This wide-ranging module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Greek World from 1600BC-31BC, from the Bronze Age to a point when Greece had become part of the Roman Empire; no prior knowledge of the Greek world is required. You will consider major chapters of Greece’s history, such as the Mycenean Period, the rise of the city-state in the Archaic period, and Alexander the Great. You will also explore developments in Greek literary and artistic culture and as consider aspects of the reception of ancient Greece in modern western culture. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week over the course of 10 weeks.
This module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Roman world from the beginnings of the city of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. You will examine many important aspects of Rome’s history such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome. At the same time you will explore developments in Roman literary and artistic culture, and consider aspects of the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture. In addition, you will examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world, to complement the Autumn semester module ‘Studying the Greek World'. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
Interpreting Ancient History
This module considers some of the important historical issues from major periods of Greek and Roman history with an emphasis on the methodological questions raised from ancient source materials and modern debates on those issues. On completion of this module you will understand the kinds of evidence on which ancient historians rely, as well as appreciating how contemporary preoccupations can influence the perspectives of modern scholars and generate debate between them. For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.
Interpreting Ancient Literature
Ancient literature from Homer to late antiquity is studied in this module by focusing on a representative theme. Recent themes have been 'Perfomance and Persuasian' and 'Love and War'. Issues treated have included: the relationship of literature and society, oral culture, performance, genre, gender, religion and literature, and artistry in historical writing. This is a required module for ancient historians since familiarity with how to handle ancient texts is essential for a proper appreciation of Greek and Roman history. For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.
In this module you will explore Greek and Roman art with the aim of gaining a broad overview of visual material from classical antiquity, by concentrating on a cross-section of the most famous objects and monuments of Greek and Roman culture. You will be introduced to temple-sculpture, statues, wall-paintings, buildings and coins, from 6th Century BC Greek sculptures to the 4th Century AD arch of Constantine in Rome. Material for this module is organised by theme and medium rather than in chronological order, starting with topography, sculpture and vase painting. This is a required module for ancient historians since familiarity with ancient artistic evidence is essential for a proper appreciation of Greek and Roman history. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures each week and five 2-hour seminars over the course of your first year.
Optional: Greek and Roman Mythology
This module introduces students to the interpretation of ancient Greek and Roman myth by focusing on a representative range of texts and themes. The module is team-taught, and incorporates a wide range of material, including how mythology was used in ancient literature such as epic and drama, in political discourse, in religious contexts, and in material culture such as statues and tombs. It also introduces students to the variety of methodologies that scholars have used over the years to help interpret and understand these myths and their usages. The module is taught with a mixture of lectures and seminars; it is assessed by a coursework essay and an exam.
Optional: Beginner's Greek: 1
In this module you will be provided with an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek, rather than on writing or speaking it. You will have four 1-hr classes every week, enabling you to keep improving steadily over the course of 10 weeks.
This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for your third year dissertation. You will write a 5,000 word essay chosen from a range of topics, each focusing on a single piece of ancient source material. You will be provided with a topic for investigation, starter bibliography and tips on how to approach the question. The questions will suggest a range of possible approaches, from evaluation of historical source material to exploration of literary effects, relationships with other material, discussion of context or reception. For this module you will have a mixture of lectures and four 2-hour seminars over a period of 10 weeks.
Studying Classical Scholarship
This module focuses on the history and development of the scholarship on ancient Greece and Rome and on specific theories, approaches and methods used by modern scholarship. The aim is to sharpen your engagement with and understanding of scholarship, and to give a deeper appreciation of the ways the ancient world has been appropriated. Studying the history of scholarship in its socio-political context will show you how the questions we ask depend on the situations we live in; it will also allow you to judge the merits and limitations of scholarly approaches and will develop your skills of research and analysis, as preparation for your 3rd-year dissertation. You will have a combination of lectures and four 2-hour seminars each week. As with the Extended Source Study, you will choose a work-sheet relating to an area of the ancient world which particularly interests you; the module is assessed by an oral presentation and a 4500-word essay.
Classics and Popular Culture
This module explores the reception of ancient Greek and Roman culture in modern popular media such as films, theatre, novels, museums, architecture, children's literature and comics, and sets out to reach an understanding of how these receptions influence the way Greek and Roman culture is approached, used, and questioned. Lectures may focus on any of the following: classical education from the 19th century to the present, the influences of the Classics on the production and content of modern literature, the establishment of museums, use and abuse of the Classics in political and philosophical debate, their role on the theatre stage as well as in film and other visual media (television, computer, games, comics, pop music). For this module you will have a mixture of lectures, workshops, and 2-hour seminars spread across the year.
