Triangle

Course overview

You will already have a love of history; now you can specialise in the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome.

Uncover the significance of historical facts and events – from the transformation of the Roman Empire from polytheism to Christianity, to the the importance of slavery in the ancient world. You will examine:

  • progress and decline
  • labour and leisure
  • revolution and reconciliation
  • ancient gender roles
  • the relationship between elite and non-elite culture

Our expert staff will support you to use a range of resources and techniques in your investigations. These include analytical and communication skills, and the ability to understand, assess, interpret, and present different kinds of evidence.

You will take modules integrating history, art, archaeology, literature and culture. You will also see how the ancient world influences popular culture. The study of either Greek or Latin is optional, and you do not need any previous knowledge. Apart from in designated language modules, you will read all texts in translation.

Your department

For more information on what it's like to study with us, see the Department of Classics and Archaeology website.

Why choose this course?

Learn Latin or Greek

Study Latin or Greek from beginners, or from A-level

Nottingham Museum

Gain practical and professional experience in our on-campus museum

Study abroad

Take advantage of the opportunity to learn new skills and study abroad

Get specialist skills

Specialise in the methods and skills of history to study the ancient world


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level ABB
IB score 32

Extended Project Qualification 

If you have already achieved your EPQ at Grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Foundation progression options

You can also access this course through a Foundation Year. This may be suitable if you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A Level.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

You will be taught via a mixture of large-group lectures and smaller, interactive seminars. You might also be taught through tutorials and supervisions. These are one-to-one meetings or discussions with an academic tutor.

All students are assigned a personal tutor at the start of each academic year. Your personal tutor oversees your academic development and personal welfare.

Teaching quality

Nine academics from the Department of Classics and Archaeology have received Advance HE recognition for their contribution to education, becoming Teaching Fellows.

Peer mentoring

All new undergraduate students are allocated a peer mentor, to help you settle into life at Nottingham.

Find out more about the support on offer

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Field trips

How you will be assessed

Assessment methods

  • Essay
  • Examinations
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Poster presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Dissertation

Contact time and study hours

You’ll have at least the following hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures, seminars and workshops, tutorials and supervisions.

  • Year one: minimum of 12 hours
  • Year two: minimum of 10 hours
  • Final year: minimum of 8 hours

Your tutors will also be available outside these times to discuss issues and develop your understanding. We reduce your contact hours as you work your way through the course. As you progress, we expect you to assume greater responsibility for your studies and work more independently.

Your tutors will all be qualified academics. Our largest lectures, Studying the Greek World and Studying the Roman World are typically attended by up to 150 students, whereas the corresponding seminars are typically no bigger than 15. Other popular optional module lectures may be attended by up to 100 students, with up to 25 in each seminar group.

As well as scheduled teaching, you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as:

  • reading
  • locating and analysing primary sources
  • planning and writing essays and other assessed work
  • collaborating with fellow students

As a guide, 20 credits (a typical module) is approximately 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study).

Study abroad

  • Explore the world, experience different cultures and gain valuable life skills by studying abroad
  • Options range from short summer schools, a single semester to a whole year abroad
  • Language support is available through our Language Centre where required
  • Boost your CV for prospective employers

See our study abroad pages for full information

Placements

Work experience gives you the skills and experience that will allow you to stand out to potential employers and is a crucial part of becoming 'workplace-ready'.

Our second-year School of Humanities work placement module involves a professional placement (one day a week for six weeks or equivalent) in an external organisation. You will gain employability skills in a workplace relevant to Arts/Humanities graduates.

The Department of Classics and Archaeology runs Nottingham Classics Out-and-about (NoCOut), a local schools outreach programme where you can communicate your knowledge and gain valuable employment skills.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

Modules

Our first-year core modules are designed as an introduction. This means that even if you haven’t studied ancient history before, we’ll build everyone's knowledge to the same level, so you can progress through to year two.

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Compulsory core modules (80 credits) – you will focus on thinking about the nature of ancient history as a discipline and developing the skills required for researching, writing and debating
  • Optional modules (40 credits) – these may be in ancient history, or in other subjects such as archaeology or history of art

You’ll have at least 12 hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures, seminars and tutorials.

You must pass year one, but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Core modules

Studying the Greek World

Gain a wide-ranging interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature and culture of the ancient Greek World. Covering from c.1600-31 BC, you will explore Greek history from the Mycenaean period to the coming of Rome.

You will:

  • Examine the major topics in Greek history – from the Mycenaean Period and the Dark Ages, through the rise of the polis in the Archaic period, to the height of Greek civilisation in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, and finally its conquest by the Roman Empire
  • Explore primary evidence from Greek literary and material culture
  • Consider the relationship between ancient Greece and the modern world

This module is followed by the Studying the Roman World module, in the spring semester. No prior knowledge of Greek history or Greek language is needed.

This module is worth 10 credits.

Studying the Roman World

This module gives a wide-ranging interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature and art of the Roman world. We will explore from the beginnings of the city of Rome, to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West.

