The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of some of the modules we offer.
Interpreting Ancient Art
In this module you will explore Greek and Roman art in more detail with the aim of gaining a broad overview of visual material from classical antiquity, whilst concentrating on a cross-section of the most famous and talked-about objects and monuments of Greek and Roman culture. You will be introduced to temple-sculpture, statues, wall-paintings, buildings and coins from the 6th Century BC Greek sculptures to the 4th Century AD arch of Constantine in Rome. Material for this module is organised by theme and media rather than in chronological order, starting with topography, sculpture and vase painting. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures each week and five 2-hour seminars over the course of your first year.
Interpreting Ancient History
This module takes you through some of the important historical issues from major periods of Greek and Roman history with an emphasis on the methodological questions raised from ancient source materials and modern debates on those issues. On completion of this module you will have a more detailed knowledge of these important historical issues and clearly understand the evidential basis on which ancient historians rely, as well as an appreciation of how contemporary preoccupations can influence the perspectives of modern practitioners of the discipline and generate debate between them.
Interpreting Ancient Literature
Ancient literature from Homer to late antiquity is studied in this module by focusing on a representative theme. Themes will address issues such as the relationship between literature and society, the working of genres, modern and ancient receptions, the analysis of rhetoric and literary style. Recent themes have been ‘Performance and Persuasion’ and 'Love and War'; some issues treated may include: orality and performance, genre, gender, religion and literature, ritual and performance. For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.
Studying the Greek World
This wide-ranging module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Greek World from 1600BC-31BC; the period from the Bronze Age to the point when Greece becomes part of the Roman Empire; no prior knowledge of the Greek world is required. You will also consider other major chapters of Greece’s history from the Mycenean Period and the Dark Ages, to the rise of the polis in the Archaic period. You will also explore developments in Greek literary and artistic culture as well as consider aspects of the reception of ancient Greece in modern western culture. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week over the course of 10 weeks.
Studying the Roman World
This module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Roman world from the beginnings of the city of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. You will examine many important aspects of Rome’s history such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome. At the same time you will explore developments in Roman literary and artistic culture, and consider aspects of the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture. In addition, you will also examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world which complements the Autumn semester module ‘Studying the Greek World'. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
Independent Second-Year Project
In this module you will have the opportunity to expand your knowledge of the Classical works in an area that interests you, and to experiment with a method of communicating that knowledge which is different from the usual assessment practices of essay-writing, exam writing and seminar-presentation. There are various options in this module including undertaking research which leads to the construction of a database, acquiring a communication method which could be of use in a future career or experimenting using a different medium of communication e.g. video, website. The topic and form of the project chosen must be both approved by the module convener. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, computing sessions and workshops.
Extended Source Study
This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for your third year dissertation. You will be expected to write a 5,000 word essay chosen from a range of worksheet topics, each focusing on a single piece of ancient source material. You will be provided with a topic for investigation, starter bibliography and tips on how to approach the question. The questions will suggest a range of possible approaches from evaluation of historical source material to exploration of literary effects, relationships with other material, discussion of context or reception. A number of seminars and consultation sessions will be help you approach and develop your source study. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture and one 2-hour seminar over a period of 10 weeks.
Classics and Popular Culture
For this module you will explore the reception of ancient Greek and Roman culture in modern popular media such as films, novels, museums, architecture, children’s literature and comics with the aim of understanding how these receptions influence the way Greek and Roman culture is approached, used and questioned. Lectures may focus on the following: classical education for the 18th century, the influences of the Classics on the production and content of modern literature, the establishing of museums, and the use and abuse of the Classics in political and philosophical debate. For this module you will have two 2-hour sessions a week, 15 lectures and workshops and five seminars.
Studying Classical Scholarship
This module focuses on the history and development of the scholarship on ancient Greece and Rome and on specific theories, approaches and methods used by modern scholarship. The aim is to sharpen your engagement with and understanding of secondary literature, as well as giving a deeper appreciation of the ways the ancient world has been appropriated, started in 'Classics and Popular Culture'. Studying the history of scholarship in its socio-political context will show you how the questions we ask depend on the situations we live in; it will also allow you to judge the merits and limitations of scholarly approaches and will develop your skills of research and analysis, as preparation for your 3rd-year dissertation. You’ll spend four hours in lectures and two hours in seminars each week. As with the Extended Source Study, you will choose a work-sheet from an area of Classics that particularly interests you.
Jason and the Argonauts
A cross-medium, cross-genre, cross-cultural perspective on one important myth: Jason and Medea, the quest for the golden fleece, the journey of the first ship, Greek civilisation meets Colchian barbarism. The myth that pre-dates Homer and brings together the famous fathers of Homeric heroes (Peleus, Telamon); the gathering of the marvellous, the semi-divine and the ultra-heroic. A quest that replaces war with love. For this module the central text will be the Hellenistic Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius but a wide range of texts, images and films, Greek, Roman and beyond will be part of the module. Themes include: the Greeks and the other; civilisation and colonisation; Jason and Medea; gender and sexuality (the Lemnian women, Hercules and Hyllas); the nature of heroism (Cyzicus and friendly fire); monsters, marvels and magic. You will have a 1-hour lecture each week and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight.
