CLA2001 - Greek History: Problems and Sources

2011/2 Module description

Lecturer(s)Dr L Mitchell (module director), Professor D Braund
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
Duration of ModuleTerms 1 and 2
Total Student Study Time12 hours per week, including 1 hour lecture and either 1 hour seminar or study-group

Module aims

The aim of the module is to provide an introduction for the period of Greek History in the Classical and Hellenistic periods. Through a close study of the ancient sources, students should come to an understanding of the limitations of textual evidence, of the major issues, themes and problems of this period, and of not only what the Greeks of this period did, but why they did it.

Intended learning outcomes

Module-specific skills

On completing this module students should be able to evaluate critically the uses and limitations of a wide range of sources available to Greek historians of this period; to have an awareness of and to be able to analyse the major historical issues and problems pertaining to this period.

Discipline-specific skills

Students should be able to analyse, evaluate critically, and synthesise a wide range of sources (both literary and material), and be able to analyse and solve major historical problems.

Personal and key skills

Students should be able to think maturely and creatively; to construct, present, and defend arguments (both in written form and orally); to be able to work independently and in groups.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, study-groups, seminars (which will involve prepared group presentations as well as general whole-group discussions.)


Two oral presentations of about 10 minutes duration; two essays of 2000 words.


(1) the oral presentations (10% of whole module mark); (2) the two essay assignments: combined value (40%, 20% each); (3) one three-hour exam, comprising one compulsory question on sources and a choice of two essays questions: (50%) [NB. For the compulsory question, sources will be identified by author].

Syllabus plan

Term 1
1. Introduction: the early fifth century
2. Delian League
3. Ephialtes and Pericles: the birth of radical democracy
4. Athenian imperialism: the evidence
5. The outbreak of the Peloponnesian War
6. The Sicilian expedition and Thucydides
7. Lysander & Cyrus: the end of the War
8. The rise and fall of Sparta
9. The rise (and fall) of Thebes
10. Philip II of Macedon: friend or enemy?
11. Alexander the Great: a living legend.
12. Approaches to the Hellenistic World
Term 2
13. The Wars of the Successors (323-276 BC).
14. Polybius
15. The Hellenistic North
16. Macedonia and Greece under the Antigonids.
17. Ptolemaic Egypt.
18. The Seleucid Kingdom: the Near East after Alexander.
19. Case Studies: Pergamon and Alexandria.
20. Hellenistic art and literature.
21. Social, military and intellectual developments
22. Summation: The Hellenistic Kingdoms and the coming of Rome.

Indicative basic reading list

1. Set Texts:
Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (Penguin)
Xenophon, A history of my times (Penguin, 1966)
P. Harding, From the end of the Peloponnesian War to the battle of Ipsus (Cambridge, 1985)
Polybius, The rise of the Roman empire (Penguin, 1979)
Texts will be distributed in lectures.
2. Introductory Reading:
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)
P. Levi, Atlas of the Greek World (Oxford, 1980)
G. Shipley, The Greek World after Alexander 323-30 BC (London, 2000) - to be bought.
F.W. Walbank, The Hellenistic World 2nd edition (London, 1992)
A. Erskine (ed) A Companion to the Hellenistic World (Blackwell, Oxford, 2003).

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. Find out more about the overall teaching and learning approach on your course, and please be aware that this information may supersede the specified teaching and learning activities within individual modules.

Foreign Language Centre modules 2020/21

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.