Ancient Western Literature - Kolbe Academy

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.

This course enables the student to:

  • Identify & examine the inter-relationship between the four primary genres of all imitative forms of literature: the epic, the lyric, the tragedy, & the comedy
  • Identify & use literary devices & figures of speech such as similes, metaphors, allegories, fables, & parables
  • Imitate these genres & literary devices in their writing in order to understand more deeply the nature & power of these forms
  • Become familiar with the greatest examples of Greek & Roman literature & their impact upon Western literature & modes of thought throughout history
  • Compare & contrast Greek & Roman ideals of heroism & virtue with the Christian understanding of these ideals, & identify the ways in which Greek and Roman thought served as preparation for the Gospel
  • Examine the kinship between two of the great epics of Greece & Rome, The Iliad & The Aeneid
  • Identify the Roman virtue of pietas & its subsequent transformation in Christianity
  • Learn to interpret & distinguish the fourfold senses of theological writings: the literal, the allegorical, the moral, & the eschatological
  • Trace the influence of Greek thought on pagan Latin literature & 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
  • Classical Literary Criticism, “Poetics” of Aristotle, translated by T.S. Dorsch
  • The Aeneid, Virgil, translated by Patric Dickinson
  • MLA Handbook Eighth Edition

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Optional Materials

Digital copies are provided in the Parent Group of the Self-Paced course.  Physical copies are available for purchase in the Kolbe Bookstore.

  • Ancient Western Literature Course Plan & Tests
  • 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
  • Poetics Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • The Aeneid Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Greek Literature Weekly Quiz Book & Study Guide, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Classics Conference: The Complete Set  (Audio files and study materials are already included directly in the Self-Paced course.  If you would like a hard copy to keep and re-use, you may purchase the flash drive and study materials from the Kolbe Bookstore.)

Self-Paced Plus courses include the following:

  • Grading by a highly qualified teacher for selected assignments (listed below) in the course.
  • Access to teacher through the course’s discussion board.
  • Option to report grade given by the teacher, or to report a grade assigned by parent.
  • The pacing is still established by the parent in conjunction with the student’s goals and academic calendar. 
  • Assignments will be graded within 1-2 weeks of the submission date, excluding holiday breaks.  (For the quickest grading, students should turn assignments in incrementally throughout the year.  If a student turns in multiple assignments to be graded at once, expect a response time of 1-2 weeks per assignment submitted.)

Self-Paced Plus Assignment List:

Semester 1 Semester 2
Week 4: Paper Topic* Week 5: Paper Topic*
Week 7: Paper Topic* Week 6: Paper Topic*
Week 9: Midterm 1 Exam Week 9: Midterm 2 Exam
Week 10: Paper Topic* Week 10: Paper Topic*
Week 15: Paper Topic* Week 15: Paper Topic*
Week 18: Semester 1 Exam Week 18: Semester 2 Exam

*We developed a rubric to assist in grading the paper assignments.  Each paper assignment will have the rubric available for the student in the course.


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

Course Plan Sample

Ancient Western Literature

Note: This course plan is built into the
Self-Paced course in a student-friendly format.