Throughout the semester, small assignments will help to clarify Roman satire as a poetic enterprise. These assignments, or opera (the plural of opus, “task”) are two kinds: scansion drills and discussions of scholarly articles and essays.


On most Wednesdays, students will be assigned passages from our readings to scan — that is, to break down into the metrical units of the dactylic hexameter (and, in the case of Martial, the elegiac couplet).

Links to each passage are given below:  download, print out, and fill in (MS Word format).


Discussing scholarship helps everyone become more informed readers of satire, particularly when considering how scholarly theory has evolved over time. Discussions will be held on select Fridays, as follows:

  • 02.14 : Muecke, Frances. 2005. “Rome’s First ‘Satirists’: Themes and Genre in Ennius and Lucilius.” in Kirk Freudenberg, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Roman Satire, 33–47. Cambridge University Press.
  • 03.06 : Ferriss-Hill, J. L. 2011. “A Stroll with Lucilius. Satires 1.9 Reconsidered.” The American Journal of Philology 132 : 429-455.
  • 03.27 : TBA.
  • 04.10 : TBA.


Everyone will come to class having read the assigned article, essay, or book chapter. Each student will be responsible for submitting a discussion question in advance, formulated in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Generate active discussion by asking questions that elicit interpretation of the scholarship at hand.
  • Keep the questions direct and focused on the text. Long, multi-part questions tend to dull conversation.
  • Prompt comments about the author’s aims and methodology. That is, focus on Why? or How?, rather than What? or Who?
  • Consider asking about something you did not understand, thereby circumventing the assumption you are fishing for specific answers.
  • Have smaller follow-up questions ready in order to extend the conversation.

Email your questions to Prof. Curley by 6:00 p.m. the Thursday before a discussion. A blog post detailing who has submitted a question and which page(s) of the reading the question covers will be updated. Consult the post to be sure you are not duplicating someone else’s question when formulating your own.