Roman Biography

Subject 670-400 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: A study score of at least 25 in VCE Latin or an approved equivalent. Students enrolled in this subject must have completed or be currently enrolled in , or have completed two of the following: 107-254 Intermediate Latin A, 107-255 Intermediate Latin B, 107-256 Intermediate Latin C, 107-257 Intermediate Latin D.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:

Subject Overview:

This subjects examines Latin biography, focusing on a single 'life' by one of the principal Roman biographers. Roman biography was a prime medium for moral didacticism, allowing authors to emphasise faults or virtues in their subjects which had supposedly universal application. At the same time, the lurid details of some of the recorded lives made biography an entertaining and even titillating genre. Closely aligned to the influential Roman exemplum tradition, the writing of biography appealed to Roman aristocrats from Cornelius Nepos in the late Republic to Tacitus and Suetonius in the Imperial period, and offered them a way of recasting the past while commenting on the present. As it was almost exclusively the lives of Roman men which were recorded, biography was also a means of asserting different models of masculinity just as it allowed scope for different models of heroism and villainy. Students who complete this subject should be familiar with the techniques of Roman biography and be able to identify its predominant themes.

Assessment: For 1st, 2nd and 3rd year: A 1200 word seminar paper 30% (due during the semester), an assessment text equivalent to 1000 words 25% (due at the end of semester) and a 1800 word essay 45% (due in the examination period). For 4th year: A 2000 word seminar presentation 40% (due during the semester), an assessment text equivalent to 1000 words 20% (due at the end of semester) and a 2000 word essay 40% (due in the examination period).
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:B.Warmington (ed.), Suetonius: Nero (Bristol Classical Press, 1999)
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be skilled in critical thinking and analysis;

  • possess effective written communication skills;

  • have an understanding of social, ethical and cultural context.


This is an Intermediate Level Latin subject.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Classical Studies && Archaeology

Download PDF version.