May 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

LAT 221 - Roman Comedy


Forced to immigrate to Rome from Carthage as an enslaved person and later freed, the playwright Publius Terentius Afer, also known as Terence, was a popular Roman author whose six comedies continue to be read to this day. In particular, his comic play Eunuchus (“The Eunuch”) was an immediate success upon its debut in 161 BCE, prompting an encore performance and earning Terence more money than any of his other comedies.

In this course, we will read Eunuchus in its entirety, examining not only Terence’s lively and conversational Latin, but also his engagement with the complex dynamics of Roman daily life, including topics such as gender, slavery, prostitution, and sexual assault. By placing Eunuchus in conversation with comedies by Terence, Plautus, and Menander (to be read in translation), we will explore the ways in which Terence incorporates the established themes of New Comedy, and the ways in which his Eunuchus is unique for its genre. Finally, we will consider Terence’s influence on subsequent writers and thinkers, including Shakespeare, Phillis Wheatley, Thornton Wilder, and Maya Angelou.

Satisfies Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric distribution requirement.
Counts towards the Classical Languages and Literature major and as an elective for the Classical Studies major.
Counts towards the Latin minor and the interdisciplinary minor in Global Literary Theory.


Prerequisites & Notes
Latin 201 or placement test. Students who have already taken a LAT course beyond 201 should enroll in this course as LAT 321.

Not offered in 2023-2024