Seminar of Greek Literature

lglor2541  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Seminar of Greek Literature
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h

  This biannual learning unit is not being organized in 2020-2021 !

Main themes
The seminar will focus on the following themes:
  • Literary composition and performance in the social, political and cultural context of the Early Archaic Period.
  • Transmission of ancient literary works through oral or written traditions.
  • Early Archaic cultural concepts and institutions conveyed by the epic tradition.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


At the end of this seminar, students will be able to correctly use the main relevant concepts. They will be able to develop a detailed commentary about a text similar to those commented during the lectures.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The seminar will study literary creation (poiêsis) during the Archaic period under its double aspect (composition and performance). We will focus on the epic—and, more specifically, the Homeric Iliad—, but students will be encouraged to think about literature during the Archaic period in a wider context, by considering its relations with social, political and cultural structures. They will achieve a new understanding of the familiar concepts of literary author, work, genre, and audience. The seminar will also focus on the transmission of epic, first in its oral phase, then in its written phase. In this respect, we will consider the difficulties posed by the manuscript tradition and textual editions of epic. Finally, the seminar will analyze the Early Archaic cultural concepts and institutions conveyed by the epic, in particular glory (kleos aphthiton), sorrow (akhos, penthos, aethlos), emulation (eris, agôn), and justice (timê, themis, dikê, moira, kosmos).
Teaching methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

The seminar consists of lectures based on reading assignment.
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Personal oral presentation during the term (20%) and written examen during the session consisting of an essay (50%) and MCQ (30%).
Other information
English-friendly course: course taught in French but offering facilities in English.
Online resources
Course notes are available on Moodle.
  • D. Bouvier, Le sceptre et la lyre. L’Iliade ou les héros de la mémoire, 2002.
  • Ph. Brunet, Naissance de la littérature dans la Grèce ancienne, 1997.
  • W. Burkert, The Orientalizing Revolution. Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age, 1995².
  • V. Du Sablon, Le système conceptuel de l’ordre du monde dans la pensée grecque à l’époque archaïque, 2014.
  • J. M. Foley, A companion to ancient epic, 2005.
  • Lord, The Singer of Tales, 1960.
  • G. Nagy, Le Meilleur des Achéens. La fabrique du héros dans la poésie grecque archaïque, 1994 = The Best of the Achaeans. Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry, 19992.
  • G. Nagy, La poésie en acte : Homère et autres chants, 2000 = Poetry as Performance, 1996.
  • M. L. West, The Making of the Iliad. Disquisition and Analytical Commentary, 2011.
  • M. L. West, The East Face of Helicon. West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth, 1999.
Teaching materials
  • Syllabus / Coursebook (disponible / available on Moodle)
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [60] in Ancient Languages and Literatures : Classics

Certificat universitaire en langue, littérature et civilisation latines

Master [120] in History

Master [120] in Ancient Languages and Literatures: Classics

Master [120] in Ancient Languages and Literatures: Oriental Studies

Master [60] in History

Certificat universitaire en littérature