You will:

  • examine the major chapters of Rome's history – such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome
  • discover coinciding developments in Roman literary and artistic culture
  • consider the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture

We will also examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world. This will complement the autumn semester module, Studying the Greek World, by continuing training in a number of basic study skills. No prior knowledge of the Roman world is needed.

This module is worth 10 credits.

Interpreting Ancient History

This year-long module is devoted to the history of the ancient world. You will investigate some of its key themes and approaches through a series of historical case studies, covering major periods of Greek and Roman history.

You will explore:

  • What do we know (and not know) about the ancient world?
  • How do ancient politics, society, culture and morality differ from our own?
  • What evidence informs us about the ancient world? What are its limits and pitfalls?
  • How do modern concerns influence academic debates about the ancient world, and the views of individual scholars?
  • How far can we hope to know ‘how things really were’ in the ancient world?

This module is worth 20 credits.

Interpreting Ancient Literature

This module will introduce you to the interpretation of ancient literary texts (in translation) as sources for ancient culture, by focusing on a representative range of texts and themes.

We will address issues such as:

  • ancient performance-contexts and audiences
  • the workings of genres
  • analysis of rhetoric and literary style
  • representations of gender and sexuality
  • study of classical reception
  • how to compare translations

The autumn semester will focus on Greek texts, and the spring semester will focus on Latin texts.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Interpreting Ancient Art and Archaeology

Explore Greek and Roman art, from the Bronze Age to the end of the Roman Empire (roughly 1600 BC to AD 400). We will consider classic sites and monuments that are among the great lasting achievements of mankind, including the Parthenon, Trajan’s Column and the statue of Augustus of Prima Porta.

You will learn how to look at works of art and artefacts from the ancient world. This includes how to describe, explain and analyse them. As a result, you will unlock the meanings of these images and monuments for the people who made, commissioned and looked at them.

You will build a thorough understanding of the key contexts and media of ancient art and archaeology. This includes:

  • sculpture
  • vase-painting
  • coins
  • mosaics
  • architecture and urban structures

We will cover the Greek world in the autumn semester, and the Roman world in the spring semester. Rather than working chronologically, the material on this module is organised by media and contexts (topography, sculpture, vase painting, temples, tombs, houses etc.) This gives you a grasp of formal and stylistic developments within each of these media through the centuries, helping you understand their meanings in their original contexts.

This module is worth 20 credits.

"'Interpreting Ancient Art and Archaeology', which was a first-year module, is by far my favourite. You spend the first semester doing Greek art. You progress from the earliest Greek art, to when the Romans conquered them. Then in the spring semester, you do Roman art from beginning to the end and talk about all the different periods. It was interesting for me, as you got to do a presentation on a specific piece of art. It was really fun." - Hannah Parker, second-year Classical Civilisation

 

Ancient History optional modules:

Choose up to 40 credits from a range, which may include:

Understanding the Past I – Introduction to Archaeology

Archaeologists are interested in all aspects of the human past. This includes everything from ancient landscapes and changing environments, buried settlements and standing monuments and structures, to material objects and evidence for diet, trade, ritual and social life.

This module introduces the discipline of archaeology. It also explores how material remains are discovered, analysed and used to provide evidence for human societies, from prehistory to the present day.

The autumn semester introduces the historical development of archaeology. This is followed by a presentation of current theory and practice in the areas of:

  • archaeological prospection and survey
  • excavation and post-excavation analysis
  • relative and absolute dating
  • the study of archaeological artefacts
  • frameworks of social interpretation

In the spring semester, you will be taken into the field to gain practical experience of core archaeological methods in field survey and buildings archaeology.

This module is worth 20 credits.

"'Understanding the Past I' has probably been my favourite module so far. We were given a sheet of data and finds on the site and asked to map it out and give our interpretations of what it was and calibrate the dates. We started off with the bare minimum and you’ve just got to build up this database and I found it really interesting. Problem-solving – it was really fun."Emily LeHegarat, first-year Archaeology

Understanding the Past II – Landscapes and Surveying

This module builds on Understanding the Past I. It is an introduction to the core aims and methodologies of Archaeology as a discipline. It provides a basic introduction to how material remains of the past are discovered, analysed and used to provide evidence for human societies, from prehistory to the present day.

Through lectures, classroom activities and practical fieldwork, you will be introduced to the study of landscape and the built environment, looking at how the archaeological record is both created and investigated.

You will be taken into the field to gain practical experience of core archaeological methods in field survey and buildings archaeology. One of the locations you will visit is Wollaton Hall, the Elizabethan house and landscape park that's nearby to University Park campus.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Comparative World Prehistory

Gain an overview of prehistoric archaeology through global case studies.

We’ll be covering the latest debate and scholarship, on topics such as:

  • Human dispersal
  • Technology
  • Environmental change
  • Food procurement and production
  • Monumentality
  • Sedentism and urbanisation

By the end of the module, you’ll understand the broad chronological development and key themes in Prehistory, up to the development of writing.

You will also have an appreciation of archaeological approaches in prehistoric periods, and the complexities of integrating varied sources of archaeological evidence including landscapes, monuments, excavated evidence and material culture.

This module is worth 10 credits.

Rome to Revolution: Historical Archaeology of Britain.

This module gives an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles, from the Roman invasion until the industrial revolution.

This was a period of dramatic change in Britain. Using key sites and discoveries, you will be introduced to the challenges of understanding the archaeology of periods partially documented in textual sources.

You will study:

  • The Roman invasion and military and civilian life in the Roman province of Britannia
  • Anglo-Saxon and Viking incursions and settlement
  • Medieval castles, towns and monasteries
  • The impact of the Reformation and the growth of the Tudor state
  • The role of industry and urbanisation in the making of modern Britain

Teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars and a museum session. On average, this will be two hours per week across the spring semester.

This module is worth 10 credits.

Beginners' Greek: 1

This module is for complete beginners to Greek.

It offers an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary and you will be supported to analyse and translate passages adapted from classical Greek texts.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners' Greek: 2

This module continues from ‘Beginners’ Greek: 1’.

You will:

  • Continue to study the structure of the language
  • Develop your reading skills until you can read almost unadapted passages from classical Greek texts

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners' Latin: 1

This module is for complete beginners to Latin.

It offers an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary and you will be supported to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners' Latin: 2

This module continues from ‘Beginners’ Latin: 1’.

You will:

  • Continue to study the structure of the language
  • Develop your reading skills until you can read almost unadapted passages from Latin texts

This module is worth 20 credits.

Greek Texts: 1

Explore a Greek literary text and begin the systematic revision of grammar, to be completed in ‘Greek Texts: 2’.

We will reinforce your knowledge of the Greek language, developing your ability to read with fluency and understanding.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Greek Texts: 2

Explore a significant literary text in the original Greek.

We pay special attention to language and style, as well as the text’s literary and broader contexts.

The module will reinforce your knowledge of the Greek language, developing your ability to ready with fluency and understanding.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 1

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature.

We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore:

  • The position of the text in the development of the genre
  • The relationship with its social context

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 2

Study a Latin literary text and complete the systematic revision of grammar, as started in the module ‘Latin Texts: 1’.

You will:

  • Reinforce your knowledge of the Latin language
  • Develop your ability to read Latin with fluency and understanding

This module is worth 20 credits.

Greek and Roman Mythology

This module introduces the interpretation of ancient Greek and Roman myth, focussing on a representative range of texts and themes.

The module will be team-taught, exposing you to a wide range of material and approaches to the use of myth in the ancient world.

We will consider how mythology is used in:

  • ancient literature, such as epic and drama
  • historical texts
  • religious contexts
  • the material culture of the ancient world, such as statuary, paintings and sarcophagi

We will also introduce the variety of methodologies that scholars have used over the years, to help interpret and understand these myths and their usages.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Optional modules from other departments

Choose up to 40 credits from a range that may include, but is not limited to:

Modern language modules

Our Language Centre offers a range of modern language options to complement your degree. You may study from Stage 1a (complete beginners) to Stage 6 (near native speaker competence), dependent on your existing skills. Languages include:

  • Arabic
  • French 
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Mandarin Chinese 
  • Russian
  • Spanish

You may also choose from non-language modules: 

  • Language and Language Learning
  • Culture of Arabic Language Learning
  • Teaching and Learning Foreign Languages 
Producing Film and Television

This module engages with the narrative histories of film and television, from their origins to the present day, a period involving many significant transitional moments in production histories. You will explore the coming of sound, the rise and demise of the Hollywood studio system, and the emergence of the TV network system. By raising questions such as: what are the industries producing at these moments, and how are cultural products marketed and distributed? this module also asks what transition means at different historical moments. It provides examples of different critical approaches to film and television history and interrogates the key debates around the periodisation of that history. This module is worth 20 credits.

History of Art: Renaissance to Revolution

Explore art and architecture from the Renaissance to the Age of Revolutions (c.1789).

  • Discuss individual artists and works and set them within their historical contexts.
  • Question how changing forms of art relate to their social, political and philosophical contexts.
  • Examine the interplay of individual and collective ideas, practices, and institutions.
  • Think about how contextual study can be married to visual analysis.
Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

This module examines the history of immigration to the United States from Europe, Asia, and Latin America. We trace the making and remaking of immigrant communities, cultures, and identities from the nineteenth century to the present day. You will analyse models of race, ethnicity, culture, and nation by focusing on the perception and reception of immigrant groups and their adjustment to US society. We will ask questions such as: How have institutions and ideologies shaped the changing place of immigrants within the United States over time? How have immigrants forged new identities within and beyond the framework of the nation state? And how has immigration transformed US society?

History of Philosophy

Philosophy develops, confronts and destroys previous thinking. It reinforces the status quo and acts as a foundation for revolution. It's a product of its time and helps to shape the future.

Together we'll become familiar with some of the main philosophical ideas and thinkers that have shaped philosophy. And you'll come to understand how and why these ideas arose and developed in response to wider contexts and movements.

