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Study information

Greek History: Problems and Sources

Module titleGreek History: Problems and Sources
Module codeCLA2001
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Emma Nicholson (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module introduces the history of the Greek world from the Archaic period to the rise of Rome. It explores who the ‘Greeks’ were, and how their culture came to dominate the eastern Mediterranean and beyond, as well as exploring in depth the different forms of ancient evidence that help us to reconstruct their world. This module offers an introduction not only to the political and military history of the Greek world, from the Persian Wars to the campaigns of Alexander and the eventual conquest by Rome, but also to their economic, social, religious and intellectual life.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module provides an introduction to Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Greek history. Through a close study of ancient evidence and modern scholarship students will come to understand the limitations of textual evidence, as well as the general themes and problems of the periods and regions covered.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Detailed knowledge of Greek history, from the archaic period to the end of the Hellenistic kingdoms
  • 2. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of scholarly approaches to Greek history
  • 3. Demonstrate detailed familiarity with key sources for Greek history

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relevant historiographical methods
  • 5. Critically analyse and interpret of a range of relevant ancient historical sources
  • 6. Analyse and interpret the ideas and ideologies of ancient peoples
  • 7. Digest and organise diverse historical information into a coherent and analytical argument

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Demonstrate knowledge of and proficiency in methods of interpreting evidence
  • 9. Critically analyse and interpret written documents
  • 10. Intellectually criticise ideas and ideologies
  • 11. Digest and organise diverse information into a coherent and analytical argument
  • 12. Write different types of analytical reports
  • 13. Conduct independent research

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • The emergence of the Greek polis
  • The variety of political systems and constitutions
  • The development of Athenian democracy and of the Spartan system
  • The period of colonisation
  • The Persian and the Peloponnesian Wars
  • The development of Greek society, religion and culture
  • The rise of Macedon and the crisis of classical Greece
  • The conquests of Alexander and the establishment of the successor kingdoms
  • The spread of Hellenism and interactions with native cultures
  • The rise of Rome to Mediterranean hegemony

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching4444 x 1 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching88 x 1 hour seminars
Guided independent study248Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Close study of key primary and secondary texts in seminars, with broader discussions of issuesIn-class1-13Verbal feedback from peers and lecturer

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Source analysis201000 words1-6, 8-13Written and oral feedback
Essay302500 words1-13Written and oral feedback
Examination502 hours1-11Written and oral feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Source analysisSource analysis1-6, 8-13Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay1-13Referral/Deferral period
ExaminationExamination1-11Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

1. Indicative ancient texts:

  • Herodotus Histories
  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War
  • Xenophon Hellenica
  • Polybius, Histories
  • Diodorus Siculus, Library of History
  • Plutarch, Lives
  • Appian, The Foreign Wars

2. Examples of general introductions:

  • J.K. Davies, Democracy and Classical Greece 2nd edition (London, 1993)
  • A. Erskine (ed), A Companion to the Hellenistic World (Oxford 2003)
  • S. Hornblower, The Greek World 479-323 BC 3rd edition (London, 2002)
  • R. Osborne, Greece in the Making 1200-479 BC 2nd Edition (London, 2009)
  • G. Shipley, The Greek World after Alexander 323-30 BC (London, 2000)
  • F.W. Walbank, The Hellenistic World 2nd edition (London, 1992)

Key words search

Classics, Greek History, Sources

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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