Sparta dominates much of archaic and classical Greek history, and has figured prominently in the thought and imagination of other western societies from antiquity to the present. This module studies the historical development of Sparta (in both domestic and external affairs) from the seventh to fourth centuries BC. It engages with the central issues that arise in historical study of Sparta: the problematic nature of our evidence; the Spartan social, political and military system; her subordinate populations; relations between Spartans and others both at home and abroad; and the forces behind Sparta's rise and fall as a great power. For this 20-credit module you will have 6 hours of lectures and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester; assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.
Independent Second Year Project
This module is your opportunity to expand your knowledge of the Classical world in an area which interests you, and to experiment with a method of communicating that knowledge which is different from the usual assessment practices of essay-writing, exam-writing and seminar -presentation. You might undertake research that leads to the construction of a database, or the reconstruction of a Greco-Roman artefact. You can select a communication method tailored to a future career, e.g. by constructing a teaching plan and testing it in a school, by writing in a journalistic style, or by designing a museum exhibit. You might choose to experiment with making a video or a website. A supporting portfolio documenting your research forms part of the assessment. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars, computing training and workshops.
The Roman Empire in the East
The history and culture of the eastern Mediterranean world during the Roman Empire form the subject of this module. You will explore the events of the period, the 'mechanics' of Roman imperialism (conquest, organisation, administration), and the social, economic, religious, and cultural interaction between the Romans and eastern indigenous peoples. You will grapple with the nature and problems of a variety of sources - literary texts, epigraphic material, archaeological data, and visual evidence - and will consider the extent to which the surviving picture of the eastern empire and its neighbours was constructed by Rome or by the eastern peoples themselves. Modern theoretical approaches, such as those on cultural identity and imperialism, will be used and scrutinised. For this 20-credit module you will have 6 hours of lectures and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester; assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.
The dissertation is compulsory unless you are studying ancient Greek or Latin, in which case it is optional. It is your opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chosen area, to be agreed with a supervisor in advance. You will use the skills that your degree has equipped you with thus far to plan, research and complete a 10,000-word essay. There will be a mix of contact to achieve this, including workshops, lectures and one-to-one tutorials.
Encounters with the Supernatural: Religion, Magic and the Greeks
This year-long Special Subject module involves 3 hours of seminars per week, and investigates the different ways in which ancient Greek men and women interacted with a wide variety of supernatural entities, including gods, heroes, nymphs and the dead. You’ll start by exploring the range of supernatural entities and ways in which relations with the supernatural structured daily life for ancient Greek men and women. You will then investigate key modes of interaction with the supernatural, as well as thinking about how ideas about and approaches to the supernatural varied over time and place. The module is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.
The year-long Special Subject module involves 3 hours of seminars per week, and provides an opportunity for intensive study of one of the most influential figures in Roman history. The module examines the ways in which, after his victory in the civil wars, Augustus established his rule over the Roman world on a secure and generally acceptable basis. Attention is paid to the ancient sources (studied in translation): these include not only historical and literary texts, but inscriptions, coins, art and architecture. This module covers not only political aspects of the theme but also Augustus' impact on society, religion, culture, and ideology. It is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.
This module studies the roles of women in Greek society, myth, religion and literature, especially in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, paying special attention to the diversity of laws and customs across the Greek world, to the discourse that validated restrictions on women's lives, and to gender issues in the writings of both male and female authors. For this 20-credit module you will have 6 hours of lectures and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester; assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.
This module considers the genre of literature known as Imperial Biography: that is, biographies written about the Roman Emperors. In particular, it will focus on Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars and the anonymous text known as the Historia Augusta. The module will not only look at the limitations of the genre as a whole in relation to its structure and sources, but it will also look at major themes within the lives and key case studies of specific examples - ranging from discussion of physiognomy, to gender and sexuality, omens and portents, religion and philosophy, administration and empire-building, birth and death scenes and so on. For this 10-credit module you will have 3 hours of lectures and one 1-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester.
The emperor Constantine (306-337) had a significant impact on the Roman Empire and on European history in the longer term, above all through his support for Christianity, but also through his foundation of the city of Constantinople. This module aims to place his reign in its wider context - the turmoil experienced by the Roman Empire during the third century, the recovery of stability under Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, the emergence of the Christian church as a significant feature of the empire's religious landscape, and the new military challenges which the empire faced in the form of Persia and northern barbarian groups – and to assess Constantine’s policies on a range of fronts: religious, military and social. This semester-long 10-credit module involves one 1-hour lecture each week and a fortnightly 1-hour seminar, and is assessed by an exam.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.