Influential thinkers might include:

  • Plato and Aristotle
  • Ibn-Tufayl and Ibn-Rushd
  • Montaigne, Locke and Wollstonecraft
  • Marx and Gandhi
  • Fanon, Sartre and de Beauvoir
  • Murdoch

Particular topics might include:

  • ancient Greek conceptions of the good life
  • reason and tradition in classical Islamic philosophy
  • medieval philosophy
  • existentialism
  • Afro-Caribbean philosophy

You won't be taught whether any of these thinkers and thoughts were right. But by the end of the module you'll be able to recognise and judge for yourself the strengths and weaknesses of arguments on both sides of each philosophical issue.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 22 March 2021.

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Compulsory core modules (40 credits) – you will take Extended Source Study and Studying Classical Scholarship, to prepare you for third-year dissertation work
  • Optional modules (80 credits) – your optional modules also include a changing selection of topics in Greek and Roman history and civilisation, and the opportunity to continue or start learning Greek or Latin

You’ll have at least 10 hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures, seminars and tutorials.

You must pass year two, which counts as 33% towards your final degree classification.

Core modules

Extended Source Study
This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for a third year dissertation in classical civilisation. 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 third-year dissertation. 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 4,500-5,000 word essay.

Optional modules

Choose 80 credits from a range, which may include:

Communicating the Past

This module is your opportunity to expand your knowledge of an aspect of Classics or Archaeology which interests you, and to experiment with methods of communicating that knowledge which take you beyond the usual assessment practices of essays and exams. You might undertake research that leads to (for example) the creation of a museum exhibition, the reconstruction of an ancient artefact, or the design of a new public engagement strategy for a historic site. You might acquire experience of a communication method which could be of use to you in a future career, e.g. by constructing an education pack, writing in a journalistic style, or creating an archaeological site management plan. You might choose to experiment with a different medium of communication such as video, website or phone app. The topic and form of the project chosen must both be approved by the module convener. This module is ideal for any student who is interested in pursuing a career in heritage, museums or education, while developing skills in research, project design and communication are essential for a wide range of career choices as well as being excellent preparation for your third-year dissertation.

The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian war lasted for more than 25 years. It came to involve much of the Greek world, as diverse states and peoples felt compelled to become allies of either Sparta or Athens. The scale of this struggle, and its repercussions, make it a highly significant period of Greek history.

You will answer key questions about this conflict, including:

  • Why and how did it start?
  • Why did it last so long?
  • How was it fought?
  • How was it won?
  • What were its consequences?

In particular, we will examine the disproportionate role that one man, the Athenian historian Thucydides, plays in shaping our knowledge and understanding of this conflict. How far can we use other authors and types of evidence to get beyond this hugely significant, but imperfect source?

This module is worth 20 credits.

Oedipus Through the Ages

You will explore the ancient evidence for the myth of Oedipus and selected representations of the myth in the post-Classical world. In terms of evidence, you will have the opportunity to explore ancient drama and other poetry as well as visual culture and mythographic writings. In terms of post-Classical representations, there will be a particular focus on performance and on modern popular culture, including (but not necessarily limited to)

  • film
  • popular mythology books,
  • material aimed at children,
  • on-line representations,
  • humour
The Silk Road: Cultural Interactions and Perceptions

This is a discipline-bridging cross-campus module, involving colleagues from across the School of Humanities.

The Silk Road will be presented as a range of archaeological, historical and scientific themes. Broad cultural themes will be balanced with the presentation of specific case studies, such as:

  • The definitions of the Silk Roads
  • Byzantine, Islamic and later medieval Silk Roads
  • Luxury production
  • Trade and exchange from the Roman and later periods
  • Ming Dynasty links with the West

Scientific techniques for the analysis of materials, and their role in the interpretation of trade and exchange along the Silk Roads, will also be considered. This could be between, for example, China, central Asia, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Britain in the Later Roman Empire (c. 250-450)

This module examines Britain in the later-Roman Empire. It is a fascinating period of prosperity, integration, and sophistication. Yet it is also marked by rebellion, civil war, and the sundering of the links that had bound Britain to the continent so deeply for so long.

We will cover from the crisis that marked the middle years of the 3rd century, to the disappearance of Roman power in the early 5th, and the rapid economic collapse and social transformation that followed.

You will take an interdisciplinary approach, combining archaeological and historical evidence, and will be expected to familiarise yourself with a wide range of evidence.

We will examine:

  • the political framework of the later-Roman Empire
  • the textual and archaeological evidence for Britain’s society and economy
  • the barbarian peoples who threatened and interacted with it
  • the question of how it ended up leaving the Roman Empire

You will also consider the integration of different types of source material, thinking about Britain’s place in the wider world in a broader context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The World of the Etruscans

When Rome was still a small town, and before Athens became a city of international significance, the Etruscan civilisation flourished in Italy and rapidly gained control of the Mediterranean.

But who were the Etruscans? The Greeks and the Romans regarded them as wealthy pirates, renowned for their luxurious and extravagant lifestyle and for the freedom of their women. Archaeology, however, tells us much more about their daily life and funerary customs, their religious beliefs, their economy, their language, and their technical abilities and artistic tastes.

