GRK30060 Greek Texts: Aeschylus

Academic Year 2020/2021

This module focuses on Aeschylus' Eumenides, to be studied in the original Greek. This play is the final part of the great Oresteia trilogy (458 B.C.). The module is taught in small classes, which are devoted to reading the text and discussing points of interest. Students will be expected to prepare a section of the text for each class, and to be able to translate and discuss it.

PLEASE NOTE that the School of Classics reserves the right to withdraw modules in the period up to and including the first week of the teaching trimester.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:

* translate the text with confidence and accuracy;
* evaluate modern interpretations of the text;
* answer questions on specific points in the text;
* construct a relevant and analytical essay on the text.

Indicative Module Content:

Prescribed Text

Aeschylus, Eumenides, ed. A.H. Sommerstein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).


The Loeb translation by Sommerstein is reliable, as is the translation by C. Collard in the Oxford World’s Classics series.

Recommended Secondary Literature

M. Lloyd (ed.), Oxford Readings in Aeschylus (Oxford, 2007), 20–29

E.R. Dodds, ‘Morals and politics in the Oresteia’, in The Ancient Concept of Progress (Oxford, 1973), 45–63. Reprinted in Oxford Readings in Aeschylus.

C.W. Macleod, ‘Politics and the Oresteia’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 102 (1982), 124–44. Reprinted in Collected Essays (Oxford, 1983), 20–40, and also in Oxford Readings in Aeschylus.

O.P. Taplin, The Stagecraft of Aeschylus (Oxford, 1977), ch. 8

R.P. Winnington-Ingram, Studies in Aeschylus (Cambridge, 1983)

A.J. Podlecki (ed.), Aeschylus: Eumenides (Warminster, 1989)

S.D. Goldhill, Reading Greek Tragedy (Cambridge, 1986), chh. 1 & 2

Indicative Coursework Essay Titles

(a) ‘The questions are indeed answered and the conflicts resolved’ (Richard Seaford). Is this a fair assessment of Eumenides as a conclusion to the Oresteia?

(b) How far should Eumenides be seen as ‘a play for its day’ (Alan Sommerstein)?

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module is taught in small classes, typically 2-3 students, and focuses on reading the text in Greek and discussing points of interest. There will be 18 classes in total. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Students taking this module should have at least one year's experience of reading unadapted Greek texts.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: 1,500-word essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Class Test: 50-minute test (translation and comment) Week 11 n/a Graded No


Class Test: 50-minute test (translation and comment) Week 5 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive detailed individual feedback on all their assignments.