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Introduction to Greek & Roman History

CX 102 SUMMER READING recommendations for the CLASS OF 2018/2019 is at the bottom of this page!

Module Co-ordinator: Dr Abigail Graham, (,

Office hours: 12-1pm Thursday and 11-12pm Friday. If you have an urgent query please contact me by email as this is fastest way to get a response and/or to make an appointment.

Module Lecturers: Dr Abigail Graham (Autumn, Spring & Summer Terms), Dr. Hannah Mitchell (Spring Term), Naomi Careless Unwin (Autumn)

The lecture will take place on Fridays from 12-2 pm in MS. 04 (Math & Statistics Building).

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.

** KEY ADVICE for students attending this course**

The course website is the most accessible and "up to date" component of the course.Everything you need to know about lectures (Syllabus, lecture powerpoints), Formal Essays (questions, guidelines, deadlines), Seminars (dates, assginments, advice), Bibliographies and much more, is on the course website (listed on the upper task bar). Please read ALL this information carefully (before you contact the lecturer with a query on the aforementioned topics). You are responsible for knowing all this information, regardless of whether the university webnet crashes, as it can, the night before an essay is due. Beware the fickle nature of technology and read, copy and/or print out relevant dates and information!

Recommended (Summer) Reading:

Please bear in mind that both of these books are introductory texts, they are not authoritative or specialist works. Apart from an opening discussion or a segue to more detailed reading , these works should be a primary resource in researching lecture materials OR writing formal essays.

The transition from school to university can be challenging. For those who do not have a broad base in history (for the entire classical world) R.L. Fox's Classical World (2006) is a useful place to start, it blends Greek & Roman well (from the start of the book) and has good maps, a bibliography and an index. Though chronological, this book also tackles social, political, religious and historical topics in different chapters. For a background in discussion and debates, as well as useful footnotes and a bibliography (so you can see how and where Fox has got his ideas), it is an excellent place to start, especially in the Greek world, in which Fox is a world leading scholar.

For the Roman world and Roman history (which dates back well into most of the Greek history period) there is a book that I have recently published, The Romans (2014) with three chapters (in particular) on Roman History, from Early Rome to the Imperial period (and beyond). This book is designed to develop your skills in interacting directly with ancient evidence and there are online case studies of different sources (sculpture, archaeology, inscriptions, historical and literary sources) that will allow you, in each chapter, to examine certain objects in greater detail. The book and the online resources (papers and powerpoints) illustrate research based analysis, so for the many who ask "what are you looking for in a university essay?", these resources can demonstrate the kind of analysis we expect in conducting research for essays and lecture consolidation. Since I wrote this book with my history lectures in mind, it also tends to provide further links and discussions to materials we cover in class...

R.L. Fox's Classical World (2006) Penguin.

For Early Roman History see also A. Kamm & A. Graham The Romans (2014) Routledge. *this book also has a companion website with helpful case studies: Romans website