In this module, you will examine visual and material culture, as well as epigraphic and literary sources, in order to lift the shroud of mystery that often surrounds the Etruscans. You will also place them in the context of the wider Mediterranean world in the 1st millennium BC, examining their exchanges with the Near Eastern kingdoms, their cultural interactions with Greece and the Greek colonial world, and their role in the early history of Rome.

By exploring Etruscan cities and cemeteries from the 9th to the 3rd centuries BC, with their complex infrastructures and technologies, lavish paintings, sculptures and metalwork, you will discover a most advanced civilisation that shared much with the classical cultures and yet was very different from them.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The Origins and Rise of Aegean Civilisation

In the early 20th century, British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans’s excavations at the site of Knossos on the island of Crete uncovered the remains of the earliest palatial civilisation in Europe. Knossos, the home of the mythical king Minos and the monstrous Minotaur, became the landmark of a new culture termed as ‘Minoan’.

Based on a combination of lectures and workshops, this module introduces students to the origins of the Aegean complex societies from the late 4th millennium BC and to the rise, apogee and fall of the Minoan palatial, state-level societies of the 3rd and early 2nd millennia BC. 

Writing History in Ancient Rome

This module will examine the writing of narrative histories in ancient Rome and their importance in the study of Roman history, particularly in the late Republic and Imperial periods. The works of ancient historical writers differ significantly from modern historians in their approach to evidence, narrative, and impartiality, and we need to be aware of these differences when using these texts as sources. This module will therefore consider the importance of the works of historians like Livy, Tacitus, and Ammianus not only as sources for the study of history, but as literary works in their own right, examining issues of historical accuracy and reliability alongside generic conventions, narrative structures, and issues of characterisation. 

Religion and the Romans

Religion was central to all aspects of Roman life, but did the Romans really 'believe'?

This module explores the traditions and rituals that operated in Roman society, from the earliest stages of archaic Rome, to the advent of Christianity. It will help you to make sense of customs and practices that could baffle even the Romans themselves, alongside showing how the religious system controlled Roman social, political and military activities.

You will examine evidence drawn from the late Republic and early Principate, and use literature and images from the Augustan period as a central hinge for studying the dynamics of religion in Rome.

Topics covered include:

  • The definition of 'religion' and comparative studies
  • Early Rome and the origins of religion
  • The calendar temples and other religious buildings
  • Priesthoods and politics
  • Sacrifice
  • The deification of the emperor
  • Foreign cults in Rome
  • The supposed 'decline of religion'
  • Early Christianity

This module is worth 20 credits.

Intermediate Greek: 1

In this module you will study classical Greek from the level reached in Beginners Greek 2. This will complete instruction in the basic aspects of the Greek language and enables students to undertake the detailed linguistic and literary study of an unadapted Greek text, such a Lysias 1. 

Intermediate Greek: 2

This module continues the study of classical Greek from the level reached in Intermediate Greek 1. It continues with the study of Greek grammar and focuses on the reading of one or more classical Greek texts. 

Intermediate Latin: 1

This module continues the study of Latin from the level reached in Beginners' Latin 2. It provides the opportunity to revise basic aspects of the Latin language and enables students to proceed to the reading of Latin texts. The assessment-pattern emphasises comprehension and analysis of grammatical structures over memorisation and translation.

Intermediate Latin: 2

This module is for students in their fourth semester of Latin. You will read a text such as Cicero Pro Archia or Virgil Aeneid 2 in some depth, and practise close reading of Latin literature, as well as continuing to revise and consolidate Latin grammar. 

Beginners Greek for second and third years: 1 and 2

This module is for complete beginners to Greek. It covers the same material as in ‘Beginners' Greek: 1’ and ‘Beginners Greek: 2’ and lets you take up the language at a later point in your degree.

Emphasis is placed on learning to read Greek. You will:

  • Get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek
  • Be supported to translate passages adapted from classical Greek texts

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners Latin for second and third years: 1 and 2

This module is for complete beginners to Latin. It covers the same material as in ‘Beginners Latin: 1’ and ‘Beginners Latin: 2’ and lets you take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You’ll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin and you will be supported to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 3

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature. We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

In recent years, themes have included:

  • Flavian personal poetry (Martial and Statius)
  • Roman comedy (Plautus and Terence)
  • The emperor Claudius (Suetonius and Tacitus)

You will also explore the text's relationship with its social, political and cultural context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 4

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature. We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore the position of the text in the development of the genre, as well as the relationship with its social context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Compulsory core modules (80-120 credits) – you will take a minimum of two modules, but may take three
  • Optional modules (0-40 credits) – you can also choose further option module topics or to continue or start Greek or Latin

You’ll have at least eight hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures, seminars and tutorials.

You must pass year three, which counts as 67% towards your final degree classification.

Special Subject/Dissertation modules

Choose 80-120 credits from a range, which may include:

Dissertation in Ancient History

In this module you’ll have the opportunity to engage in intensive study of a topic in Ancient History which you have chosen for yourself. This module, built on skills acquired and/or developed in your first and second years, notably, in the Extended Source Study and Studying Classical Scholarship, is primarily dependent on your personal research, supported by workshops and one-to-one supervision to guide you through the process and comment on draft chapters. 

