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Outline


Organisation

The course consists of one 2-hour session each week (Tuesdays form 13.00-15.00) in Library 2 (Excepting the first lecture in term 1, which will be in S0.20 (the Social Sciences building)) and seminars which are spread out in the term (Weeks 3, 5 and 8). Regular attendance at lectures and seminars is strongly advised since these are designed to introduce students to the key themes of the module, to highlight important evidence and its problems, and to clarify the issues which form the substance of modern scholarly debate. Of greatest importance, lectures are a chance for you to see the materials and participate in the discussions regarding the limitations of sources. This is essential to forming your thoughts and opinions for the essays and the exam (something that cannot be achieved by merely borrowing notes or a handout).

Module aims and objectives

This course will use the examination of primary and secondary sources as a method of developing the vital skill of analysis. In lectures, essays and on the final exam, you are expected to reach your own general conclusions through a thoughtful and discriminating use of the evidence provided. It will quickly become apparent in this course that there are few "right answers" and even fewer truths. The difference between a good answer and a bad one lies in the case you make, your treatment of the evidence, and your presentation of the argument. The course and lectures have been designed to provide a clear chronological framework of the main historical periods in the Ancient World with the following objectives:

1.) To understand the development of the ancient world from the time when the polis was beginning to emerge as the most significant unit of social organisation to the domination of the Mediterranean by the Roman imperial state.

2.) To understand how different types of government evolved over time in various places from city-states such as Athens and Sparta to the city of Romeand the outlying areas of its Empire.

3.) To appreciate both the similarities and distinctions between the ancient world and our own.

4.) To introduce students to various types of evidence for Ancient History: primary sources of literature, archaeological and epigraphic materials, as well as modern scholarship and to the problems in exploiting this evidence, with the aim of understanding both the benefits and the limitations of these sources.

5.) To develop skills in the acquisition and analysis of historical evidence, in the articulation of questions and theories based on this evidence, and in the presentation of conclusions in a clear and comprehensible form.