GRK30090 Greek Texts: Euripides

Academic Year 2020/2021

This module focuses on Euripides' Medea, to be studied in the original Greek. The play, first performed in 431 BC, is one of the most famous and powerful Greek tragedies, and deals with the role of women, the problem of revenge, and Greek attitudes to foreigners. Classes will be 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

Euripides, Medea, ed. D.J. Mastronarde (Cambridge University Press, 2002)

The edition by A. Elliott (Oxford University Press, 1969) is more elementary, and has a useful vocabulary.

Recommended Secondary Literature

W. Allan, Euripides: Medea (London, 2002)
A.P. Burnett, ‘Medea and the tragedy of revenge’ Classical Philology 68 (1973), 1–24 (
–––––– , Revenge in Attic and Later Tragedy (Berkeley & Los Angeles, 1998), Ch. 8
D.J. Conacher, Euripidean Drama (Toronto, 1967), Ch. 10
H.P. Foley, ‘Medea’s Divided Self’, Classical Antiquity 8 (1989), 61–85 ≈ Female Acts in Greek Tragedy (Princeton, 2001), Ch. III.5
R. Just, Women in Athenian Law and Life (London, 1989), pp. 268–76
B.M.W. Knox, ‘The Medea of Euripides’, Yale Classical Studies 25 (1977), 193–225. Reprinted in E. Segal (ed.), Oxford Readings in Greek Tragedy (Oxford, 1983)

Indicative Coursework Essay Titles

(a) ‘A bourgeois quarrel between an obtusely selfish man and an over-passionate woman’ (D.W. Lucas). How adequate is this as an account of Euripides’ Medea?

(b) ‘Medea is quite certain that the gods will support her punishment of Jason. And the final surprising appearance of the chariot of the sun seems to prove her right’ (Helene Foley). Discuss.

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 some experience of reading unadapted Greek texts.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Greek Texts: Euripides (GRK10070)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
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


Essay: 1,500 word essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn 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.

Name Role
Dr Bridget Martin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer