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Submission deadlines

Essays must be submitted by 12.00 noon on Tuesday 19 November 2013 (autumn term) and Monday 3 February 2014 (spring term). Essays must be submitted via the e-submission system (link on the right-hand menu). Students need to print the electronic receipt and submit it along with the hard copy of their essay in room 222 (Departmental office) by 12.00 noon.

Essay titles

All essay titles, along with bibliography, are available in the module booklet downloadable here.

Essay titles for the autumn term: see module booklet, where illustrations are provided where relevant.

Essay titles for the spring term (see module booklet for bibliographies):

1) What’s new about Hellenistic poetry?

2) How did Hellenistic monarchs use art and architecture to promote their regimes?

3) Was there such a thing as the ‘Hellenistic economy’?

4) How satisfactory are the Stoic and Epicurean philosophies as guides for how to live life?

5) In what ways was coinage used by the Ptolemaic dynasty for political and economic gain?

6) What made Alexandria a special place to learn, teach and research on medicine in the Hellenistic period?

7) “A Greek city called Rome” (Plutarch, Life of Camillus, 22.2): Discuss.

8) “The conqueror became the conquered”. How best, if at all, does this statement describe the consequence(s) of Rome’s imperial expansion into the Hellenistic World?

9) What do you think is the most important characteristic of Hellenistic religious practice and why? Important note: DO NOT choose to answer this question if in term 1 you answered essay question 1


The key point to remember is that you are NOT supposed to present ‘the right answer’ to the question, with ‘illustrative’ material from ancient sources and modern authors, but TO PRESENT YOURSELF AS INVESTIGATING A RIGHT ANSWER TO THE QUESTION, gathering relevant data interpreting it, comparing modern scholars’ interpretations, analysing how those interpretations were arrived at, how and why they differ, and finally drawing your own conclusions. Every page should have a couple of references, at the very least, to ancient or modern authors. There should be few claims which are not supported by references.

Criteria for Assessment

1. Presentation: Marks will be awarded for good English expression; points will be deducted for poor presentation, including poor grammar and spelling. Marks will be awarded for correct presentation of footnotes and bibliography [for which see Departmental Guide to Essay-Writing, a relevant excerpt from which is appended below].

2. Clarity of analysis: Marks will be awarded for work which is organised coherently on the basis of arguments and deducted for work which is incoherent or presents a mass of amorphous material. The case the student is arguing should be clear to the assessor in every paragraph - don't fall automatically into a chronological arrangement of your material, or a line by line examination of a text, unless you are making a specific point, narrowly argued, about development or change over time.

3. Primary data: Marks will be awarded for good use of a range of ancient texts and other materials – inscriptions, images, coins, archaeology etc. - and deducted for unsubstantiated arguments and opinions. Marks will be awarded for pertinent quotation and for thoughtfulness about its usefulness as evidence. Don’t use quotations of primary materials or images merely as illustrations. Think about what contribution they make to your argument, what role they play as evidence, where the producers of the text or artefact are 'coming from'.

4. Secondary material: Marks will be awarded for isolating the main issues and debates in modern scholarship on the subject. Marks will be deducted for overdependence on a single unquestioned modern authority. Think also about where modern scholars are 'coming from', e.g. by reading reviews of their work from JSTOR, bmcr, or Project Muse.

5. Originality and Sophistication: Marks will be awarded for thoughtfulness, well-founded scepticism and original ideas which attempt to surpass the issues and debates found in modern discussions in order to take the argument in a new direction.

Presentation of footnotes and bibliography

Here, to remind you, is an important excerpt from the Departmental Guide to Essay-Writing with my additional comments:

  • Greek names

Consistency in the translation of Greek names:
either use a Latinised form (eg Aeschylus) (this is the more common practice)
or possibly transliterate names (eg Aiskhylos)

[My advice: just stick to the Latinised names]

  • Footnotes

Footnotes/endnotes: these should acknowledge with accurate references both primary sources and secondary modern works - not just works directly cited, but ones that inform the argument too. The required format for references to an ancient source in the original, an ancient source in translation, a book, and journal article is as follows:

  • Tacitus, Annals, 1.52; Arrian 7.4.4 (always indicate book, chapter, and section)

  • Bowman (1994) 93 or Shotter (1996) p.30

[My advice: simplest is to use author + short title of article or book, plus page number, in your footnotes, and then to give full reference in bibliography. YOU MUST cite individual authors of the articles/essays you have found in collections, and THAT INCLUDES articles in Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, such as the OCD, Brill's New Pauly. Don't just give the editors of the essay-collection or the name of the Dictionary; look up the initials of the person who wrote the particular article you are referencing; it is not so arduous!]

  • Bibliography

Assessed and non-assessed essays should include a bibliography of works cited. Ancient sources cited in the original do not need an entry. Otherwise, the format is as follows for ancient source in translation, book, journal article, and chapter in multi-authored volume:

  • Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, trans. R. Graves (Penguin Classics: Harmondsworth 1978)

  • Bowman, A.K., Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier (British Museum: London 1994)

  • Shotter, D.C.A., ‘Recent finds of Roman coins in Cumbria’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society 96 (1996) 27-33

  • Purcell, N., ‘The Roman villa and the landscape of production’, in Urban Society in Roman Italy, eds T. J. Cornell and K. Lomas (University College London Press: London 1995) 150-79

As a general rule, the title of a book or journal should appear in italics; the title of a journal article, or individual chapter in an edited, multi-author, volume should appear "like this". Page numbers are required for articles and chapters.

[My advice: Look carefully at the examples above. If you prefer, you can just give place of publication and year; name of publisher is useful but not necessary. Ask me if you have any queries.]


Essays should be returned to students within four working weeks or at the beginning of the following term. The marked copy of an assessed essay is retained by the Office. Electronic feedback will be made available to students once marks have been finalized and recorded. Essays will be handed back individually in 10-minutes feedback tutorials, when there will be a chance to discuss them. It is essential that students attend these tutorials. Keep a copy of your essay, and re-read it before your feedback session, as well as the electronic feedback. You will also find it helpful when re-reading your essay to complete the departmental ‘Essay checklist’ template, which can be found online and on the last page of your module booklet, and which will help you to understand how you can improve your work (click on the right-hand menu).