Literature of the Roman Empire
In this course we will investigate the literature, culture, and history of the Roman Empire, focusing on how Romans sought, often at the cost of their own lives, to define the role and powers of the emperor and their place as subjects to this new, autocratic power. Texts we will read include: epic (Lucan), tragedy (Seneca), history (Tacitus), biography (Suetonius), prose fiction (Petronius), as well as early Christian literature. As we read we will seek to answer questions about the nature of freedom and empire, what is gained and lost by replacing a republican with an autocratic political system, and whether literature in this period can offer an accurate reflection of reality, function as an instrument of change and protest, or of fearful praise and flattery. 3 hrs lect. 1 hr. disc.