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Level 4

4AACHB01 Receptions of the past: the Hellenic world from antiquity to today

Credit value: 15
Module tutor/convenor 2018/19: Dr Vicky Manolopoulou & Professor Gonda Van Steen
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Dr Dionysios Stathakopoulos & Professor Gonda van Steen
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour lectures (weekly) & 10 x 1-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 1.5 hour examination (50%); 1 x essay of 2,000 words (50%)

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

Assessment for Semester 1 only Study Abroad students (when module runs in Semester 1)

Assessment: 1 x 1.5 in-class test (50%); 1 x essay of 2,000 words (50%)

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

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.

Is the past ever really past or does it shape the present in various and changing ways? By assigning meaning to historical events, all societies retrospectively try to make sense of the past and in so doing make it meaningful for their present. This process is nowhere more evident than in the long story of the reception of ancient Greek (Hellenic) civilization through the middle ages and the modern period, down to the post-2010 crisis in Greece and the European Union. We are now used to a specific, very positive reading of ancient Greek history, but this view has undergone many changes in the more than two millennia that separate this period from today. Throughout history studying Classical Greece was one of the fixed and pervasive points of reference: ancient Greece was seen as exemplary case of human culture to be either emulated or condemned. The sum of these responses and receptions do not reveal so much about ancient Greece than they do about those later societies and their reception of the past.

This module explores the reception of Classical Greece from the post-classical period to the twenty-first century. It is intended to survey changing perceptions of the ancient world through a variety of political uses of ancient Greece, or artistic and literary responses in subsequent historical periods within the geographical and linguistic realm of Greece. The module aims to introduce students to the important topic of reception history as well as to materials and methodologies that are necessary for the study of ancient, Byzantine and Modern Greek history, including literary and material evidence.

Suggested introductory reading

There is no textbook for this module, but relevant material will be placed on KEATS from a variety of sources, both primary and secondary.  

Good introductions on the reception of the Classical past:

  • M. Beard, The Parthenon, (Cambridge MA, 2003)
  • M. Beard & J. Henderson, Classics: a very short introduction (Oxford, 1995)
  • Beaton, Roderick, Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation (Penguin Random House, 2019)

The last book is a volume which is monumental and will be one of our constant companions.

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