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Hellenistic World (Core Module)

CX 251

Module Coordinator: Clare Rowan

battle_of_issus_mosaicDuring his 13-year rule, the Macedonian king Alexander led one of the most devastating and successful campaigns of military conquest in human history, creating an empire which stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Himalaya Mountains. Through military brilliance and carefully orchestrated diplomacy Alexander was able to keep his extremely diverse empire together. His sudden death in 323 BC, however, led to a series of wars of succession that resulted in the establishment of a number of kingdoms which were ostensibly connected as a cultural network through shared traditions of Greco-Macedonian institutions and the Greek language.
Much like today, the Hellenistic period was a time of innovation, globalisation and cultural connectivity. This module covers aspects of the history and archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East between the reign of Alexander the Great and the death of Cleopatra VII (323-30 BC). Throughout this module we will explore political histories, power structures, cultural developments, economics and shifting ideologies associated with the major Hellenistic kingdoms, ending with the Roman conquest of the eastern Mediterranean region.

This module runs each year.

Background/Summer Reading:

The Hellenistic world is a complex and chaotic period. Students are encouraged to obtain a general overview of historical developments before the academic year begins, since we won't be able to cover everything in detail. A good overview of the history can be found in:

@ Erskine, A. (ed.) (2003). A Companion to the Hellenistic World. Oxford, chapters 2-6.

Errington, R.M. (2008). A History of the Hellenistic World. London. [DE 86.E77]

Green, P. (1993). From Alexander to Actium: the Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age. California, University of California Press [DF 235.G7]

For those who want a bit more reading!

@Bugh, G.R. (2006) 'Introduction', in G.R. Bugh (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World. Cambridge, p. 1-8.

@Bosworth A. B. (2006) 'Alexander the Great and the Creation of the Hellenistic Age', in G.R. Bugh (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World. Cambridge, p. 9-27.

@Erskine A. (2003) 'Approaching the Hellenistic World', in A. Erskine (ed.), A Companion to the Hellenistic World. Malden, p. 1-15.