College of Arts and Sciences

Classical Studies

Preparing for the M.A. Latin Literature Exam

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Students should be prepared to demonstrate both a broad and keep knowledge of Latin literature on the M.A. Exam. Read widely in the various genres and periods in translations to broaden your repertoire. Know some authors and works well enough to cite examples and discuss details from more than one perspective. To learn the literary and historical context, read widely in both primary and secondary sources.

Primary Read some of each and be able to discuss the following genres and authors:

Poetry
Drama
Plautus
Terence
Seneca the Younger

Epic
Lucretius
Vergil
Ovid, Metamorphoses
Lucan

Satire
Horace
Juvenal

Lyric/Elegy
Catallus
Horace
Propertius
Tibullus
Ovid
Martial
Prose
Rhetoric
Cicero's Speeches
Cicero, Brutus, De re publica
Seneca the Younger, Consolationes
Quintilian

History
Caesar
Sallust
Livy
Tacitus
Suetonius

Letters
Cicero
Pliny the Younger

Novels
Petronius
Apuleius

Secondary The following handbooks are recommended:

A Companion to Latin Literature. Edited by S. Harrison. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2005.
Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Latin. Edited by E. J. Kenney and W. Clausen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
Conte, G. B. Latin Literature. A History. Translated by Joseph B. Solodow. Revised by Don Fowler and Glenn W. Most. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.(don’t forget the appendices!)
Some of the recent translations in the Oxford World Classics series have introductions by leading scholars.
The Oxford Classical Dictionary (4th ed.) may also be consulted.

Format of the Exam

The Exam sets two essay questions and 12 identifications. There will be choice in both categories, but the candidate is reminded to demonstrate breadth and depth overall.

In preparing for the essays, consider the development of the genres and how individual authors have shaped the conventions both innovating and responding to literary models. Know the literary arsenal: Be able to talk intelligently about, e.g., allusion and verbal echoes, meter and rhetorical figures, annalistic and tragic history, epic and colloquial diction. Be as familiar with the historical contexts of authors and works: when were they written? what was happening in Roman history at the time? In what ways does the literature participate in Roman social and political life? Think in terms of what you will want to be able to share with your students when you teach these authors.

As with all essay exams, it is useful to prepare outlines in advance. E.g. how would I answer a question on Satire? Historiography? Marshal your ideas and your examples. Write up some sample thesis statements. Although you may not bring any notes or materials to the exam, this advance work will help you on the day of the exam.

Identifications will be drawn from the lists below. In a sentence or two or three, be able to report the who, when, where, and why for each. For authors, know something about what they wrote. Be sure to know why each item is significant for Roman literature, and remember that there may be more than one significant context for each. For example, Marcus Aurelius is of course important as an emperor, but why is he on a literature exam? Any author on the list above may also appear as an identification (boldface in the list below). In the list of persons, the name commonly used is underlined. N.B. These lists are also something of a study guide . . .

Titles of Works
Ab urbe condita
Agricola
Annales
(Ennius)
Annales (Tacitus)
Annales Maximi
Apocolocyntosis
Ars Poetica
Atellanae
Bellum Alexandrinum
Brutus
Carmen Saeculare
Cena Trimalchionis
Commentariolum petitionis
Cupid and Pysche
De agricultura
De analogia
De consulatu suo
De lingua latina
De re rustica
De rerum natura
Epistulae ad Luciium
Epistulae ex Ponto
Germania
Heroides
Messianic Eclogue
Miles Gloriosus
Natural History
Octavia
Origines
Periochae
Phaedra
Pharsalia
Res Rusticae
(Varro)
Tristia
Twelve Tables


Terms/Things
anaphora
Annalistic History
Appendix Vergiliana
Asianism
bucolic diaeresis
caesura
carmen et error
carpe diem
chiasmus
commentarii
consolatio
declamatio
didactic poetry
eclogue
ekphrasis
elegiac couplet
epigram
epistulae
epithalamium
epyllion
fabula palliata
fabula togata
Fescinineverses
genethliacon
Graeca capta
hendecasyllable
hexameter
indignatio
invective
Menippean Satire
mime
Neoteric poets
paraclausithyron
parasite
praeteritio
propempticon
recusatio
Sapphic verse
satura
saturnian verse
sententia
suasoria
tricolon
Tusculum
Persons
L. Annaeus Seneca (Elder)
M. Annaeus Seneca (Younger)
M. Annaeus Seneca Lucanus (Lucan)
T. Annius Milo
Apicius
Apuleius
Marcus Aurelius
Caecilius Statius
M. Caelius Rufus
Clodia
C. Cornelius Gallus
C. Cornelius Nepos
M. Cornelius Fronto
P. Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus
P. Cornelius Tacitus
P. Curtius Rufus
Q. Ennius
Q. Fabius Pictor
M. Fabius Quintilianus (Quintilian)
Aulus Gellius
Q. Horatius Flaccus (Horace)
Q. Hortensius Hortalus
C. Iulius Caesar
C. Iulius Hyginus
Sex. Iulius Frontinus
C. Iunius Juvenalis (Juvenal)
L. Iunius Moderatus Columella
Lesbia
L. Livius Andronicus
T. Livius (Livy)
C. Lucilius
T. Lucretius Carus
Lygdamus
T. Maccius Plautus
C. Maecenas
M. Manilius
Cn. Naevius
P. Ovidius Naso (Ovid)
P. Papinius Statius
A. Persius Flaccus
Petronius Arbiter
Phaedrus (c. 140-70 B.C.)
Philodemus
C. Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder)
C. Plinius Caecilus Secundus (Pliny the Younger)
T. Pomponius Atticus
M. Porcius Cato the Elder
Sex. Propertius
Publilius Syrus
C. Sallustius Crispus (Sallust)
L.Sergius Catilina
C. Suetonius Tranquillus
Sulpicia
P. Terentius Afer (Terence)
Alb. Tibullus
M. Tullius Cicero
M. Terentius Varro
Turnus
C. Valerius Flaccus
M. Valerius Catullus
M. Valerius Martialis (Martial)
M. Valerius Messala Corvinus
Varius Rufus & Plotius Tucca
Velleius Paterculus
M. Verrius Flaccus
P. Vergilius Maro (Virgil)
Vitruvius