Recent dissertation titles include:

  • Cleopatra, Julia Domna, Zenobia: Representations of Eastern Women in Roman Literature 
  • Plato’s Influence on Christian Philosophy in William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1794)
  • Retail trade and urbanism in Pompeii
  • Roman Leadership and Villainy in STARZ’s Spartacus
  • Greco-Roman Lunar Deities
  • Props on the Comic Stage of Aristophanes
  • The Influence of Augustus on Trajan
  • The Reception of the Myth of Medusa in Modern Dance
  • Rome and Her Allies in the Mithridatic Wars 
  • Representations of Physical Disabilities and Impairments in Greek Mythology
Augustus

The year-long Special Subject module allows you to intensively study one of the most influential figures in Roman history – Augustus.

We examine how, after his victory in the civil wars, Augustus established his rule over the Roman world on a secure and generally acceptable basis. You will pay attention to the ancient sources (studied in translation). These include not only historical and literary texts, but also inscriptions, coins, art and architecture.

This module covers political aspects of the theme, but also Augustus' impact on society, religion, culture, and ideology.

You will have three hours of seminars per week. Assessment is through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.

This module is worth 40 credits.

Greek Work, Class and the Economy: Good and Bad Strife

The title (Good and Bad Strife) is derived from the opening lines of Hesiod’s Theogony, in which the poet explains that there are two goddesses called Eris (Strife), one who stirs men to productive labour and another who fosters domestic conflict. We will examine both forms of strife: on the one hand the division of labour in antiquity and attitudes towards work and, on the other, notions of class struggle between a ‘leisured elite’ and a working ‘mass’. This module thus aims to provide students with an introduction to the economic and social history of archaic and classical Greece.

These two areas of endeavour, work and class conflict, are of central importance to the history of the Greek city and a much-contested field of research. We will examine key methodologies that have been applied to the study of ancient society and its economy, including Marxist approaches to class and sociological theories of professions. Students will engage in ongoing debates that are currently shaping our understanding of ancient work. These include recent challenges to the notion that the Greeks believed work to be inherently low-status. How does work affect status in antiquity? Could the ‘elite’ have included not only those who possessed land and slaves but also those who had obtained wealth and status through the practice of a valuable skill? We will thus attempt to broaden the subject of work beyond its usual parameters of agriculture and estate management to include manufacturing and the ‘learned professions’, such as doctors, seers, poets and sculptors. The first semester considers what has been termed ‘the aristocratic ideal’: the concept of a leisured elite of rentiers, the importance of agriculture, the spectre of class conflict and finally the different forms of education (both liberal education and training for specific work). The second semester will cover the existence of a labour market, the division of labour and the role of a professional class of skilled workers in ancient society.  

From Petra to Palmyra: Art and Culture in the Roman Near East

This module focuses on the variety of local cults and cultures in the Near East (modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Jordan) under Roman rule. We will zoom in on a number of localities in order to look at social, cultural and religious interactions between Greeks, Romans, Jews, Arabs and various other local cultures through literary, epigraphic, visual and archaeological evidence. In the great urban centres such as Palmyra, Tyre, Damascus, we will observe the adoption of the trappings of Graeco-Roman urbanism and public life (from peristyle temples to honorific statues) and their significance within the Second Sophistic.

On the other hand, we will explore alternative “pockets” of non-Hellenisation such as the lava lands of southern Syria with their distinct style of art and architecture in black basalt. ‘Oriental’ gods feature prominently in this module: We will explore their great sanctuaries (Temple of Jupiter at Heliopolis-Baalbek, Temple of Bel at Palmyra, Temple of Zeus at Damascus) in terms of architecture and ritual, and investigate their iconographies (Jupiter Heliopolitanus, Bel, Baalshamin, Atargatis of Hierapolis and myriads of other local gods). In contrast to Judaism and Christianity, there is a colossal lack of literary sources for these gods, and as a consequence, our understanding of their function and character hinges on how their worshippers depicted them in reliefs, statues, figurines and paintings.

Jason and the Golden Fleece

Jason and Medea, the quest for the golden fleece, the journey of the first ship, Greek civilisation meets Colchian barbarism: the myth that pre-dates Homer and brings together the famous fathers of Homeric heroes (Peleus, Telamon); the gathering of the marvellous, the semi-divine and the ultra-heroic; a quest that replaces war with love.

The central texts will be the Hellenistic Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius and the Roman epic version of Valerius Flaccus, both read in translation, but a wide range of texts, images and films, Greek, Roman and beyond will be part of the module.

This module will explore:

  • How myth works in the ancient world
  • How representations in different media interact
  • When myth-making becomes reception
  • How the Greeks represent Greek culture and the barbarian other
  • How Roman literature re-appropriates and re-works Greek myth
  • How modern versions reflect on and construct the ancient world

Themes include: the Greeks and the other; civilisation and colonisation; Jason and Medea; gender and sexuality (the Lemnian women, Hercules and Hylas); the nature of heroism (Cyzicus and friendly fire); monsters, marvels and magic.

This module is worth 40 credits.

