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Classical Latin: the language of ancient Rome

This module combines a beginners’ course in Latin with the study of Roman culture and literature in translation. You will learn the core principles of the language, reading texts adapted from Livy, and supported by specially designed online resources. Alongside the language, you will explore a range of Latin texts in translation (including Livy, Virgil, Ovid, and Horace) from literary, cultural, and historical angles. The module focuses on the theme of ‘Roman identity and exemplarity’, considering Augustan culture’s preoccupation with identity, Rome’s origins, and exemplary stories from the past. You will also have the opportunity to reflect upon how translation affects our interpretation of ancient literature and culture. 

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
A276
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.

OU SCQF FHEQ
2 8 5
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

This module provides an in-depth study of Roman culture and literature, focusing on the Augustan period (from the mid-first century BCE through to the early first century CE) and the works of authors such as Livy, Virgil, Ovid and Horace. Approximately half of your study time will be spent reading this literature in translation, and studying its historical and cultural contexts. The rest of your time will be devoted to studying Latin so that you can start to read and appreciate these texts in their original language.

The module assumes no prior knowledge of Latin and will start from beginner’s level. You will begin to read Latin texts and learn the principles of Latin grammar using teaching materials which have been written especially for adult distance learners. From the outset, you will read short pieces of Latin adapted from Livy’s History of Rome. Supported by careful explanations of new grammar and vocabulary, and gradually increasing in complexity, these texts will introduce you to some of the most fascinating and famous episodes of early Roman myth and history, from the story of Romulus and Remus to the war with Hannibal.

You will also be set a variety of exercises and quizzes which will allow you to develop and test your understanding of Latin grammar and syntax. Some will be part of your print materials, while others will be accessed through our suite of online language learning tools which include interactive grammar quizzes, vocabulary testers and a ‘Story Explorer’. The module provides you with resources that cover all the key principles of Latin grammar, so that by the end of the module you should be able to read fairly complex texts.

Alongside the language you will explore further aspects of Augustan literature and culture in depth. In each study week you’ll read (in translation) extracts of Augustan literature and will develop your skills in close reading and interpretation of both poetry and prose, as well as deepening your understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of the literature. The thematic focus of this literary and cultural study is on Roman identity and exemplarity. Taking a cue from the stories from Livy that you will be translating, the module explores the ways in which Livy and his contemporary Augustan authors were preoccupied by the question of what it meant to be Roman. Partly in service to the new Augustan regime, which replaced the centuries-old Republican government with an emperor as sole ruler – and partly in reaction against it – Augustan authors regularly used stories of Rome’s origins and early history to exemplify, and question, ideal models of Roman behaviour.

After laying down some foundations in Block 1, which focuses primarily on Livy, Blocks 2 and 3 will explore this theme in more depth. You will read and study excerpts from a diverse range of Augustan texts – including Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars, and the poetry of Horace and Propertius – alongside key examples of Augustan visual culture. Audio features and interviews with leading scholars in this area, will enhance your understanding of this theme.

Throughout the module you’ll also be encouraged to make connections between this literature and your study of the language. You’ll be carefully guided to look at bits of ‘real Latin’ from an early stage in the module, showing what can be gained from an awareness of the original language. At the same time, you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on the different challenges and opportunities faced by modern translators of Latin, and to think about the role that the Latin language continues to play in the modern world.

You will learn

You will gain a knowledge of the core grammar, vocabulary, and syntax of the Latin language. By exploring a range of Latin texts in translation you will gain skills in close reading and critical analysis, alongside an understanding of the historical and cultural context.

You will develop your ability to think logically and to communicate effectively in written English, and develop your digital and information literacy skills through a range of online activities and through assessed work.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Your tutor will use a blend of methods that may include face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials and moderated online discussion forums. This blend of methods is designed to help you benefit from tuition whatever your circumstances.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit some of your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). Your assignment booklet will tell you which method of submission you should use for each assignment.

The TMAs for this module test your progress with the Latin language and your understanding of literary and cultural topics (which you study in translation). Language-testing TMAs help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses: these combine short-answer questions with the translation of simple Latin stories into English, testing the skills you are taught in the module. Your understanding of the literary and cultural elements of the module are tested by short essays and ‘close reading’ questions requiring you to comment on short extracts of Latin prose and poetry (in translation). All of these areas will also be assessed in the exam at the end of the module.

Future availability

Classical Latin: the language of ancient Rome starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2026.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Course work includes:

    6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    Examination
    No residential school

    Course satisfaction survey

    See the satisfaction survey results for this course.


    Entry requirements

    This is an OU level 2 module, which builds on the OU level 1 modules The arts past and present (AA100), and Voices, texts and material culture (A105). These modules offer an introduction to the range of subjects in the arts and humanities, and will also help you to develop some of the skills which will be important for A276, such as logical thinking, clear expression, and the ability to construct an argument. Although we recommend that you study these modules before A276, an OU level 1 language module also provides suitable preparation. Although you don’t require any knowledge of the Latin language, this module does demand consistent work and commitment from the beginning, and an awareness of what is required in order to successfully study a language would be an advantage.
    If you have not studied at university level before, you are strongly advised to study at OU level 1 before progressing to OU level 2 study.
     
    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    The specially-prepared interactive website, Introducing Classical Latin is recommended as preparatory work for this module.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £2928.00

    Registration closes 13/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2026.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 15/08/2018.

    What's included

    Three module books, Readings and Resources Book, Language Reference Book; a website including a study planner, module guide, assessment material, audio recordings, additional resources, online tools and activities and electronic versions of the printed study materials.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    Materials to buy

    Set books

    • Virgil: West, D. (trans.) The Aeneid Penguin £10.99 - ISBN 9780140449327
    • Livy: Warrior, V.M. (trans.) The History of Rome Books 1-5 Hackett Publishing Company £13.99 - ISBN 9780872207233

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying A276 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Overcoming barriers to study if you have a disability or health condition website.