This subject explores Ancient Roman epic poetry, the literary genre which deals with grand mythical narratives involving heroes, gods, war, and love affairs.
Epic was the most prestigious literary form in the ancient world. Roman poets adapted and developed Greek epic, particularly influenced by the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. Roman epics similarly deal with divine and heroic material, but Roman poets also weave contemporary and topical themes into the mythical subject matter.
The primary text for this subject is Ovid's Metamorphoses, which tells many comic tales of the gods in love and encounters between heroes and monsters through a series of transformations.
Epics which influenced Ovid will also be studied, such as the Greek epics of Homer, the early Roman epics of Naevius and Ennius, and Virgil's Aeneid, which was the most significant influence on Ovid. We shall also consider Ovid as a major influence upon Western artists and writers, from Shakespeare to David Malouf.