From the Grand Tour to Gladiator: Modern Encounters with the Ancient World: Context (HIH3171)

30 credits

The classical world has long been central to Western Culture. This module explores the history of the western fascination with antiquity in a wide variety of social, political and cultural contexts, such as the poetry of Byron, Hollywood film, race science, classical scholarship, approaches to the teaching of Greek and Latin, fascist architecture, the Olympic games, archaeological museums, guidebooks, Pompeian novels and imperial rhetoric. We will chart the place of the ancient world in many of the major events and developments that have taken place in the West since 1750 – among others: the rise of European nationalism, the Romantic movement, the abolition of slavery, the rise and fall of the British Empire, the history of modern democracy, the invention & development of cinema, the Grand Tour & the rise of tourism, Fascism, the founding of the disciplines of Art History and of Archaeology, changes in the education system. Our central questions are: how has Western history drawn upon ideas about and images of the Classical Past; and what purpose do such varied (re)configurations of the past serve?