CLA1358 - Ancient Sources Material Evidence: Building Communities in Archaic Greece

2022/3 Module description

StaffProfessor Lynette Mitchell - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module description

After the collapse of the Mycenean civilisation, the peoples of the Aegean had to reform and rebuild their society and community. This module provides an introduction to the communities that developed around the Aegean in the period from the 10th to 6th centuries BC, and will address key issues of development of culture, political institutions, and law to fit the needs of this new society. It is also concerned with the different kinds of communities that developed, and institutional, constitutional and practical responses to crises.

Module aims

  • You will learn how to analyse, evaluate and use material culture, but also literary texts and inscriptions as sources for understanding the ways in which the peoples of the Aegean rebuilt their communities.
  • You will also explore the ways in which these communities faced the challenges and the internal and external threats that confronted them.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Describe and evaluate the principle structures, institutions and cultural developments of the archaic Greek world
  • 2. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the variety and range of responses to common issues and crises of archaic Greece
  • 3. Demonstrate a basic understanding of how and why the communities of the Aegean formed in the way that they did in the archaic period

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Use, analyse and evaluate material culture, literary texts and inscriptions as historical sources
  • 5. Demonstrate an understanding of the limitations of different types of evidence for our understanding of particular aspects of the ancient world
  • 6. Demonstrate basic academic and library skills specific to Classics and Ancient History

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Demonstrate independent study skills in guided research and the presentation of findings
  • 8. Select and organise relevant material and present this in a coherent argument
  • 9. Manage your own time 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 polis
  • Orientalism
  • tyranny and kingship
  • religion and temples
  • warfare
  • the social and political crisis of the archaic period
  • the Greeks and Persians

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 Teaching2211 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching55 x 1 hour seminars
Guided Independent Study123Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Contribution to discussionWeekly1-9Oral and/or written

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
Essay assignment 602000 words1-9Mark and written comments
Source analysis test401 hour1-9Mark 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
Essay assignmentEssay assignment1-9Referral/Deferral period
Source analysis testSource analysis test1-9Referral/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

Basic reading:

Core set texts:

  • Herodotus, The Histories (transl. R. Waterfield), Oxford University Press (World's Classics), Oxford, 1998.
  • Hesiod, Theogony and Works and Days, transl. M.L. West. Oxford University Pres (World's Classics), Oxford, 2008.
  • The Athenian Constitution (transl. P. J. Rhodes), Penguin, London, 1984.
  • Greek Lyric Poets (transl. M. West), Oxford University Press (World's Classics), Oxford, 1999.
  • Course materials on ELE 

Other recommended reading:

  • R. Osborne, Greece in the making, 1200-479 BC, 2nd edition, Routledge, London, 2009.
  • L.G. Mitchell and P.J. Rhodes (eds.), The development of the polis in archaic Greece, Routledge, London, 1997.
  • A. Snodgrass, The dark age of Greece: an archaeological survey of the eleventh to the eighth centuries BC, 2nd edition, Edinburgh 2000.  
  • A. Snodgrass, Archaeology and the emergence of Greece, Ithaca (N.Y.) 2006.
  • H.A. Shapiro, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Archaic Greece, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

the polis, migration, community, law, religion

Important please note

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the module descriptors for the Online Module Selection process, please be aware that on rare occasions it may be necessary to remove proposed modules for reasons beyond our control. In addition, there are still some new modules going through the accreditation process. These will be offered in due course by the relevant discipline.

All modules displayed below have been approved by the approval process but may require further minor amendments before the commencement of teaching.

We are committed to providing an outstanding education and high quality teaching. You can find out details of your modules and any potential changes on these pages. If you are a returning student, joining after the first year or a postgraduate student details of your module changes will be provided in August. 

Foreign Language Centre modules

Term 1 module codes listed above ending with C, i.e. FLF1115C, are only available to outbound students who are away in Term 2. Students studying all year must select the standard module across both Term 1 and 2.