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Unit information: Historical Topic: The Hellenistic World in 2019/20

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Historical Topic: The Hellenistic World
Unit code CLAS10034
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Knippschild
Open unit status Open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit explores political and social developments in the Mediterranean world in the Hellenistic Era. This period is important for understanding the dissemination of Greek culture around the Mediterranean and its transmission through the growth of the new empires. It will cover the rise of the Macedonian Empire, the conquest of Western Asia, and the Successors to Alexander. The unit focuses on intercultural contacts between the Greeks and the different ethnic groups of Western Asia, mutual influences, clashes of culture and the diverse ways of dealing with them, as well as some of the mental pictures and perceptions of the other originating in this period that are operative to this day.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, successful students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a detailed understanding of the varied sources available for understanding the Hellenistic World, and a developed understanding of the best way to make use of them;
  2. demonstrate a good knowledge of the political and social developments in the Hellenistic world and an advanced understanding of how to analyse these;
  3. reflect on the significance of the Hellenistic Era for later classical and post-classical periods;
  4. produce written work in an academic style appropriate to level C;
  5. respond appropriately to a question or problem within a specified time.

Teaching details

Lectures and seminars

Assessment Details

8-hour take-home exam, with one reflective essay of 2,000 words, drawing on sources and material from the unit. 100% [assessing all ILOs]

Reading and References

A. B. Bosworth, Conquest and Empire, The Reign of Alexander the Great (1988).

A. Erskine (ed.), A Companion to the Hellenistic World, Part I chapters 2-6 (2003) 19-102.

A. Kuhrt, ‘Alexander in Babylon’, in: H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, J. W. Drijvers (eds.), Achaemenid History V: The Roots of the European Traditions (1990) 121-130.

G. Shipley, The Greek World after Alexander (2000).

I. Worthington, Alexander the Great: a reader (2003).

M. Austin, The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest, A Selection of Ancient Sources in Translation (2006)