CLA 542

Problems in Latin Literature: Thinking with Roman Declamation

Matthew Gregory Leonard Leigh

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This seminar tackles the ancient evidence for an enduring schoolroom exercise that also became a popular form of adult performance art. Engaging with the works of Seneca the Elder and Quintilian, we look at how declamation trained its practitioners in legal thinking; how the texts tackle issues such as rape, adultery, father-son conflict, fratricide, and slavery; and how they address (and often evade) some of the great pressure points in Roman social relations and Latin literature of the period. A crucial feature is the way that declamation can become a vehicle for mediated comment on the politics of the day.

View this course on the Registrar’s website.

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