Maura Lafferty

218 Murphey Hall

(919) 962-7647


Office Hours:    TTh 11:00-12 and by appointment


LATN 34 Augustan Poetry: Vergil’s Georgics

MWF 11:00-11:50

MU 221


Vergil's second work, under the guise of a “how-to” book on farming, deals with larger issues of life and death: growth and decay, sex and love, fertility and disease, human civilization and war, poetry and immortality. We will look at the entire poem critically in its context to determine what suggestions Vergil is making about these issues and themes.


At the end of this course, you should:

1. Have improved your ability and speed in reading and translating Latin.

2. Be familiar with Vergil’s language (style, syntax, vocabulary), and be able to translate passages from the Georgics with facility.

3. Understand and be able to explain the structure and themes of the Georgics

4. Understand and be able to explain Vergil’s poetics (his methods and aims in writing poetry and how he achieves them).

5. Be able analyze passages and episodes on the basis of what you have learned in numbers 1-4.


Required Text Books (available in student stores)

Vergil. Georgics. Ed. Richard F. Thomas. 2 vols. Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

How to succeed in my class:


1. Come to class and be on time: Class attendance is a requirement for the course, unless you have a valid excuse.  If you have an emergency of some kind and cannot make class, call or email me first.  A large part of your grade for class participation depends on your attendance, because without attending you cannot participate.


2. Be prepared and have the assigned text with you: To be properly prepared, you must be able to translate (without referring to a written translation or notes), and understand the grammar and references within the texts. Translations should render the Latin into literal but idiomatic English which reveals an understanding of the Latin grammar without obscuring the English meaning.  We will be reading 150 to 200 lines a week from Vergil’s Georgics. We will be reading selections from Vergil’s other poems and some passages from other Latin literature to help us better understand the Georgics.


Try to split the Latin readings up into manageable chunks. Do not try to do the week’s reading in one sitting. Instead of writing out a translation, which will slow you down, keep vocabulary and grammatical notes in a notebook, not in the text itself. Read, reread and reread yet again! If you can, go over the assignment a second time before class, paying attention to the words that you have forgotten and learn them. Vergil repeats his vocabulary: make a dot in your dictionary and memorize the words you look up more than once. This will save time. You will be better prepared for the examinations if you review the passage after class, correcting your translation in alignment with the class’s.


3. Ask questions: This is important for three reasons. The obvious one is that unless you ask, you won’t get an answer. The second is that asking questions (particularly good ones) is an important part of class participation. Moreover, we will not be able to review every section of the Georgics in detail in class.  You will, however, be responsible for the entire text assigned on the examinations. Note the passages that you did not understand and bring them up in class.


4. Hand in your work on time: In addition to mid-term and final examinations, students will write two short papers.


All written work is due on the day specified on the syllabus. If you have a valid reason (illness, death in the family) for not being able to meet the deadline, you must inform me in advance.  Handing in your work late is the fastest way to lower your grade. For every day an assignment is late, the grade will be a half letter grade (e.g., from B+ to B-, from B to C+). Beginning paper assignments well in advance will not only help you meet the deadline, but it will also give you more time to edit, rewrite, and proofread, and so improve your grade.


5. Be aware of the requirements of the university honor code: Committing plagiarism or cheating in any way (“including, but not limited to, unauthorized copying, collaboration, or use of notes or books on examinations”) is the fastest way to fail the course. The university honor code defines plagiarism as the “intentional representation of another person’s words, thoughts, or ideas, as one’s own” (The Instrument of Student Judicial Governance II.D.A). According to the “Faculty Guide to the Student Judicial System,” “In an academic cheating case, the normal sanction is a suspension and a grade of ‘F’ in the course”.


Class Participation (including attendance and preparation): 20%

Midterm Exams: 15% each

Final Exam: 20%

Short Papers: 15% each

Important Dates:

January 16: MLK Day

February 15: First Mid-Term Exam

February 24: First Paper Due

March 13-17: Spring Break

March 20: Second Mid-Term Exam

April 12: Second Paper Due

April 14: “Spring Holiday

April 28: Last Day of Class

May 5, 2006, 12:00: Final Examination


Schedule of Readings:

Week 1 January 11-13

            Georgics 1.1-42

Week 2 January 16-20

Holiday: January 16

Georgics 1.43-146

Week 3 January 23-27

            Georgics 1.147-256

Week 4 January 30-February 3

            Georgics 1.257-368

Week 5 February 6-10

            Georgics 1.369-472

Week 6 February 13-17

            February 13: 1.472-514

            February 15: Mid Term Examination

            Georgics 2.1-60

Week 7 February 20-24

            Georgics 2.61-176

            February 24: First Paper Due

Week 8 February 27-March 3

            Georgics 2.177-361

Week 9 March 6-10

            Georgics 2.362-542

Week 10 March 13-17

Spring Break!!

Week 11 March 20-24

            March 20:  Midterm Examination

            Georgics 3.1-165

Week 12 March 27-31

            Georgics 3.166-365

Week 13 April 3-7

            Georgics 3.366-565

Week 14 April 10-12

            April 12: Second Paper Due

April 14: “Spring Holiday

Week 15 April 17-21

            Georgics 4.170-362

Week 16 April 24-28

            Georgics 4. 363-566