Greek Literature Weekend in Gloucester

22-23 February 2020


Achilles and Penthesilea

 An introduction to Ancient Greek literature

Spend a weekend with the creators of the western literary tradition.

Course Content

Fantasy will be one of our themes this weekend. After a journey to the Moon with Lucian we’ll end up in Cloud Cuckoo Land with Aristophanes, taking some philosophical and political lessons on the way. We’ll read from a Greek novel in which the heroine loses her head and her virtue but not her happy ending, and we’ll eavesdrop on Athenaeus’ dinner party for a bit of chat about famous women who bartered their virtue for wealth and power. After reading from Sophocles’ tragedy about an innocent wife who poisons her husband, there will be a dose of real life in Antiphon’s speech written for a man prosecuting his step-mother for poisoning his father with what she claimed she thought was a love potion. Another theme seems to be violent death, so we’ll start by contrasting the descriptions of battle in Homer’s Iliad with those in the very late epic of Quintus Smyrnaeus, dealing with Achilles’ fight with Penthesilea the Amazon Queen.

No previous knowledge will be required, and all the texts will be translated into English.

Course materials

Course materials are supplied as a pdf for students to download and print. If required, a printed version can be supplied by post or on the first day of the course at an additional cost of 10.

Method of tuition

The class size will be limited to sixteen, seated at three or four tables. Some parts of each session will be tutor-led; other parts will involve working in groups of 4-5 students.

Do I need to know any Greek?

No, but you will have learned a little Greek by the end of the course.

The venue   

Follow this link for information about the venue and how to find it: The Parliament Suite, Gloucester Cathedral

Fees and conditions

The course fee will be 100.00 (75.00 unwaged). Overnight accommodation and meals are not included: it will be the responsibility of students to arrange this for themselves.

A place will be reserved on receipt of your cheque. There will be a maximum of 16 students, so early booking is recommended. If a student withdraws more than 4 weeks before course start a full refund will be paid; any students withdrawing between 1 and 4 weeks before course start will have half their fee returned. There will be no refund for students withdrawing less than a week before course start.

To book a place on the course, please download and fill in the booking form here: Booking Form

This should be sent to Paul Pritchard, 2 (i) Rectory Road, Swffryd, Crumlin, Newport NP11 5EB

For further information email

Download the course materials here

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