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CLA2050 - Performing Rome: from comedy to the Colosseum

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Jane Griffiths


Not offered in 2007


This subject will provide students with an introduction to Roman drama and spectacular entertainment. Through an examination of the performance culture of Ancient Rome, it will analyse the creation of Roman cultural identity in Rome and the wider Empire. It will look at the historical context of Roman theatre, its contemporary critical and theatrical reception, and the cultural significance of spectacle. Students will be introduced to a range of specific critical discourses as methodologies for analysing Roman performativity. They will study Roman playwrights and theatre history, the rhetoric of spectacular propaganda and the cultural currency of gladiatorial displays.


  1. a knowledge of the historical and cultural background to the performance culture of ancient Rome
  2. an in-depth knowledge of the prescribed selection of 'authentic' texts, and a context-based understanding of them
  3. a general knowledge and understanding of the themes and issues that are generated in the plays studied
  4. a detailed knowledge and understanding of the reception of Roman drama and spectacle in a cultural, political and didactic context
  5. knowledge of the literary qualities/character of the received (written) text and awareness of issues of translation and textual authority
  6. the ability to discriminate between evidence, interpretation, opinion and fact in secondary sources


Class paper (500 words): 10%;
Research Essay (2500 words): 50%;
Take-home examination (1500 words): 40%

Contact hours

1 x 1 hour lecture and 1x 1.5 hour tutorial