Venus and Cupids, from the Peristyle of the House of Venus, Pompeii
for Friday (Dan and Alec)
Comparing Translations: close reading of Sappho 31 and Catullus 51.
How does Catullus transform Sappho's poem? Who becomes the focus?
From whose point of view do we hear the poem? How does the relationship
among participants change?
Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence (Liz and Hannah)
Rich, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence," in
Blood, Bread, and Poetry (on reserve)
How does Rich define compulsory heterosexuality? To what extent do we
see compulsory hetrosexuality in Catullus, Ovid, and Louise Labé?
How does Rich define lesbian existence? To what extent do we see lesbian
existence reflected in Sappho, Nossis, and H.D.?
Catullus and his readers (Jessica)
Fitzgerald, "Catullus and his Readers,"
How does Catullus place himself in his poems? What audiences are present
in his poems? How does he relate to them? What audience can we postulate
for his actual readership?
The Construction of Sexuality in ancient Rome (Sheridan and Beth)
Hallett, "Female Homoeroticism," in Roman Sexualities (on
How is gender constructed in ancient Rome? How does it compare to
ancient Athens? How does an understanding of gender in Rome affect our
understanding of Ovid, Heroides 15, and Catullus' poems to Lesbia
Contextualizing Love: close reading of Catullus 68 (Hope and Sarah)
How does Catullus place the love of Lesbia and Catullus in a larger context? e.g., through myth, ring composition, Roman
culture, juxtaposition, etc. What images are linked with this love? How
is the relationship valued by each person in it?
The Slavery of Love (Lauren and Amanda)
Kathleen McCarthy in Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture
How does slavery function in Roman culture? How does it function in Propertius'
poetry? Why would a man take on the role of slave in relationship in his
Viewing Lovemaking on Roman Vases
Clark, "Representations of Male-to-Male Lovemaking" and/or "Representations of Male-to-Female Lovemaking," in Looking at Lovemaking. Chapters 3, 4. Who is the audience for these images? How might women see them? men? What sort of relationships are depicted? What do they say about Roman attitudes toward lovemaking? How do these compare with lovemaking described in Propertius?
Metaphors for Love: a close reading of the journey of love or the soldier
of love (Nick)
Choose poems that illustrate either the metaphor of travel (1.17,
2.26, 3.7) or the military (1.6, 2.1, 2.7-9, 2.15, 3.8, 4.8). How does
Propertius define the metaphor you have chosen in Book 1? How is the metaphor
polyvalent? i.e., have multiple ways of understanding it? How do mythological
references in these poems affect your understanding of Propertius' and
Cynthia's relationship? How does the metaphor change through the first
three books? How does Propertius' relationship with Cynthia get redefined?
Elegiac Mistress: Fiction or Reality? (Calla and Jeff)
Either Hallett, "The Role of Women in Roman Elegy," in Women
in the Ancient World: The Arethusa Papers, or Wyke, "Mistress
and Metaphor in Augustan Elegy," Helios 16 (1989) (on reserve)
Hermaphroditus and Iphis: Roman ideas of Transgendering?
Zajko, Vanda "'Listening With' Ovid: Intersexuality, Queer Theory, and the Myth of Hermaphroditus and Salmacis" Helios 36.2 (2009) 175-202 and
Ormand, "Impossible Lesbians in Ovid's Metamorphoses," in Gendered Dynamics in Latin Love Poetry.
Gaspara Stampa: a close reading of Elegies 85, 90, 102, 151, 196, and
Who is Gaspara Stampa's audience? How does she interact with her beloved?
To what extent does she echo Catullus and Propertius? How does she negotiate
her role as a woman in a male-dominated genre? How do her strategies compare
with those of Sulpicia and Louise Labé?
for Tuesday (Rachael and Vincent)
Heracles and Hylas as lovers: a close reading of Propertius and Apollonius
Compare Propertius 1.20 with Apollonius, Argonautika 1.1153-1362.
What happens in each? Are they essentially a typical pederastic pair,
as we might see in Phaedrus' or Pausanias' speeches in the Symposium?
Are there differences due to genre (elegy vs. epic)? Is each version presenting
a similar or different view of love? How does their love compare with
Jason's and Medea's love for each other?
Medea's Role as lover in Apollonius, Book 3 (Phil and Ellen)
Clauss, "Conquest of the Mephistophelian Nausicaa: Medea's Role in
Apollonius' Redefinition of the Epic Hero," in James J. Clauss and
Sarah Iles Johnston, eds. Medea: Essays on Medea in Myth, Literature,
Philosophy, and Art
Is Medea a heroine or Jason's helpmate? How do allusions to Odysseus
and Nausicaa in the Odyssey help (or hinder) one's understanding of Medea?
Does Medea's age (older than Nausicaa) and her actions in the Argonautika
perhaps suggest a stronger, more autonomous Medea? Is she Jason's peer?
or perhaps better?
for Wednesday (Maggie and Josephine)
Ariadne and Medea: a Lover spurned? A close reading of Catullus 64
and Apollonius, Book 4
Compare Ariadne's situation in Catullus 64.52-264 with Medea's in Apollonius,
Book 4. How do they help the man just arrived to their land? How do they
fall in love? How does the man treat them? How do they respond? What accounts
for the differences in the two stories? Is there a generic difference
between elegy and epic in the two portrayals?
Who are Chariton's Readers? (Jon and Luke)
Either Edwards, "Defining the Web of Power," or Egger, "The
Role of Women in the Greek Novel: Woman as Heroine and Reader," in
Oxford Readings in the Greek Novel
Are we to suppose that Chariton's readers are primarily women, just as
they are for modern Harlequins and Gothic romances? What is the ancient
evidence for Chariton's ancient readers? What is the evidence from within
the novel itself?
for Friday (Paul)
Defining Callirhoe: subject or object?
Either Konstan, "Love in the Greek Novel," differences
2 (1990), or Elsom, "Callirhoe: Displaying the Phallic Woman,"
in Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome (on reserve)
Is Callirhoe a new kind of heroine not seen in elegiac poetry? Is she
Chaereas' and Dionysius' equal partner? How is her status before the the
Great King of Persia defined? How is she viewed by others in the novel?
To what extent is she able to act autonomously, at least in her relationship
with her husband(s)?