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Unit information: Classical Greece in 2015/16

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Unit name Classical Greece
Unit code CLAS12380
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. D'Costa
Open unit status Open




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

Description including Unit Aims

Later generations looked back to fifth-century Athens as the high point of classical Greece. The radical democracy was at its most confident and Athens’ power in the Mediterranean was at its peak. This course looks at Athens in a period of cultural, intellectual and political ferment. Central themes include the radical democracy, its tensions and its critics; the nature and development of Athenian ‘imperialism’; Athenian drama, its contemporary context and its use for the historian; the Periclean building programme; Athenian public ideology and propaganda; and intellectual developments of the time (sophism, medicine, ‘history’), particularly in their relation to Thucydides. We shall use the rich array of sources bequeathed by the period – epigraphy, art and architecture, political ‘pamphlets’, tragedy, comedy and prose accounts of the past. We shall contrast the situation in Athens with that in other cities and look briefly at the sequel of the fourth century BC.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should:

  • Have a good knowledge of the varied sources available for studying Classical Greece, and have further developed their understanding of the best way to make use of these sources.
  • Have developed a good knowledge of the political and social developments in Classical Greece, and an advanced understanding of how to analyse these.
  • Be able to use the knowledge acquired in lectures and through their own researches to construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments on different aspects of the subject.
  • Have had an opportunity to further develop their skills in oral and written communication, in small groups and general discussion, and in an essay and a written exam.

Teaching Information

Lectures and Seminars.

Assessment Information

  • 1 essay of c. 2,000 words (50%)
  • 1 90 minute exam consisting of 2 essays from a choice of 8 (50%).

Reading and References

Set Text: (available in e-version through the Library catalogue)

  • L.J. Samons (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles (2009)

Reading List:

  • D. Boedeker and K.A. Raaflaub (eds.) Democracy, Empire and the Arts in Fifth-century Athens (1998)
  • S. Hornblower The Greek World 479–323 BC (4th edn 2011)
  • R. Osborne (tr.) The Old Oligarch. Pseudo-Xenophon’s Constitution of the *Athenians (2nd edn 2004)
  • S.V. Tracy, Pericles. A Sourcebook and Reader (2009)