Hellenistic Culture and Society - Literature (CLAM103)

StaffDaniel King - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to provide a framework for critical discussion of major literary 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. Develop an understanding and appreciation of the qualities of our written and material evidence for the Hellenistic and Romano-Greek worlds.
  • 2. Work critically with 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 significance; to draw independent inferences about the relationship of myth to its cultural and historical context; to reflect critically on the origins, development and significance of traditional stories in one's own and another culture.
  • 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 and 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

An indicative list of topics is:

1. The Mouseion at Alexandria; libraries and the literary archive

2. Callimachus the scholar-poet

3. Alexandrian epicĀ 

4. Theocritus and pastoral poetry 5. Herodas’ Mimiambs.

The structure of the module will be confirmed by the tutor.

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 & Teaching activities15 hoursIntensive Seminar and reading group teaching
Guided independent study135 hoursStudents working independently & 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
EssayEssay1-8Refer/Defer period
PresentationEssay1-5, 7-8Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

All texts to be confirmed by tutor.

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.

A. Erskine (ed.) Blackwell Companion to the Hellenistic World, 2003.

E.S. Gruen, The Hellenistic Kingdoms and the Coming of Rome (Berkeley, 1984).

K. Gutzwiller, A guide to Hellenistic literature (Oxford, 2007).

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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Available as distance learning?


Origin date

Feb 2013

Last revision date


Key words search

Hellenistic, Alexander the Great