CLA2001 - Greek History: Problems and Sources

2013/4 Module description

StaffProfessor Lynette Mitchell - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module description

This module will cover the period of Greek History from about 479 BC, and the rise of the Athenian empire, until the advent of the Romans. Lectures and seminars will concentrate on historical problems, and issues, and investigate ways to solve them, as well as a detailed analysis of sources.

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 wources, 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 did in this period, but why they did it.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. evaluate the uses and limitations of a range of sources available to Greek historians of this period
  • 2. analyse some of the major historical issues and problems pertaining to this period

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. with guidance be able to solve simple historical problems
  • 4. analyse, critically evaluate, and synthesise a limited range of sources (both literary and material)

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. think maturely and creatively
  • 6. construct and defend arguments (both in written form and orally)
  • 7. be able to work independently and in groups

Syllabus plan

Topics will include:

Term 1: Cities in a landscape; The balance of power; Greece and the Persians; Athenian imperialism; Sparta: the Lycurgan state; Athens and self-conscious democracy; War in the fifth century; International relations; Women in the Greek world; Sparta in the fourth century: shocking collapse;The flowering of Thebes; The rise of Macedon.

Term 2: The wars of the Successors (323-276 BC); The nature of Hellenistic monarchy; Polybius; The Hellenistic north; Ptolemaic Egypt; the Seleucid Kingdom: the Near East after Alexander; Case studies: Pergamum and Alexandria; Hellenistic art and literature; Social, military and intellecutal developments; Summation: the Hellenistic kingdoms and the coming of Rome.

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 teaching activity44Lectures (22 x 2 hours)
Scheduled learning and teaching activity8Seminars (8 x 1 hour)
Guided independent study248Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Not applicableNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable

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
Presentation1010 minutes6-7Mark and written comments
Essay202000 words1-6Mark, written comments and oral feedback
Essay202000 words1-6Mark, written comments and oral feedback
Exam503 hours1-6Mark and written comments

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Set Texts:

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (Oxford World’s Classics)

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)


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).

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Available as distance learning?


Last revision date


Key words search

Classics, Greek History, Sources

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