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CL 310 : Syllabus
Intro Goals Instructor Texts Grading Policies

With the completion of the Aeneid in 19 BCE, it seemed that the genre of epic had found its fullest expression in Roman poetry.

Or had it? Less than twenty years later, Publius Ovidius Naso began work on an epic poem to rival Vergil's masterpiece in scope and scale.

Published between 2 and 8 CE, the Metamorphoses was the second great epic of Imperial Rome. Ostensibly a collection of supernatural transformations, the poem not only placed the genre of epic on new footing but also became required reading for later generations of students, writers, artists, and musicians.

This course will survey the Metamorphoses in an effort to understand epic as reinvented by Ovid, and its legacy in the modern imaginary. Issues as diverse as violence, imperialism, gender, desire, spectacle, and narrative will guide the survey, and bridge the gulf between the first and the twenty-first centuries.


Students of CL 310 will

  • read Ovid in his cultural and literary context;
  • explore the form and meter of epic poetry; and
  • review 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: MF 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Telephone: 518.580.5463
email: dcurley@skidmore.edu

The following books are available in the Skidmore Shop:


  • Anderson, W. S. (ed.) 1997. Metamorphoses Bks. 1-5. Oklahoma.
  • Anderson, W. S. (ed.) 1972. Metamorphoses Bks. 6-10.Oklahoma.
  • Lewis, C. T. (ed.) 2000. Elementary Latin Dictionary. Oxford.


  • Mahoney, A. (ed.) 2001. Allen & Greenough's New Latin Grammar. Focus.

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%)

Many classes will have an assignment or opus (pl. opera) apart from our regular Ovid readings: hexameter scansion or student-led 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 Ovidian grammar, syntax, and themes.

Semester project (40%)

For the semester project, students will write a research paper on Ovid's influence on the modern imagination. The particulars are open to negotiation, but successful projects will explore how an episode of the Metamorphoses has been transformed by later authors or artists.



Attendance at all sessions is mandatory. Absences due to illness or some other emergency must be excused before class. Late excuses will not be accepted.

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.


Unless required as an accommodation (such as for a disability), laptops and tablets should not be used during class.

Likewise, phones must be silenced and stored away. If using a phone during class, you might be asked to leave.

If a laptop or other device is determined to be essential (not just desirable) for 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 518.580.8150 or stop by the office of Student Academic Services in Starbuck Center.

Trigger warning

The material of classical studies 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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