COOL CLASSES: “Introduction to Latin Literature: Friends and Enemies of Rome”

COOL CLASSES: “Introduction to Latin Literature: Friends and Enemies of Rome”

Class name: “Introduction to Latin Literature: Friends and Enemies of Rome”

Taught by: Associate Professor of Classics Bret Mulligan


Here’s what Mulligan had to say about his class:

In “Friends and Enemies of Rome” we investigate who the Romans were—their hopes, fears, achievements, and follies—by studying how they described friendship and their friends, and those enemies who resisted, betrayed, and bedeviled them. We consider these topics through the writings of the Romans as students develop their abilities to read Latin poetry and prose with ever increasing speed, comprehension, and joy, gaining the ability to connect to an incredibly diverse corpus of literary, historical, philosophical, and theological texts produced around the world over two millennia. The course concludes with a brief historical simulation in which the students—as Roman senators—will decide the fate of Rome during a moment when political norms seems to have broken down and the body politic is teetering on the brink.

Haverford has long has an intermediate Latin course that brings together students who learned in high school and those who began their studies in the language at Haverford. In the fall of 2017 I launched this version of the course, which focuses on friendship and anti-friendship in Roman culture (and the present). Friendship seemed to me an issue of intense relevance for students and society at large—and one with special relevance at a Quaker-inspired institution like Haverford. At a time when someone can become a “friend” with a click of a button, close reading of these poetic, historical, and philosophical texts allow us to consider what makes a true friend, what forges and breaks friendships, how people from different backgrounds can become friends, and more. By exploring this fundamental social relationship, we can also descry some of the ways that a distant people seems familiar and radically different than ourselves.


See what other courses the Department of Classics is offering this semester.

Cool Classes is a series that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford experience.

1 Comment

  1. How deep is the class content for Friends and Enemies of Rome?

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