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Study information

Ancient Sources (Material Evidence): Greek Temples

Module titleAncient Sources (Material Evidence): Greek Temples
Module codeCLA2351
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Barbara Borg (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Temples are among the most outstanding creations of ancient Greek society, praised for their artistic and technological achievements both in the ancient world and in the modern day. In Greek society, they fulfilled a multitude of purposes as gifts to, and houses of the gods, but also as a means of focusing and expressing individual and communal pride and identity. In this module, you will investigate the full range of these aspects, and suggest answers to the question: Why did the Greeks need temples? In doing so, you will develop your knowledge and skills in using and analysing historical sources. You will give particular focus to architecture, architectural sculpture and cult images, whilst considering the organisation of sacred space, technicalities of decoration, and the representation of gods in image form.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide:

  • An introduction into how to use and analyse visual and material evidence as a historical source
  • In-depth thinking into Greek temples and their sanctuaries on the mainland and abroad, with a special focus on architectural sculpture, cult images and votive offerings
  • Consideration of key issues relating to the organisation of sacred space, the representation of gods in image form and the use of mythic narrative in temple decoration

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Describe and critically evaluate the architectural style, decorative ornament and archaeological context of key Greek temples
  • 2. Demonstrate advanced understanding of ancient religious culture and the role of material objects such as cult images and votive offerings in ritual activity, and relate these to understanding the history of the ancient society

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Use, analyse and critically evaluate visual and material evidence as a major source for understanding the ancient world
  • 4. Demonstrate advanced academic and library skills as well as an advanced critical ability in assessing published literature

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Demonstrate advanced independent and group study skills in guided research and presentation of findings
  • 6. Demonstrate that you can select critically and organise relevant material, to present this in connected oral and written form, and to discuss issues in a peer group
  • 7. Manage your own time effectively and meet deadlines

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 development of temple architecture
  • The Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders
  • The sanctuary of Olympia
  • Ancient theories of architecture
  • The Parthenon and the Athenian Acropolis
  • Greek influence on Roman Architecture
  • The sanctuary at Delphi;
  • The practical side of building a temple

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 Teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Seminars (4 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study124Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Participation in seminar discussionsWithin 1 hour seminars5-6Oral feedback
Oral presentation5-10 minutes5-6Oral feedback

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
Essay402000 words1-4, 7Mark and written comments
Examination602 hours1-4Mark and written comments

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-4, 7Referral/deferral period
ExaminationExamination1-4Referral/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

  • Alcock, S. and Osborne, R.: Placing the Gods, 1994.
  • Dinsmoor, W.B.: The Architecture of Ancient Greece, 1950.
  • Hurwit, J.M.: The Athenian Acropolis: History, mythology and archaeology from the Neolithic era to the present, 1999.
  • Lawrence, A.W.: Greek Architecture, 1983/1996.
  • Spawforth, A.: The Complete Greek Temples, 2006.
  • Stewart, A. Greek Sculpture, 1990.
  • Tomlinson, R.A.: Greek Sanctuaries, 1976

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Classics, Greek, Temples, Sources

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date