WF 10:10 – 12:00
207 Ladd Hall

Roman satire was so unlike other Greek-inspired genres and so unique to Rome, that it was possible to claim satura quidem tota nostra est (“Satire, at least, is wholly ours”; Quintilian 10.1.93).

Our seminar will explore satire from the Roman republic to the early empire, taking account of its form, content, aims, and scope. Our primary authors will be Horace (65–8 BCE) and Juvenal (1st–2nd c. CE), with a little Martial (ca. 40–ca. 100 CE) — whose works are not satire, but are satiric — thrown in for good measure.

We will also consider the legacy of satire in modernity, how the spirit of this uniquely Roman genre survived centuries after its city of origin had crumbled.

Counts toward the Classics Major.
Counts toward the all-College Language Requirement.


Students in this course will

  • Read satire in its cultural and literary context.
  • Explore the form and meters of satiric poetry.
  • Become familiar with scholarship on satire.
  • Review advanced Latin syntax and vocabulary.

Furthermore, students will develop critical reading and thinking skills through class discussion, quizzes, and a semester project.


Professor Dan Curley — Classics
212 Filene Hall
TuTh 9:30 – 10:30, and by appointment



  • Gowers, E. (ed.) Horace: Satires Book I. Cambridge.
  • Courtney, E. and N. Rudd (ed.) Juvenal: Satires I, III, X. Bristol. 2nd Edition.
  • Watson L. and P. Watson (ed.) Martial: Selected Epigrams. Cambridge.


  • Mahoney, A. (ed.) 2001. Allen & Greenough’s New Latin Grammar. Focus.
  • Morwood, J. (ed.) Oxford Latin Desk Dictionary. Oxford.


  • 40 % 20 % . . . . . . . . . . Participation
  • 20 % . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Opera
  • 20 % . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Quizzes (2 required, 1 bonus)
  • 20 % 40 % . . . . . . . . . . Semester project

Participation — see below under “Policies & Guidelines”


Most classes will have an opus or assignment apart from our regular satire readings. These opera will be one of two kinds: hexameter scansion or student-led discussions of secondary sources.


A take-home quiz will be administered at the end of reading units one and two. Both quizzes will assess students’ comprehension of grammar, syntax, and themes from our authors.

Semester project

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



Taking notes while you are preparing for class is highly recommended, since notations help you not only to recall the material, but also to develop your thoughts about it. Similarly, taking notes during class both signals engaged participation and directly ensures your development as a thinker and writer.

All readings and assignments are listed on our Blog.


You are allowed two absences with no questions asked. For each subsequent absence, your final grade will drop one-third of a letter grade. Excessive absences may result in failure of the course. Repeated lateness will also be construed as absence, such that being late or leaving class three times is the same as being absent once, so please come to class on time and stay for the duration.


Exemplary participation might involve

  • Asking a specific question or making a specific comment about the reading.
  • Building upon something that another person has already said.
  • Making a specific comment about what you find useful or interesting about another person’s point.
  • Asking a question or making a comment that encourages another person to elaborate upon their point.
  • Making a comment that connects two points or two strands of our conversation.
  • Disagreeing with what someone has said in a respectful and constructive manner.

Alternatively, poor participation might involve

  • Listening inattentively.
  • Repeating a point that someone else has made without adding anything new.
  • Interrupting another person or speaking while someone else is talking.
  • Making an off-topic comment.
  • Using inappropriate language or speaking in a disrespectful or combative manner.

Laptops, Tablets & Phones

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 the session and be counted absent.

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.

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.


Any student who anticipates facing obstacles to their success in this course should seek assistance from the appropriate offices on campus and, where appropriate, from the instructors. If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need academic accommodation, you need to formally request accommodation from Meg Hegener, Coordinator of Disability and Accessibility Services. You will also need to provide documentation which verifies the existence of a disability and supports your request.

Sexual & Gender-based Misconduct

Any student who experiences sexual or gender-based misconduct should know that there are several resources on campus for ensuring their safety and security. Faculty and staff members are mandatory reporters, meaning that we are obligated to report instances of sexual or gender-based misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, who will assist the student in finding all possible resources for support both on and off campus. In those instances, 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 you prefer a confidential source, the staff of Skidmore’s Counseling Center, Health Services, and Victim Advocates are available (key contact information here). 

Racism & Discrimination

Any student who experiences racism or another form of discrimination and bias should contact Cerri Banks, Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs, for support or file a bias incident report. Furthermore, any student who has difficulty meeting their basic needs — including but not limited to affording groceries or finding safe and secure housing — should also contact Dean Banks for support. Where appropriate, and to the extent that you feel comfortable doing so, please also inform your instructors of the situation respond accordingly or offer assistance.

Content Advisory

The material of earlier periods 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 the attention of your instructors.