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Level 5

5AACHI21 Writing History I: the Ancient Near East and Greece

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Lindsay Allen
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2 hour classes
Availability: Please see module list  for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 4000 word essay (85%); 1 x in-class gobbet test (15%)

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.

What were the earliest forms of history, of recording and writing about the past? When and where were they written, for whom, and why?

This module introduces students to a range of ancient historical writing from the near east, classical Greece and the Hellenistic world. It will begin by looking at the emergence of writing and record-keeping in the ancient near east, and at the kinds of stories about the past so recorded. It will then examine the major historians of the Greek world and their connections with and divergence from other genres such as poetry and myth, and logography. Students will read selections, in translation, of the major historical works, and learn to analyse their key features in terms of content, sources, structure and style. They will explore why and for whom ancient historians wrote history. Key contextual issues such as the relation of literate and literary culture to orality, and the transmission of texts will be considered. 

Suggested introductory reading

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

A. Erskine, A Companion to Ancient History (2009)

S. Hornblower (ed.), Greek Historiography (1994)

J. Marincola (ed.), A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography, 2 vols (2007)

N. Morley, Writing Ancient History (1999)

L. Pitcher, Writing Ancient History: An Introduction to Classical Historiography(2010)

D. Snell (ed.), A Companion to the Ancient Near East  (2005)

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