grammatical commentary
  2. sight translation
  3. scansion
Marks will be assigned according to the following scheme:

Important Notice

Attendance is mandatory: no student with 5 or more unexcused absences will receive a mark of higher than 49% for the course.

Late work will not be accepted.

Unless specific written instructions are provided to the contrary, no outside resources will be permitted in any course examinations.

Lectures may not be recorded without the prior consent of the instructor.

Unless otherwise indicated, course material is to be regarded as the copyrighted property of the instructor and is not to be reproduced or distributed in any form without express written consent.

UofS Academic Courses Policy on Class Delivery, Examinations, and Assessment of Student Learning

Useful Resources on the WWW

The Latin Hexameter   [pdf format]
The Latin Elegiac Couplet   [pdf format]
Other Meters Commonly Employed by Martial  [pdf format]
Poems in Watson & Watson, Martial: Select Epigrams
Iraq's 1979 Fascist Coup, Narrated by Christopher Hitchens
Chilling video of the meeting of the Iraqi Baath Party at which Saddam Hussein cemented his hold on power through the execution of alleged traitors, whose names are read out, one by one, as part of a forced confession by one of the party leaders, with each individual then being led out of the hall to be shot (as it turns out, by those whose names were not read out). Cited by T.P. Wiseman as a parallel for our ancient sources' portrayal of what it was like to serve in the Roman senate under Domitian.
Useful Resources for Students of Classics/CMRS
The name says it all.
Perseus Reference Works
Access to lexica, grammars, a morphological parser, texts, and commentaries.
The Perseus Project
Material related to Perseus, a multi-media library that allows the user to access an immense variety of material relevant to the study of ancient Greece. Numerous images and descriptions of vases, architecture, sites, and coins are available on-line as well as a wide array of texts (in both Greek and English) and philological tools. One of the most extensive and complex sites on the WWW.
    — includes:
On-line Perseus Greek/Latin Texts (most with English translation)
On-Line Lewis and Short Latin Lexicon (entries limited to words that appear in the current selection of Perseus Latin Texts)
Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar
Pdf version with searchable text
On-line edition at Perseus
Pdf version at Textkit
Gildersleeve and Lodge: Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar
Pdf version
Words: Downloadable Latin-English Dictionary
[on-line version]
Textkit: Greek & Latin Learning Tools
An invaluable collection of downloadable Greek and Latin grammars, readers, and other aids, including such classics as Goodwin's Greek Grammar, Smyth's Greek Grammar, Allen & Greenough's New Latin Grammar, North & Hillard's Greek Prose Composition, and North & Hillard's Latin Prose Composition.
LATN 112/113 Resource Sheets (in pdf format)

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Last Modified: Sunday, 28-May-2017 11:57:29 CST
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