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Level 4

4AACCLA1 Classical Culture: An Introduction

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor 2018/19 and 2019/20: Dr Emily Pillinger
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour lecture/seminars
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment 2019/20: 1 x 2,500-word essay (100%)

Assessment pre-2019/20

1 x 2-hour examination (40%), 1 x 2000 word essay (60%)

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

**4AACCLA1 is offered exclusively to Liberal Arts, Study Abroad and other external students. Not available to students in the Department of Classics.**

This module provides first year students in the Liberal Arts programme with an intensive introduction to the cultural highlights of ancient Greece and Rome. Students taking this module do not need any prior knowledge of classical civilisations or of ancient languages, though students with experience in these areas are also very welcome. Lectures equip students with a basic factual knowledge of key Greek and Latin texts, and show how these works relate to the socio-political context in which they were produced. Seminars offer students a chance to explore and discuss selected passages from a wide range of ancient sources.

‘Classical Culture’ is a gateway module: it has been designed to help Liberal Arts students decide if they would like to progress to a major in Classical Studies or Hellenic Studies, and it gives students the grounding needed to major in those disciplines. The module is also suitable for students who plan to major in other subjects, informing and complementing students’ work in areas including modern languages, history, theology and religious studies, comparative literature, and politics.

Students may be interested in combining this module with ‘Introductory Latin’, another Classics module designed specially for Liberal Arts students.   

Lectures will cover topics such as the following:

  • Archaic Greece: ‘song’ culture and the world of heroes
  • Greeks and Barbarians: Athenian identity
  • Drama and Democracy: performance and the Greek city-state
  • Worlds of Words: the power of language in ancient Greece
  • Hellenistic Multiculturalism and Greek literature under the Roman Empire
  • Civil(ian) Wars: the end of the Roman Republic in literature, letters and law
  • Public and Private Lives: Augustan poetry and patronage
  • Epic vs. History: creating the story of Rome’s destiny
  • Spectacle and Society under the Roman Emperors
  • Magic and Mysticism: religion and literature in the Roman Empire

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

  • M. Beard and J. Henderson, Classics: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford 2000)
  • S. Morton Braund, Latin Literature (London 2002)
  • T. Whitmarsh, Ancient Greek Literature (Cambridge 2004)
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