What is Roman erotic poetry? Who wrote it? Why? In answer to these questions, students will read English translations of some of the most famous Roman erotic poets — Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, Ovid — and in doing so, will engage with many important social issues from ancient Rome. Using erotic poetry as a springboard, the course will address conceptualizations and constructions of gender and sexuality in Rome, and the fallout from the civil wars that wracked the city of Rome in the 1st century BCE. The course will explore precisely what it meant (and still means) to write literature in the first person.