Greek History in 40 Lives

Module code: AH2044

  • Why are some people remembered and others forgotten by history?
  • How much do we really know about the ‘famous names’ of ancient Greece?
  • How can we reconstruct the lives of ‘ordinary’ Greeks?
  • Which modern scholars have influenced whose lives we study?

This module explores Greek history through the lives of forty men and women, from a variety of backgrounds and from different periods and places, beginning in Late Archaic Greece (c. 700 BC) and ending with the Greek-speaking parts of the Roman Empire (c. AD 200). Some are famous historical figures, others are not. The course examines the source materials we have for building biographies, including literary texts, inscriptions, coinage and sculpture, and encourages questions about who is remembered by history, and why.

Topics covered

  • Fame and posterity
  • Artists and writers
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Physical and mental disability
  • Kings, Queens and civic figures
  • Children and their carers
  • Famous scholars and their influence on Greek history
  • Using skeletons, texts, coins, statues and inscriptions to build biographies
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