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Classical Literature

"Shmoop awesomus est." – Julius Caesar

Heroes. Tyrants. Orators. Sassy librarians. Feuding poets. Ancient Greece and Rome were chock-full of interesting characters, so it's no surprise that these powerful civilizations left us a ton of awesome stories. Where else are you going to find a philosopher put to death for trolling people?

In this Common Core-aligned course (also aligned to Florida standards), we'll take a whirlwind tour of the best bits of Greek and Roman literature. Organized according to genre, the course will introduce you to Greek and Roman epic, historiography, oratory, drama, philosophy, and lyric poetry.

Besides walking you through the highlights of classical literature, the course contains readings, activities, and projects that

  • familiarize you with the culture and history of the classical era.
  • explore the literature's important themes and issues.
  • focus on critical reading and writing skills.
  • ponder what the Greeks and Romans can tell us about our own world.
  • entertain you. Herodotus, Suetonius, Homer, and Martial all wrote some great stuff. Oh, and Catullus, Euripides, Sappho, Vergil, Gorgias, Plato, and...okay, we'll stop.

Course Breakdown

Purchase units individually *

*Purchasing by unit includes course material only.

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Unit 1. Blockbusters of Ancient Epic

This unit covers the #1 big-hitter of the ancient world: epic. We'll dip our toes into the Odyssey, Iliad, and Aeneid and figure out what gives these epics their staying power.

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Unit 2. Ancient History: Strange But Sorta True

First: the birth of history writing with Herodotus; next: Thucydides, Livy, Nepos, and Suetonius. War, scandal, heroism, origin stories—this unit's got it all.

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Unit 3. A Day in the Ancient Life

Surprise! Greeks and Romans weren't all war heroes. In this unit, we'll look at daily life, including letters from Cicero, Pliny, and some regular dudes, and oratory from Lysias and Cicero.

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Unit 4. So Much Drama

In this unit, we'll brush elbows with the stars as we learn all about Greek and Roman drama. We'll spend some time with Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Plautus, and everyone's favorite critic, Aristotle.

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Unit 5. Gotta Love Wisdom

This unit is all about the big thinkers of the classical world: philosophers. We'll cover the biggies like Plato and Aristotle, but also the indie philosophers like Zeno, Democritus, and Marcus Aurelius.

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Unit 6. Do You Know the Lyrics?

In this unit, we'll examine the Greek and Roman lyric poets. Sappho, Archilochus, Alcaeus, Catullus, Horace, Ovid: they'll all get their 15 minutes of fame.

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  • Course Length: 18 weeks
  • Grade Levels: 11, 12
  • Course Type: Basic
  • Category:
    • Literature
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Common Core Standards  

The following standards are covered in this course:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.6
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.2
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CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.5
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CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1
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CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.3
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.4
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.5
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CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3
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CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5
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CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.7
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.8
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.9
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.10
HE.912.C.1.2
LAFS.1112.L.1.1
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LAFS.1112.RI.3.9
LAFS.1112.RI.4.10
LAFS.1112.RL.1.1
LAFS.1112.RL.1.2
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LAFS.1112.RL.2.4
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LAFS.1112.RL.4.10
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LAFS.1112.SL.2.4
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LAFS.1112.SL.2.6
LAFS.1112.W.1.1
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LAFS.1112.W.3.7
LAFS.1112.W.3.8
LAFS.1112.W.3.9
LAFS.1112.W.4.10

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