In this module you will consider the structures and techniques of Athenian Old and New Comedy and how they reflected and influenced the society of their respective periods. Particular attention is paid to the problems of reconstructing the performance from a bare script (often, in the case of New Comedy, a script with considerable gaps). A representative selection of Aristophanes' and Menander's plays are studied in translation. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures every week and one 2-hour seminar every fortnight.
The emperor Constantine (306-337) is regarded as the Roman emperor with the most significant long-term impact.This is partly based on the foundation of his city, Constantinople, as well as his decision to give his support to Christians who were a religious minority at the time. This module aims to try to understand the reasons behind these important decisions of Constantine's, and to place his reign in its wider context - the turmoil experienced by the Roman Empire during the third century, the recovery of stability under the emperor Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, the emergence of the Christian church as a significant feature of the empire's religious landscape, and the new military challenges which the empire faced in the form of Persia and northern barbarian groups. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture each week and one 1-hour seminar each fortnight.
This module considers the genre of literature known as Imperial Biography: that is, biographies written about the Roman Emperors. In particular, it will focus on Suetonius' "Lives of the Caesars" and the anonymous text known as the "Historia Augusta". The module will not only look at the limitations of the genre as a whole in relation to its structure and sources, but it will also look at major themes within the lives and key case studies of specific examples – ranging from physiognomics and appearance, to gender and sexuality, omens and portents, religion and philosophy, administration and empire-building, birth and death scenes and so on - all in relation to specific emperors such as Augustus, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Domitian, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus and Elagabalus. This module has one 1-hour lecture per week and one 1-hour seminar every two weeks.
In this module you’ll be able to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chosen area, to be agreed with your supervisor in advance. The topic should be based on an area you have covered in previous modules. You’ll use the skills that your degree has equipped you with thus far to complete the work required. There will be a mix of contact to achieve this including tutorials, workshops and lectures.
Sparta dominates much of archaic and classical Greek history, and has figured prominently in the thought and imagination of other Western societies from antiquity to the present day. This module will study the historical development of Sparta (in both domestic and external affairs) from the seventh to early fourth centuries B.C. In doing so, it will also engage with the central issues that arise in historical study of Sparta: the peculiarly problematic nature of our evidence; the Spartan social, political, and military system; her subordinate populations; relations between Spartans and others both at home and abroad; the forces behind Sparta's rise and fall as a great power; and the development of the 'Spartan mirage' both in antiquity and in modern times. You will have one 2-hour lecture every week and one 2-hour seminar every other week.
Greek Tragedy: The Myth of Orestes on Stage in the 5th Century BC
This course is designed to serve as an introduction to Greek Tragedy in translation through the examination of one myth in detail: that of the house of Orestes. The course will focus on Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Sophocles’ Electra, Euripides’ Electra and Orestes. These texts contain a number of themes that are typical of tragedy as a whole: inherited guilt, ritual pollution, revenge, kin-killing and the pursuit of suppliants. Furthermore, the course will aim to set tragedy within its broader context, looking at two major areas. The first is the literary context of tragedy; how tragedy was informed by other poetic genres and, in particular, the development of the mythic tradition. Secondly, the module will consider the broader political, social and religious context of Greek tragedy. You will have one 1-hour lecture every week and one 1-hour seminar every fortnight for this module.
Mythological images dominate the Greek and Roman world. What makes their appearance interesting is that they pose a special case for interpretation: as media conveying myths they transmit adventurous and exotic narratives and broadcast religious ideologies; they can become devices of self-representation, of power and hierarchies, and of personal reflection. You will trace the workings of mythological images and explore how they are appropriated and emulated in the different areas of Greek and Roman life, and concentrate on what makes up the specific quality of an image in comparison to a text. In the first semester we will pay attention to individual artistic genres such as vase-painting, wall painting, and mosaics among other genres. In the second semester, you’ll focus on a set of myths and the ways in which they are handled across a variety of periods and genres. In this year-long module you will have one 2-hour class and one 1-hour class every week. The module is a special subject, which means it is discussion-led and based on a member of staff's research.
In this year-long module you’ll examine the ways in which Augustus established his rule over the Roman Empire. You’ll use ancient sources such as texts, inscriptions, coins, art and architecture to do this. Augustus’ impact on society, religion, culture and ideology will also be discussed. For this, you’ll have three hours of seminars weekly.
Encounters with the Supernatural: Religion, Magic and the Greeks
This year-long module investigates the different ways in which ancient Greek men and women interacted with a wide variety of supernatural entities, including gods, heroes, nymphs and the dead. You’ll start by exploring the range of supernatural entities and ways in which relations with the supernatural structured daily life for ancient Greek men and women. You will then investigate key modes of interaction with the supernatural, as well as thinking about how ideas about and approaches to the supernatural varied over time and place. You’ll have three hours of seminars weekly.
Masculinity and Citizenship in Greece and Rome
In this full-year module you’ll use literary and historical material to explore the idea of what it is to be a man and an accepted citizen in ancient Greece and Rome. The module explores how good citizens should behave and what they were expected to look like. You’ll also explore how they represented this citizenship to the rest of the world and how that changed over time. Incorporating elements of gender studies, topics to be covered include homoeroticism and Athenian identity, dress and cultural identity, sexual invective, citizenship and empire, Roman representation in the provinces and women, politics and patronage. You’ll have three hours of seminars weekly.