Hellenistic Culture and Society - History (CLAM102)

StaffDr Emma Nicholson - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

  • The module aims to provide a framework for critical discussion of major historical and cultural themes in the post-Classical period, extending from Alexander the Great to a Hellenistic World under Roman dominance.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand and appreciate the qualities of our written and material evidence for the Hellenistic and Romano-Greek worlds
  • 2. Analyse literary and documentary evidence, and to use them in effective combination as a tool of historical analysis and reconstruction

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Collate and analyse widely different types of evidence, much of which is incomplete and ambiguous in its significanceCollate and analyse widely different types of evidence, much of which is incomplete and ambiguous in its significance
  • 4. Draw independent inferences about the relationship of myth to its cultural and historical context
  • 5. Reflect critically on the origins, development and significance of traditional stories in one's own and another culture

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Apply key bibliographical skills, the latest forms of information retrieval, as well as word-processing skills
  • 7. Think autonomously and analytically on the basis of written and visual sources and secondary literature; to construct and defend a sustained argument (both in written form and orally)
  • 8. Work with instructor and peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way

Syllabus plan

The course’s aim is to delve into detailed case-studies and thus to explore this vibrant and changing period in as many of its different facets as possible. Some topics might include life in and between Hellenistic cities, the interaction between rulers and communities, local experiences in regions with strong indigenous cultures and recent transformations due to the political changes, as well the impact of the coming of Rome.

These thematic weeks will be interwoven with weeks which focus on specific reading skills, ranging from an introduction to and study of epigraphic and numismatic evidence, literary sources and material culture.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching15Intensive seminar and reading group teaching
Guided independent study135Working independently and in groups in preparation for seminars and essays

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay804000 words1-8Mark; written and oral comment
Oral presentation2015-20 mins1-5, 7-8Mark; written and oral comment

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-8Referral/Deferral period
PresentationEssay1-5, 7-8Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • M. M. Austin, The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest [sources in translation], second ed, 2006 [The first 1981 edition is excellent, however, since the numbering for the enlarged second edition was changed you really should work with the 2006 texts; there is also a useful concordance at the back of the volume]
  • G. R. Bugh, the Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World, 2006.
  • Erskine (ed.) Blackwell Companion to the Hellenistic World, 2003.
  • E.S. Gruen, The Hellenistic Kingdoms and the Coming of Rome (Berkeley, 1984).
  • J. Ma, Antiochos III and the cities of Western Asia Minor, 1999 [there is an addendum in the 2002 paperback edition]
  • M.I. Rostovtzeff, Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic world (Oxford, 1941).
  • G. Shipley, The Greek World after Alexander 323-30 BC, 2000.
  • R.J. A. Talbert, the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman world (Princeton, 2000).

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Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date

Feb 2013

Last revision date


Key words search

Hellenistic, Rulers, Communities