Polybios and the Challenge of Change (CLA3273)

15 credits

Two worlds, one rising and one falling; the Mediterranean a tumult of change in the second century BC as Greece and Rome collide. This was a period that saw dramatic transformations in politics, society, warfare and technology in the wake of an increasingly connected and multi-cultural environment. Polybios’ work not only provides a recording of these events, but also offers up coping strategies with which to deal with these changes. We will look at how the ancient historian interpreted change both first-hand and historically, whether or not he encouraged traditional or innovative action in the face of it, and how he himself was an agent of change. In doing so, we will reflect on the relationship between historians and change more generally, and on how we in a modern world have understood and responded to violent change within world affairs.

Prior knowledge of Polybios and his work is not necessary; there are no pre-requisites or co-requisite module needed to take this course; it is suitable for non-specialists, specialists and interdisciplinary pathways.