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CL 310 : Syllabus
Introduction Objectives Instructor Textbooks Requirements Policies

Odi et amo. I hate and I love. These are the words of Gaius Valerius Catullus, poem 85.

The poem is short, comprising a total of two verses in all; but its impact on Latin poetry is enormous.


The sentiments of love and hate seem directed toward "Lesbia," Catullus' mistress, but by themselves establish an emotional dichotomy for later poets — a framework surrounding almost all subsequent erotic discourse in Rome. In this course we will survey of the poetry of Catullus, cleaving closely to the lines of love and hate.

We will read his verses in their social context (in which issues such as gender and sexuality meet urbanity and erudition), and address the challenges in translating Catullus for 21st century audiences.

We will also explore the dynamics of Latin poetry at work in Catullan verse, from metrics to modeling (both Catullus' models and Catullus as a model for other poets).


Students of CL 310 will

  • explore the genres of Roman elegy and lyric;
  • read Catullus in his cultural and literary context; and
  • engage with advanced Latin syntax and vocabulary.

Furthermore, students will develop critical reading and thinking skills through class discussion, quizzes, and written exercises.


Professor Dan Curley

Office: 212 Filene Hall
Hours: WF 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Phone: x5463


The following books are available in the Skidmore Shop:


Garrison, D.H. The Student's Catullus. 4th ed. Oklahoma, 2012.
Mahoney, Anne (ed.) Allen & Greenough's New Latin Grammar. Focus, 2001.
Wiseman, T.P. Catullus and his World. Cambridge, 1985.


Morwood, J. (ed.) Oxford Latin Desk Dictionary. Oxford, 2005.


Class participation (20%)

Class participation involves more than just attendance. Students must also keep up with the readings and participate actively during all sessions. Students are also expected to come to class on time and to maintain an environment that promotes the exchange of ideas.

Opera (20%)

Most classes will have an opus or assignment apart from our regular Catullus readings. These opera will be one of three kinds: scansion, reports, and discussions of secondary sources.

Quizzes (20%)

Three take-home quizzes will be administered, each at the end of a reading unit. Each quiz will assess students' comprehension of Catullan grammar, syntax, and themes.

Semester project (40%)

In the semester project students will "adopt" a Catullan poem and examine it from several perspectives: translation and grammar, its status in the secondary literature, and its place in the Catullan corpus. Though there will be small assignments along the way, the final outcome of the project is a research paper of substantial length.



Attendance at all sessions is mandatory. You are allowed ONE unexcused absence (due to illness or some other emergency). Other absences must be excused before class; late excuses will not be accepted.

Late arrivals to class will be counted as half an absence, as will leaving the classroom outside a sanctioned break.

Academic integrity

Skidmore's Academic Integrity Handbook (p. 6) defines plagiarism as "copying, paraphrasing, or imitating another person's ideas, information, data, words, descriptions, choice of evidence, structure of argument, and so on." It does not matter whether that person's work appears in print or on the web. Cases of plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional, will be referred to the Office of Academic Advising for appropriate sanctions.

Electronic devices

Unless you require a laptop or tablet as a special accommodation for a DISABILITY (below), laptops and tablets should not be used during class. Likewise, phones should be silenced and stored away.

Note that simply preferring to use a laptop does not constitute acceptable grounds for an accommodation. On days when we discuss articles, you should print them out and bring them to class.

If a laptop or other device is determined to be essential to your learning, you will be asked to fill out and sign an agreement form that defines appropriate in-class use.


If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need academic accommodation, you must formally request accommodation from Meg Hegener, Coordinator for Student Access Services. You will also need to provide documentation that verifies the existence of a disability and supports your request. For further information, please call 580-8150 or stop by the office of Student Academic Services in Starbuck Center.

Trigger warning

The material of Classical Studies, especially the poetry of Catullus, is often violent and/or sexually explicit. Please be prepared for words, images, and discussions that might make you or your peers uncomfortable. If you have concerns about our readings, viewings, or anything else, please bring them to my attention.

Title IX statement

Skidmore College considers sexual and gender-based misconduct to be one of the most serious violations of the values and standards of the College. Unwelcome sexual contact of any form is a violation of students’ personal integrity and their right to a safe environment and therefore violates Skidmore’s values. Sexual and gender-based misconduct is also prohibited by federal regulations.

Skidmore College faculty are committed to supporting our students and upholding gender equity laws as outlined by Title IX. If a student chooses to confide in a member of Skidmore’s faculty or staff regarding an issue of sexual or gender-based misconduct, that faculty or staff member is obligated to tell Skidmore’s Title IX Deputy Coordinator.

The Title IX Deputy Coordinator will assist the student in connecting with all possible resources for support and reporting both on and off campus. Identities and details will be shared only with those who need to know to support the student and to address the situation through the college’s processes. If the student wishes to confide in a confidential resource, The Counseling Center Staff, Health Services, and Victim Advocates are all options available.

More information can be found at https://www.skidmore.edu/sgbm/ or by contacting the Title IX Deputy Coordinator.

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