Ancient History optional modules

Choose 0-40 credits from a range, which may include the following:

The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian war lasted for more than 25 years. It came to involve much of the Greek world, as diverse states and peoples felt compelled to become allies of either Sparta or Athens. The scale of this struggle, and its repercussions, make it a highly significant period of Greek history.

You will answer key questions about this conflict, including:

  • Why and how did it start?
  • Why did it last so long?
  • How was it fought?
  • How was it won?
  • What were its consequences?

In particular, we will examine the disproportionate role that one man, the Athenian historian Thucydides, plays in shaping our knowledge and understanding of this conflict. How far can we use other authors and types of evidence to get beyond this hugely significant, but imperfect source?

This module is worth 20 credits.

Religion and the Romans

Religion was central to all aspects of Roman life, but did the Romans really 'believe'?

This module explores the traditions and rituals that operated in Roman society, from the earliest stages of archaic Rome, to the advent of Christianity. It will help you to make sense of customs and practices that could baffle even the Romans themselves, alongside showing how the religious system controlled Roman social, political and military activities.

You will examine evidence drawn from the late Republic and early Principate, and use literature and images from the Augustan period as a central hinge for studying the dynamics of religion in Rome.

Topics covered include:

  • The definition of 'religion' and comparative studies
  • Early Rome and the origins of religion
  • The calendar temples and other religious buildings
  • Priesthoods and politics
  • Sacrifice
  • The deification of the emperor
  • Foreign cults in Rome
  • The supposed 'decline of religion'
  • Early Christianity

This module is worth 20 credits.

Oedipus Through the Ages

You will explore the ancient evidence for the myth of Oedipus and selected representations of the myth in the post-Classical world. In terms of evidence, you will have the opportunity to explore ancient drama and other poetry as well as visual culture and mythographic writings. In terms of post-Classical representations, there will be a particular focus on performance and on modern popular culture, including (but not necessarily limited to)

  • film
  • popular mythology books,
  • material aimed at children,
  • on-line representations,
  • humour
The Silk Road: Cultural Interactions and Perceptions

This is a discipline-bridging cross-campus module, involving colleagues from across the School of Humanities.

The Silk Road will be presented as a range of archaeological, historical and scientific themes. Broad cultural themes will be balanced with the presentation of specific case studies, such as:

  • The definitions of the Silk Roads
  • Byzantine, Islamic and later medieval Silk Roads
  • Luxury production
  • Trade and exchange from the Roman and later periods
  • Ming Dynasty links with the West

Scientific techniques for the analysis of materials, and their role in the interpretation of trade and exchange along the Silk Roads, will also be considered. This could be between, for example, China, central Asia, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Britain in the Later Roman Empire (c. 250-450)

This module examines Britain in the later-Roman Empire. It is a fascinating period of prosperity, integration, and sophistication. Yet it is also marked by rebellion, civil war, and the sundering of the links that had bound Britain to the continent so deeply for so long.

We will cover from the crisis that marked the middle years of the 3rd century, to the disappearance of Roman power in the early 5th, and the rapid economic collapse and social transformation that followed.

You will take an interdisciplinary approach, combining archaeological and historical evidence, and will be expected to familiarise yourself with a wide range of evidence.

We will examine:

  • the political framework of the later-Roman Empire
  • the textual and archaeological evidence for Britain’s society and economy
  • the barbarian peoples who threatened and interacted with it
  • the question of how it ended up leaving the Roman Empire

You will also consider the integration of different types of source material, thinking about Britain’s place in the wider world in a broader context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The World of the Etruscans

When Rome was still a small town, and before Athens became a city of international significance, the Etruscan civilisation flourished in Italy and rapidly gained control of the Mediterranean.

But who were the Etruscans? The Greeks and the Romans regarded them as wealthy pirates, renowned for their luxurious and extravagant lifestyle and for the freedom of their women. Archaeology, however, tells us much more about their daily life and funerary customs, their religious beliefs, their economy, their language, and their technical abilities and artistic tastes.

In this module, you will examine visual and material culture, as well as epigraphic and literary sources, in order to lift the shroud of mystery that often surrounds the Etruscans. You will also place them in the context of the wider Mediterranean world in the 1st millennium BC, examining their exchanges with the Near Eastern kingdoms, their cultural interactions with Greece and the Greek colonial world, and their role in the early history of Rome.

By exploring Etruscan cities and cemeteries from the 9th to the 3rd centuries BC, with their complex infrastructures and technologies, lavish paintings, sculptures and metalwork, you will discover a most advanced civilisation that shared much with the classical cultures and yet was very different from them.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Writing History in Ancient Rome

This module will examine the writing of narrative histories in ancient Rome and their importance in the study of Roman history, particularly in the late Republic and Imperial periods. The works of ancient historical writers differ significantly from modern historians in their approach to evidence, narrative, and impartiality, and we need to be aware of these differences when using these texts as sources. This module will therefore consider the importance of the works of historians like Livy, Tacitus, and Ammianus not only as sources for the study of history, but as literary works in their own right, examining issues of historical accuracy and reliability alongside generic conventions, narrative structures, and issues of characterisation. 

