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Introduction to Greek & Roman History

This module is intended as an introduction to central themes in Greek and Roman history from the Greek Archaic Period to the beginning of the Roman Empire under Augustus (AD 14). In the first term the module covers the Archaic (800-500), Classical (500-323), and the Early Hellenistic (323-275) periods of Greek history, during which the Greeks developed political processes (e.g. democracy, laws and foreign policy), ethical values (e.g. liberty, nationalism) and intellectual methods (e.g. philosophical analysis) and imagery (art, architecture, and a written alphabet) which are still influential today. Students are introduced to the main types of evidence for ancient history and to various modern methodologies. No previous knowledge of classical languages or ancient history is assumed. Also covered in the first term is the early history of Rome, the emergence of the Roman consitution, and the birth of the Republic. Term 2 focuses on Roman history and the Roman Republic (where Greek culture, the Greek world and Greek historians continue to play a key role) from the 4th century BC until the birth of the Roman Empire under Augustus. Please note that while the module Greek Culture and Society runs at a parallel time period (term 1), the Roman Culture and Society module is based in the Roman Imperial period (27 BC-ca. 250 AD) with only the reign of Augustus as a common feature. While we encourage interaction between modules, please be careful using materials from the Roman Republic in the Roman Culture and Society module.

While the approach is thematic, the module is also intended to provide a broad chronological understanding of the ancient world, including how different cities related to each other, in terms of government, trade, and social values. For example, who is the greater leader: Pericles, Alexander, or Caesar (two have movies and mini-series, but don't be fooled.....)? Whose governmental reforms do you prefer, those of Kleisthenes or the Gracchi? Who would you rather be, a citizen of Rome, Athens or Sparta? What mode of government do you think is most effective, a democracy, a tyranny or an oligarchy? We will analyse evidence and experience history, through re enactments of battles, key political events, and systems of government (A Spartan Assembly, A Day in a Roman Court with Cicero). This module (in seminars especially) will also address a number of study skills in consolidating lecture materials, analysing different types of evidence, crafting an argument, and presenting ones ideas to a larger group.

This module runs every year.