CLAS405-23S1 (A) Semester One 2023 (The Arts Centre Christchurch)

A Literary Subject

This occurrence is not offered in 2023

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


Students may discuss with individual members of staff particular and mutual areas of literary interest, which could be run as an Honours course. Such a course can only be run when members of staff are willing and available.

CLAS405: Concepts of Art and Literature from Homer to Aristotle (cross-coded with CLAS326). Today, all over the world, Greek dramas continue to be performed and adapted; Homer’s epics, and the works of the great dramatists are forever finding new audiences through new translations, adaptations and interpretation on film and TV; and Greek art attracts millions of people worldwide to galleries, museums and archaeological sites. The very terms that have become central to our way of categorising and thinking about visual, verbal and aural artforms - music, poetry, lyric, epic, tragedy, comedy, drama, rhetoric, graphics, mimesis, icon, idol - are all Greek in origin and indicate the importance of the Greeks’ achievements as practitioners and theorists in these areas. This course analyses Greek views of visual art (primarily paintings and statues), poetry and rhetoric in the Archaic and Classical Greek world (c. 750-320 BC), when many of the most influential developments in these media were achieved, and critical thinking about art, language and poetry first burgeoned. We not only consider Plato and Aristotle’s influential ideas in these areas, we also study important precursors to their views, and see how ancient literary and aesthetic criticism embraced other issues central to Greek life and thought: psychology, sense perception, ethics and emotion, poetics, rhetoric and erotic desire. Exploring early Greek aesthetics thus deepens our understanding of what art and literature could mean to its public, ancient and modern alike.

Learning Outcomes

- Understanding key areas of ancient intellectual history: aesthetics, poetics and rhetoric
- Understanding cultural meanings behind major aspects of Greek art and literature
- Ability to synthesise wide-ranging materials into a coherent whole to produce and informed argument and interpretation
- Ability to recognise to interconnectedness between visual and verbal materials as well as key differences
- Ability to recognise continuities and developments in ideas over time in the ancient Greek world
- Ability to recognise the global legacy of such ideas

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.

Course Coordinator

Patrick O'Sullivan


Please check the course LEARN page for further details and updates.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,990.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities .

All CLAS405 Occurrences

  • CLAS405-23S1 (A) Semester One 2023 (The Arts Centre Christchurch) - Not Offered