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Level 6

6AACHI13 Alexander the Great

Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor 2018/19: James Ryan (Semester 1) and Dr Lindsay Allen (Semester 2)
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour lecture (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment:1 x 3-hour exam (100%)

Assessment pattern for single semester Study Abroad students
  • 6AACH13A Alexander the Great: The History (Study Abroad) - Semester 1 only
  • 6AACH13B Alexander the Great: Themes (Study Abroad) - Semester 2 only

A single semester version of the module may be available in certain years to Study Abroad students. Students should check the Study Abroad module catalogue for the relevant year for availability.

Assessment: 1 x 1,500 word gobbet exercise (30%) and 1 x 3,500 word essay (70%)

Assessment pattern for Graduate Diploma students

Assessment: 3 x 3,000-word essay (100%, essays worth 1/3 each)


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.

This module explores the career of Alexander the Great (reigned 336-323 BC), who is one of the most important figures in the history of the ancient world, both because of his achievements and because of his iconic status in subsequent history.  

Narratives of Alexander’s campaigns are usually derived from the works of Greek and Roman historians who wrote several centuries after his death. The study of these texts is an important part of the module, but we will also be looking at documents contemporary with Alexander’s life, including Greek inscriptions and Babylonian texts (all available in translation).

The module examines what we can say about Alexander's life and achievements, including his approach to empire and his religious activities. It also examines his posthumous reputation, from immediately after his death to the present day. As well as ancient evidence, more recent representations of Alexander will be looked at, including those in art, novels and film.

Suggested introductory reading

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

  • Hugh Bowden, Alexander the Great: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2014)
  • Plutarch, Alexander (in Penguin Classics, The Age of Alexander)
  • Arrian, Alexander the Great (Oxford Worlds Classics)
  • Quintus Curtius Rufus, The History of Alexander (Penguin Classics)
  • Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, Book 17 (Loeb Classical Library)
These are set texts (further documents will also be provided). You will be expected to comment on passages taken from them in the exam. The first two items should be read before the start of the module.
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