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CODE 84424
  • 6 cfu during the 1st year of 8453 CONSERVAZIONE DEI BENI CULTURALI (L-1) - GENOVA
  • 6 cfu during the 2nd year of 8453 CONSERVAZIONE DEI BENI CULTURALI (L-1) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • SEMESTER 2° Semester


    Aeneas, Hercules, and Perseus: Latin literature as a mythological and iconographic source

    The course aims at providing students with an introduction to Roman literature, mythology  and culture.

    The close reading of a selection of ancient texts, that will be read in Latin with an eye to their reception, will expose students to some main characters of Latin literature, who will provide an overview of the main literary genres and of myths that are relevant for ancient and modern figurative arts, such as Troy’s last night and the labours of Hercules and Perseus.



    The course aims at providing students with an overall knowledge of Roman literature and culture. At the end of this course, students will be able to interpret literary Latin texts and to recognise the recurring motifs of Greco-Roman mythology and their reception in the European culture as well as in figurative arts.


    At the end of this course, students will be able to:

    • assess the peculiar features of the main themes of Roman literature by reading and interpreting the production of the major Roman authors against the cultural background of their time;
    • interpret literary Latin texts on the linguistic, semantic and stylistic level;
    • recognise the recurring motifs of Greco-Roman mythology in Latin literature and their reception in the European culture as well as in modern figurative arts.
    • identify the reception of themes of Latin literature in the modern European culture.


    The core of this course will be the reading, translation and interpretation of Latin texts. Therefore, a mandatory prerequisite is a very good knowledge of italian and intermediate skills in Latin language, as well as the ability of critically analyse the main structures of a text (both in Italian and Latin). Students with scarce (or no) skills in Latin are invited to attend the beginning and intermediate Latin courses.


    The lectures will focus on the discussion and critical analysis of the texts in the reading list; attention will be paid to the literary and anthropological meaning of these texts, as well as to their reception. The didactic approach will be based on dialogue; active participation will be encouraged.

    Lectures will be supplemented by a weekly workshop (Thursdays 2-4 p.m.; Dr Lisa Longoni) about:

    - methodology for studying the history of literature 

    - consolidation of Latin language skills

    - linguistic analysis of the course texts

    Lectures will take place in-person; attendance in class, although not compulsory, is highly recommended.  Only those who attend lessons in presence will be deemed attending students.

    The teacher, upon specific request by single students, can allow to attend lessons remotely and to access the recordings of the lessons via Teams.

    Students are encouraged to sign up to the AulaWeb webpage of the course, where all material and information will be shared throughout the term.


    Aeneas, Hercules, and Perseus: Latin literature as a mythological and iconographic source

    The course will focus on some of the most meaningful works of the golden age of Latin literature. These works outline a portrait of some major characters of classical myth, that will be followed through their reception in European literature and figurative arts (ancient archeology and the frescoes of Genoa’s Palazzi dei Rolli and Villa del Principe). The analysis will focus on Troy’s last night (Virgil, Aeneid, book two); Perseus, Andromeda and Medusa (Ovid, Metamorphoses, book four); Hercules (Seneca, Hercules furens).  By comparing such literary elaborations with Hyginus’ brief mythographic stories, students will improve their skills in Latin language and translation.

    All texts will be read in Latin. In addition to the reading list, students are required to study   the history of Latin literature (a list of the principal arguments will be given at the beginning of the course).


    History of Latin literature - Recommended textbook

    Gian Biagio Conte, Profilo storico della Letteratura Latina dalle origini alla tarda età imperiale, Le Monnier / Mondadori Education.

    Latin grammar - Recommended textbook

    Marco Fucecchi, Luca Graverini, La lingua latina. Fondamenti di morfologia e sintassi, Le Monnier / Mondadori Education.

    Latin texts – Recommended translations:

    Igino, Miti del mondo classico, a cura di Fabio Gasti, Rusconi, Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna 2017

    Virgilio, Eneide, vol. 1: Libri I-II, a cura di Ettore Paratore, Luca Canali, Mondadori, Milano 2012 (Fondazione Lorenzo Valla) or Virgilio, Eneide, a cura di M. Ramous, G.B. Conte, G.L. Baldo, Venezia, Marsilio, 2004

    Ovidio, Metamorfosi, vol. 2: Libri III-IV, a cura di Alessandro Barchiesi, Richard John Tarrant, Ludovica Koch, Gianpiero Rosati, Mondadori, Milano 2007 (Fondazione Lorenzo Valla) or Ovidio, Le Metamorfosi, a cura di Gianpiero Rosati, Milano, Rizzoli 1994

    Seneca, La follia di Ercole, a cura di Elena Rossi, Rizzoli, Milano 1999.

    non-attending students: further bibliography

    G. Ieranò, Eroi. Le grandi saghe della mitologia greca, Marsilio-Feltrinelli, Milano, 2019


    M. Lentano, Enea. L'ultimo dei Troiani il primo dei Romani, Salerno, Roma, 2020

    Further bibliography on specific aspects of the myths and their reception will be provided during the semester


    Exam Board

    ALICE BONANDINI (President)


    LISA LONGONI (Substitute)

    LARA NICOLINI (Substitute)

    DILETTA VIGNOLA (Substitute)



    14th February 2023.



    During the oral exam, students will be required:

    1. To answer questions on the major Roman authors and literary works and on the evolution of literary genres;
    2. to demonstrate their skills in Latin language and textual analysis by translating and commenting the listed texts;
    3. To discuss classical myths and their reception.

    Reading list:

    Troy’s last night

    Virgil, Aeneid, Book II, vv. 1-56; 199-265; 515-603; 707-804 (students will read the second book of Virgil's Aeneid in its entirety, in translation).

    Hyginus, fabulae 108

    Perseus, Andromeda and Medusa

    Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book IV, vv. 663-803

    Hyginus, fabulae  64


    Seneca, Hercules furens, vv. 1-122 e 955-1053

    Igino, fabulae 30 e 32


    The examination will be oral. Students will be required:

    1. to answer questions on the history of Latin literature, discussing the life and works of some of the major Latin authors or the evolution of a literary genre;
    2. To translate and analyse a passage of  Hyginus’ fabulae in its linguistic elements;
    3. to interpret a poetic passage from the course reading list (Vergil, Ovid, Seneca).
    4. To discuss the anthropological and literary meaning of one myth as well as its reception in literature and figurative arts; individual research projects are welcomed.

    Grading scale:

    30 cum laude - 28: The student is able to answer questions on history of Latin literature throughly and to translate and discuss accurately the suggested texts, outlining their linguistic features;

    27 - 23: The student shows an overall knowledge of the history of the Latin literature and of the selected texts, with some flaws that do not prejudice their correct interpretation.

    22 - 18: The student shows a partial understanding of the texts, their language and their literary context.

    Fail: The student misinterprets the texts and is not able to answer questions of history of literature.

    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes
    12/12/2022 14:30 GENOVA Orale
    16/01/2023 14:30 GENOVA Orale
    07/02/2023 14:30 GENOVA Orale
    10/05/2023 12:00 GENOVA Compitino
    10/05/2023 14:30 GENOVA Orale Appello riservato agli studenti laureandi.
    24/05/2023 14:30 GENOVA Orale
    12/06/2023 14:30 GENOVA Orale
    04/07/2023 14:30 GENOVA Orale
    05/07/2023 08:00 GENOVA Compitino
    13/09/2023 14:30 GENOVA Orale
    15/09/2023 14:00 GENOVA Compitino