CLAS404-24S1 (A) Semester One 2024 (The Arts Centre Christchurch)

A Literary Subject

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 February 2024
End Date: Sunday, 23 June 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 3 March 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 12 May 2024


Students may discuss with individual members of staff particular and mutual areas of literary interest, which could be run as an Honours course. Such a course can only be run when members of staff are willing and available.

This course focuses on what the Greeks and the Romans considered ‘funny’ in relation to their own society and in contrast to ours. What makes us laugh tells us much about the values, prejudices and experiences of individuals and the community they belong to. This course will include readings (in translation) from ancient comedy and Roman satire, and modern and ancient discussions on humour. Reference will also be made to more serious genres such as epic, tragedy, elegy and oratory. Students will compare ancient perspectives on humour with contemporary ones, and discuss how the similarities and differences reflect respective broader social norms. Staging and performance techniques will also be discussed.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students who successfully complete this course will:
  • Be presented with a range of Greek and Roman literary source material, and will gain a better understanding of how to analyse and interpret that material
  • Critically assess and use conflicting evidence
  • Construct arguments and refine their abilities in oral and written expression
  • Be aware of what constituted the humorous for the people of ancient Greece and Rome and how both similar and different the concept was to and from more modern expressions of the humorous and comic.
    • 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.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.

Course Coordinator

Enrica Sciarrino


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

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $2,046.00

* 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 CLAS404 Occurrences

  • CLAS404-24S1 (A) Semester One 2024 (The Arts Centre Christchurch)