Intermediate Greek: 1

In this module you will study classical Greek from the level reached in Beginners Greek 2. This will complete instruction in the basic aspects of the Greek language and enables students to undertake the detailed linguistic and literary study of an unadapted Greek text, such a Lysias 1. 

Intermediate Greek: 2

This module continues the study of classical Greek from the level reached in Intermediate Greek 1. It continues with the study of Greek grammar and focuses on the reading of one or more classical Greek texts. 

Intermediate Latin: 1

This module continues the study of Latin from the level reached in Beginners' Latin 2. It provides the opportunity to revise basic aspects of the Latin language and enables students to proceed to the reading of Latin texts. The assessment-pattern emphasises comprehension and analysis of grammatical structures over memorisation and translation.

Intermediate Latin: 2

This module is for students in their fourth semester of Latin. You will read a text such as Cicero Pro Archia or Virgil Aeneid 2 in some depth, and practise close reading of Latin literature, as well as continuing to revise and consolidate Latin grammar. 

Advanced Greek: 1

In this module you will do detailed guided study of a prose or verse text in Greek. Those who have taken Greek A-level and third-years who began the study of Greek in their first year at Nottingham are taught together. Attention is paid to the development of translation skills, but the focus of the module will not be merely linguistic as you will be encouraged to explore the set text’s interrelation with its literary tradition and its socio-political background, as well as to appreciate style and imagery through your access to the text in the original language. You might study a book of Homer, a tragedy of Euripides or Sophocles, a selection from the works of Lucian, a speech by Demosthenes or a book of Herodotus.

Advanced Greek: 2

This module involves detailed guided study in Greek of a significant literary text, designed for those who have begun the study of Greek as part of their University course. Special attention will be paid to matters of language and style, but students will also be encouraged to explore the set text's interrelation with its literary tradition and its socio-political background as well as to appreciate style and imagery through their access to the text in the original language.

Advanced Latin: 1

Detailed guided study in Latin of a prose or verse text designed for those who have begun the study of Latin as part of their University course. Careful attention will be paid to the development of translation skills, but the focus of the module will not be merely linguistic. Students will also be encouraged to explore the set text's interrelation with its literary tradition and its background as well as to appreciate style and imagery through their access to the text in the original language.

Advanced Latin: 2

This module involves detailed guided study in Greek of a significant literary text, designed for those who have begun the study of Greek as part of their University course. Special attention will be paid to matters of language and style, but students will also be encouraged to explore the set text's interrelation with its literary tradition and its socio-political background as well as to appreciate style and imagery through their access to the text in the original language.

Beginners Greek for second and third years: 1 and 2

This module is for complete beginners to Greek. It covers the same material as in ‘Beginners' Greek: 1’ and ‘Beginners Greek: 2’ and lets you take up the language at a later point in your degree.

Emphasis is placed on learning to read Greek. You will:

  • Get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek
  • Be supported to translate passages adapted from classical Greek texts

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners Latin for second and third years: 1 and 2

This module is for complete beginners to Latin. It covers the same material as in ‘Beginners Latin: 1’ and ‘Beginners Latin: 2’ and lets you take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You’ll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin and you will be supported to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 5

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature. We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore the position of the text in the development of the genre, as well as the relationship with its social context.

A recent example is to focus on a selection of Martial’s epigrams and Statius Silvae 2, studying the poems as part of life in Flavian Rome. Themes include:

  • The emperor
  • Patronage
  • Daily life
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Genre
  • Satire
  • The city of Rome

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 6

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature. We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore the position of the text in the development of the genre, as well as the relationship with its social context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2021*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2022/23 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Essential course materials are supplied.

Books

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. A limited number of modules have compulsory texts which you are required to buy. We recommend that you budget £100 per year for books, but this figure will vary according to which modules you take. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (e.g. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Volunteering and placements

For volunteering and placements e.g. work experience and teaching in schools, you will need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Optional field trips

Field trips allow you to engage with source materials on a personal level and to develop different perspectives. They are optional and costs to you vary according to the trip; some require you to arrange your own travel, refreshments and entry fees, while some are some are wholly subsidised.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

A degree in ancient history gives you a wide range of transferable skills, including:

  • ability to process and critically evaluate data
  • applying theoretical and scientific principles to problems
  • critical analysis and argument
  • experience of fieldwork, post-excavation and laboratory techniques
  • ability to interpret spatial data numerical, statistical, IT and analytical skills
  • strong team working
  • written, oral and visual communication
  • awareness of other linguistic cultures

View our Classics and Archaeology graduate profiles

You can learn more about subject-related careers opportunities from our Careers and Employability Services.

Average starting salary and career progression

75.1% of undergraduates from the School of Humanities secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,180*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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" I signed up for Nottingham Classics Out-and-about (NoCOut) to gain experience in schools for my future career. I'm much more confident in my ability to tailor presentations for different audiences and to communicate effectively. I loved working with other Classics students – some of whom I wouldn’t have otherwise met – and I’m really proud of the activities we were able to create together. Dressing up as a Roman became a standard afternoon for me! "
Isabelle Powell, second year Ancient History BA student and NoCOut volunteer

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.