Euripides, Seneca, and Mythmaking

Subject ANCW40001 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

10 hours per week: total time commitment 120 hours


Admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours in Classics, Classical studies and Archaeology or Ancient World Studies.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:

Subject Overview:

Students will read, in English translation, selected plays by Euripides (the 5th century BCE Athenian playwright) and Seneca (the 1st century CE Roman writer and tutor of the Emperor Nero). The subject introduces students to methods of interpreting tragedy, in particular how Euripides and Seneca use Greek mythology to explore social issues relevant to their times. By invoking commonly known myths, reinterpreting them, and sometimes re-inventing them, the plays of Euripides and Seneca continue to resonate with modern audiences on issues of war and slavery, democracy and power, and especially ideologies of gender and the place of women in society. Students will be introduced to feminism, queer theory, structural linguistics, Jungian psychology, alterity, metatheatre, and theories of ancient drama in modern performance.


Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • Be familiar with the corpus of Euripidean and Senecan drama in translation
  • Appreciate the culture and social history of 5th century Athens and imperial Rome through the lens of theatre and its social commentary
  • Be able to explain modern theoretical approaches to the study of ancient theatre, both as texts and in performance
  • Be able to conduct independent research using catalogued sources and bibliographic indexes
  • Have developed their skills in verbal communication and oral presentation
  • Have developed their ability to think creatively and express their ideas clearly in written communication

Two oral presentations 40% (during the semester), two class papers totalling 2500 words 30% (due during the semester), and a final essay of 2500 words 30% (due in the examination period).

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 2% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available on line

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • students should: be able to explain modern theoretical approaches to the study of ancient theatre, both as texts and in performance.

  • develop their ability to think creatively and to express their ideas clearly in written form and orally.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Ancient World Studies

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