CLAS220-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Troy and Ancient Epic

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


No cycle of myths has had a stronger grip on the western imagination than the saga of the Trojan War and its aftermath. This course focuses on Homer’s vast epic poems Iliad and Odyssey (eight-seventh centuries BC) and Vergil’s Roman epic Aeneid (first century BC) - three poems which remain among the very greatest and most influential literary works of all time, and which feature such famous figures as Achilles, Hektor, Helen, Odysseus (aka Ulysses), Dido and Aeneas, among many others.

Homer's Iliad (nearly 16,000 lines) profoundly explores the nature of heroic warfare and it costs for combatants and civilians alike, affording insights into the human condition. The Odyssey (over 12,000 lines) tells of the ten-year return of the Greek hero Odysseus to his native Ithaca during which he encounters fantastic monsters and sorceresses only to face an even greater challenge awaiting him in his own home. Vergil's Aeneid (c. 10,000 lines) tells of the Trojan hero Aeneas who, with fellow refugees from Troy, travels to Italy to establish the origins of Rome, becoming an exemplar of Roman virtues in the process. Themes to be explored include:  conceptions of heroism & characterisation of the main figures; gods and goddesses; relations between the sexes & the role of women in the epic; the ambivalence of war: its perceived ‘glory’ and the sufferings it brings; how the poems address the beliefs and values of their time. Students who complete this course will come to see that the Iliad, Odyssey and Aeneid in all their grandeur, passion and intensity are epic in every sense of the word.

Learning Outcomes

- Understanding the significance of the Trojan saga in the ancient cultural imagination and its far-reaching legacy
- Understanding key themes of Homer’s and Vergil’s epics and the techniques used by the poets
- Ability to understand characterisation, thematic connections within the narrative, etc.
- Ability to see how the poems address concepts such as heroism, warfare and its victims, ideologies, etc.
- Ability to engage with such material verbally and written form in a coherent, informed manner

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 15 points at 100 level from CLAS, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


CLAS202, CLAS203, CLAS320, CLAS323

Timetable Note

Some classes will be held at the City Campus in the Arts Centre, 3 Hereford Street.

Course Coordinator

Patrick O'Sullivan


Enrica Sciarrino


Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities .

All CLAS220 Occurrences

  • CLAS220-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023