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Comic Drama in the Ancient World

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Professor John Wilkins (University of Exeter) explores comic drama in the ancient world, focusing on the similarities and difference between the plays of Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus and Terence. The course begins by thinking about the changing political context of each of the writers in question, before thinking about the basic plot structure that comic playwrights tended to work with. After that, we think about the purpose of obscenity in the plays of Aristophanes, before looking at how the comic playwrights engage with issues of gender. The final module focuses on Italian comedy, thinking in particular about the relationship between Greek and Roman culture more generally.

About the Lecturer

John Wilkins is a Professor in Classics at the University of Exeter. He is a specialist in the history of food and medicine in Greco-Roman culture, with current interests in literature (eg comic drama) and medicine (especially nutrition). The texts he is currently working on are the Deipnosophistae (Philosophers at Dinner) of Athenaeus and On Maintaining Good Health of Galen, both written in the last 2nd/early 3rd centuries AD, at a time when Greek authors were reviewing the previous millennium of Greek culture.