Academic year
2019/2020 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FT0288 (AF:312713 AR:169120)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Surnames A-L
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
1st Term
Course year
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The class, which is among the mandatory classes of the Cultural Heritage curriculum, aims at illustrating some of the main topics related to Greek culture and literature from the archaic down to the imperial age, with a special focus on the archaic and classical period, on the genesis and transmission of myth and poetry, on the social and historical contexts of the literary production, on the relations between Greece and other worlds, chiefly the Near East and Rome.
Hints will also be given towards a first approach to the reception of Classical texts in the medieval, modern and contemporary world.

No direct reading of ancient works will be required, although some of them will be quoted or commented on during the course. The main goal of the class is to promote an interest, to stimulate students to read Classical texts on their own, and to enable them to situate them in the appropriate chronological and historical frame, as well as to appreciate their meaning and importance in present-day civilisation.
Knowledge and comprehension
- know the main issues of literary communication in the archaic and Classical age of Greece
- know the main Greek myths
- know the main itineraries of the relationship between Greek culture and the surrounding ones
- know the main genres of poetry and prose
- know the most significant moments of reception of Greek culture in Western art and literature.
Skills to apply knowledge and comprehension
- be able to situate correctly ancient authors and literary phenomena in both time and space
- be able to recognise some myths and their multiple versions
- be able to discuss about the contact between the Greek and the Near Eastern world, with all the historical implications
- be able to trace back the genres of poetry and prose in our literatures to their ancient prototypes
- be able to recognise and quote some important moments of the Nachleben of ancient art and literature
Judgment skills
- be able to recognise the historical depth of a concept, a myth, or an element of the Western cultural heritage
- be able to judge more profoundly the roots of Western culture
Communication skills
- be able to write short texts reelaborating the notions about important and long-standing phenomena in a personal perspective
Learning skills
- be able to blend the notions acquired during frontal lessons (also with the help of images) with the appropriate study of handbooks.
No knowledge of Greek (or Latin) language is required.
Students enrolled in the curriculum of Classical Studies are required to attend not this course, but rather the classes of Greek Literature (with knowledge of the Greek language).
The course will have a common background, and two main areas of interest.
On the one hand, a chronological approach designed to put the Greek literature and spirit into the proper perspective, following a revised version of the evolutionary model put forth by Bruno Snell. The narrative will thus reach from the Homeric poems to the Athenian polis (tragedy, comedy, oratory), then more succinctly down to the Hellenistic and imperial age, in their manifold relationship with the Roman world.

In this context, some hints will be given towards a closer definition of the context of literary production, from the oral transmission of the epic poems down to the sympotic destination of archaic lyric, from the public dimension of the 5th-century genres down to the bookish world of the Alexandrian age, and to the new perspectives of the Imperial Age. Furthermore, we shall deal briefly with some concrete examples of myths (e. g. Ulixes, Agamemnon, Prometheus, Oedipus, Antigone, Medea), highlighting the forms of their ancient tradition and, if possible, the paths of their modern critical and literary Nachleben.
For students attending the course:

A1) A. Beltrametti, La letteratura greca, Roma, Carocci 2005.

A2) S. Said, Introduzione alla mitologia greca, Roma, Editori Riuniti 2012.

For students not attending the course:

B1) W. Burkert, "Tratti orientalizzanti in Omero", in Id., Da Omero ai Magi, Marsilio 1999, 3-34.?

B2) A. Ercolani, "I poemi omerici e i secoli bui", e "Mito e cultura orale", in Id., Omero, Roma 2006, 53-81.

B3) E. Cingano, "La tragedia in Grecia", in G. Guastella (a c. di), Le rinascite della tragedia. Origini classiche e tradizioni europee, Roma, Carocci 2006, 31-84.

B4) L. E. Rossi, "Lo spettacolo", in S. Settis (a c. di), I Greci, II.2, Torino 1997, 751-791.

B5) B. Gentili, "Modi e forme della comunicazione", in Id., Poesia e pubblico nella Grecia antica, Roma-Bari, Laterza 1995, 42-68.

Recommended not mandatory reading:
S. Settis, Il futuro del classico, Torino, Einaudi 2004.
The exam (75 min.) will consist of a written test with:
- 2 open questions requiring a long answer, amongst which the candidate will choose 1
- 5 open questions requiring a more synthetic answer, amongst which the candidate will choose 4.

There will be no automatic calculation of the final mark, but "long" questions will of course have a different weight from "short" questions. It is possible (though by no means easy) to pass the exam without answering all the questions required: much depends from the quality of the answers.
The questions will assess the student's familiarity with the main phenomena of the literary and cultural history of the Greek world in the archaic and Classical age, as well as his/her ability to rework critically these notions in an original discourse.

This typology of exam will stand both for students needing 6 cfu only, and for students seeking (for whatever reason) 12 cfu (exam code: FT0288): the latter will pass this exam (sessions: late October, January, May, early September), and then (in the session of their choice: January 1, January 2, May, September) another partial exam on the second part of the course (Introduction to classical culture II).
Frontal teaching; illustrative images will be projected during the course.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 27/03/2019