Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Ancient Western Literature

This literature course combines the most important texts from the Kolbe Academy Greek and Roman literature courses into a one year course in ancient literature.  This course is ideal for students who have transferred into Kolbe’s program at tenth grade or later, or for students who do not want to take two years to study the ancients.  

This course introduces the student to the foundational works of Greek and Roman literature, as well as a study of genres and literary forms. The texts of antiquity are studied for their universal appeal to the human experience and for their influence upon the great thinkers and development of the West. Greek and Roman poetry, drama, and philosophy are referenced throughout the literary and intellectual works of Western thinkers to this day.

Students will identify and examine the inter-relationship between the four primary genres of all imitative forms of literature: the epic, the lyric, the tragedy, and the comedy; identify and use literary devices and figures of speech such as similes, metaphors, allegories, fables, parables; imitate these genres and literary devices in their writing in order to understand more deeply the nature and power of these forms; become familiar with the greatest examples of Greek and Roman literature and their impact upon Western literature and modes of thought throughout history; compare and contrast Greek and Roman ideals of heroism and virtue with the Christian understanding of these ideals, and identify the ways in which Greek and Roman thought served as preparation for the Gospel.

Students will examine the kinship between two of the great epics of Greece and Rome, The Iliad and The Aeneid; identify the Roman virtue of pietas and its subsequent transformation in Christianity; learn to interpret and distinguish the fourfold senses of theological writings: the literal, the allegorical, the moral, and the eschatological; and trace the influence of Greek thought on pagan Latin literature and on the works of St. Augustine.

Students taking this course for Kolbe Core (K) credit will have four papers, a mid-term, and final exam each semester.  Additionally, core students should expect to have daily reading and minor weekly written assignments or quizzes.

Assignment due-dates and grades are established by the parent.  Optionally, a student may be enrolled in the Self-Paced Plus© grading assistance program to receive grading assistance from a Kolbe Academy faculty or staff member on designated assignments in the course. In this case, parents will still submit final grades to Kolbe for the course, but may choose to incorporate the graded assignments into the student’s overall grade or use the Kolbe-graded assignments to assist in arriving at the student’s final grade.

  • The Iliad of Homer, Homer, translated by Richmond Lattimore
  • The Oresteian Trilogy, Aeschylus, translated by Philip Vellacott
  • The Theban Plays, Sophocles, translated by E. F. Watling
  • Great Dialogues of Plato, Plato, translated by W.H.D. Rouse
  • The Aeneid, Virgil, translated by Patric Dickinson
  • Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, translated by M. Staniforth
  • Confessions, St. Augustine, translated by R.S. Pine-Coffin

Order Books button

Optional physical copies available for purchase for the following under the Ancient Western Literature “Optional Material” section in the Kolbe Bookstore (digital copies are provided with the self-paced course):

  • The Iliad of Homer Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • The Oresteian Trilogy Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • The Theban Plays Study Guide,Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Great Dialogues of Plato Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • The Aeneid Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Roman Reader, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Roman Reader Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Marcus Aurelius Meditations Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Confessions Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing

Note that this is the digital version of the homeschool course plan, which is found in the course’s associated Parent Group.  This course plan is built into the Schoology course for the student. 


Course Details:

Section Number


Grades (Typical)

 9 – 12 (9th, 10th)


Mrs. Finnigan

Lecture Format




Subscription Length

1 year

Extension may be granted for an additional fee.

Self-Paced Plus


Credits (Type)

10 (Literature) 

Transcript Designation


Self-Paced Companion Course

Ancient Western Civilization