Approaching the Greek World

Module code: AR1702

What, where, and when was ancient Greece? Unlike the Roman world, held together by common state structures, the ancient Greek world was far more fragmented and diverse: a world of hundreds of independent city-states, frequently at war with each other, but sharing language, religious practice, and a sense of belonging. What held it together? What kept it apart?

These and other questions are addressed in this introductory module. The module assumes no prior knowledge but will give you the skills to begin using ancient evidence to reach your own conclusions about Greek history and society between the end of the Bronze Age and the reinvention of writing and the generations after Alexander’s death.

Core learning materials include a range of evidence types from ancient books, poems, inscriptions, and plays to the data provided by archaeology. These materials will give you a carefully structured narrative (arranged through time) while also focusing on key themes (across periods) such as politics and religion. The course is delivered through recorded weekly lectures by our expert Greek historians, guided readings, and self-assessment exercises, all designed to impart core academic skills while fostering your passion for history. There are two different assessments in this module, a poster presentation that will allow you to weave visual and textual evidence together, and an essay that will ask you to explore a key facet of the Greek past in depth.

Some of the topics covered include:

  • The rise of Spartan military power
  • Early Greek tyrants
  • The creation and evolution of Athenian democracy
  • The wars with the Persian empire
  • The great wars between Athens and Sparta
  • The rise of Macedonia & the conquests of Alexander
  • Monumental architecture
  • The Greek alphabet and inscriptions
  • Pottery and the Symposion
  • Myth and religion
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