• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Classics
  • Areas of interest Classics and Ancient History, History, Philosophy

All of us mortal humans, unfortunately, are subject to the universal challenges of life: pain, distress, sickness, heartache, break-ups, natural disasters, financial loss, and our ageing bodies. Improvements in ‘quality of life’ over the centuries have eliminated some of these problems, and reduced others, but in the process perhaps left us less equipped to cope with the difficulties we still must face. Luckily, wisdom can be found in the peoples of the ancient Mediterranean, who had a particularly rich repertoire for expressing some of these universal human problems through the arts and literature. But they also had singular ways of processing them through philosophical reframing. This course will study a suite of these universal human ‘problems’ such as death, illness, anguish and love, and will engage students in the material and literary evidence that demonstrates how the peoples of ancient Greece and Rome confronted problems with the help of various artistic and aesthetic processing modes: from the consolations of literature and inscriptions, to the mythic therapies of funerary art, to the cathartic qualities of music and drama. Through learning how ancient societies practiced communal self-care, students will be encouraged to connect old wisdom to their own lives – but also to use the strangeness of antiquity to defamiliarize themselves.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. engage critically with the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, especially their literature and material culture;
  2. become familiar with and analyse various modes and methods in which the hard problems of life in ancient Greece and Rome were expressed and processed;
  3. analyse and evaluate a range of ancient sources related to issues such as pain, distress, sickness, disaster, financial hardship, and old age;
  4. formulate logical arguments based on ancient evidence, and compare and contrast this evidence with contemporary experience; and
  5. engage and evaluate scholarly arguments and theories about the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Source analysis (1000 words) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Seminar presentations (10-15 minutes) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Independent research exercise (3000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Participatory exercise (10 minutes) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  5. Class participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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Workload

130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact: 12 hours of lectures and 24 hours of seminars.

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed a minimum of 12 units of ANCH, CLAS, GREK, LATN, or HIST courses.

Prescribed Texts

Not required. List of readings to be made available through the library and/or on Wattle. 

Fees

Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
1
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8537 27 Jul 2026 03 Aug 2026 31 Aug 2026 30 Oct 2026 In Person N/A

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