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Level 7

Royal Holloway (RHUL) MA modules

Latin for Research 2

Dr Eduardo Boechat  (RHUL)

Description: A module for students who have completed a beginners' module in Latin, designed to extend their knowledge of the language to the point where they are ready to read substantial texts.

Two in-class one-hour tests in December and March (making up 25% of the grade) and one three-hour unseen written examination (75%).

Comparative Philology

Professor Jonathan Powell (RHUL)

Description: The course aims to provide MA students suitably qualified in Latin and/or Greek with an introduction to the concepts and methods of comparative and historical linguistics as applied to Latin and Greek; to enable them to study in detail the comparative and historical phonology, morphology, and syntax of the classical languages; and to demonstrate the use of these methods in the elucidation of ancient texts. An introduction to the basic concepts and terminology of comparative and historical linguistics will be provided as necessary. The main part of the course will cover comparative Indo-European phonology, morphology and (to a lesser extent) syntax, from the point of view of Latin and Greek, using comparative material from other branches of the Indo-European family, especially Germanic and Indo-Iranian, where appropriate.  The course will deal with the history and affiliations of classical Greek and Latin, and the application of the methods of comparative and historical linguistics to the elucidation of texts in different varieties of Greek and Latin.  Towards the end of the course students will have the opportunity to choose a particular topic on which to do more specialised work, e.g. particular aspects of Latin or Greek linguistic history, Mycenaean Greek, the Homeric poems, Greek dialects, archaic Latin texts, or the Italic languages. (No previous experience of linguistics is expected.) Informal worksheets will be set for the seminars but will not count towards the assessment of the course.

: (1) One three-hour exam during the April/May exam period (50%).  (2) One essay or commentary of 5,500-6,500 words to be submitted in final form by the June deadline (50%).


Professor Ahuvia Kahane (RHUL)

Description: A literary study of the Iliad and Odyssey, with close attention to eight books (four from each of the epics) which are studied in the original Greek. Topics considered will range from the texture of Homeric verse to the ideology of the Homeric poems.

Assessment: Two essays of 4,000 words each and one detailed commentary on the original Greek text (each piece of work worth one third of the marks).

The Ancient Novel

Dr Nick Lowe (RHUL)

Description: A course on Greek and Roman prose fiction, with texts studied in translation.  Principal texts will be Chariton, Chaireas and Callirhoe; Xenephon of Ephesus, Ephesiaca; Longus, Daphnis and Chloe; Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon; Heliodorus, Aethiopica; Petronius, Satyrica; Apuleius, Metamorphoses; Apollonius of Tyre.  Aspects to be studied will include origins and antecedents; genre and audience(s); cultural and literary contexts; narrative form and technique; ecphrasis and excursus; irony, parody, satire, and subversion; love, sexuality and the person; reflections and reinventions of history ethnicity and cultural self-definition in the Hellenistic and Imperial oikoumene; religion and religiosity; intimations of Christianity; and literacy and literary form between roll and codex.

Assessment: Three essays of 4000 words each.

Culture and Identity from Nero to Hadrian

Prof. Richard Alston (RHUL) and Dr Efi Spentzou (RHUL)

Description: The fall of the Roman Republic brought about a change in the cultural values of the Roman state. No longer was Rome a Republic in which it was possible to pretend that all citizens were equal, but now even the most powerful of Roman aristocrats were under the power of the Roman emperor and his servants. The period from the accession of Vespasian to the death of Hadrian saw a re-evaluation of cultural values in this new world . The new literature of the period played with traditional models and reworked them into sometimes disturbing, sometimes challenging, sometimes ironic depictions of contemporary society, either addressing the topic directly (through epistolary writers and historians) but other times indirectly, through the imaginative worlds of the poets. The period is, therefore, a particularly appropriate field of study to explore changes in literary and social convention and discussions about the meaning and purpose of literature and society, about what it is to be a man or woman in that society, and how individuals are to behave in their society. This course follows a variety of themes in literary and social history which come together in this period and draws on a variety of theoretical perspectives to attempt an understanding of being Roman in this crucial period in the evolution of Roman society. The two terms will be split into a term focusing on material in prose (Alston) and poetry (Spentzou).

Assessment: Two essays of 5000-5500 words each.

Religion and the Ancient Greeks

Dr Janett Morgan (RHUL)
Description: This course will explore the evidence for religious behaviour in ancient Greece. As the notion of ‘Greek religion’ implies consistency and commonality, this course will seek to counteract such views by focusing on diversity. Students will examine will examine the evidence for religious behaviour in different eras and at different places in the ancient Greek world. Using evidence from archaeology, architecture, iconography and text, they will explore the relationship between community and god and re-evaluate modern approaches to the study of religion.
The course begins by exploring definitions of religion and the methodologies traditionally applied by scholars of archaeology and history to investigate it.
The course is then divided into four areas of study:

  1. Early Greece – explores aspects of religion from the Minoans to the archaic period. It looks at Minoan iconography and cult places, at the development of temples in the eighth century BC and the relationship between myth and religion
  2. Classical Athens – investigates the relationship between religion and community, looking at the role and definition of polis activities and ‘private’ acts, at festivals, magic and the ability of the system to respond to criticism and change.
  3. Outside Athens – studies the religious evidence from a range of communities in the classical and Hellenistic world including Sparta, Sicily and the East Greek World.
  4. Ptolemaic Religion – looks at the emergence of ruler cult and its use by Hellenistic dynasts. It considers the relationship between god, ruler and community and the evidence for religion and religious change in Alexandria.

Assessment Three essays of 4,000 words.

Greek Law and Lawcourts

Professor Lene Rubinstein (RHUL) 

Description: This course focuses in particular on the Athenian legal system as it operated in a broader social and political context. During the first term, we shall focus primarily on how the courts were structured and on the importance of the popular courts for the Athenian democracy generally. In the second term, we shall concentrate on a number of individual themes, including the structure of the Athenian family unit, inheritance law,  the crimes of sacrilege, violence, murder, and on how the Athenians attempted to regulate individual sexual behaviour. The seminars will centre on individual speeches written for delivery in the Athenian courts, and our discussions will pay particular attention to the rhetorical strategies adopted by Athenian litigants, not least in their attempts to manipulate and subvert the system.

Assessment will be three essays (3.000-4.000 words each).

Archaeology of Athens and Attica

Dr Jari Pakkanen (RHUL) 

Description: The relationship between the centre and the periphery – or Athens and Attica, the city and the demes – is a theme that carries on through the course. We will consider, for example, the following questions: 1.     how are the religious and burial customs reflected in the archaeological record of the smaller communities and Athens? 2.     what types of manifestations did the administration and politics of the polis have in architecture? 3.     how did the city and the demes prepare for time of war? 4.     what were the urban and rural environments like? The first section gives a general introduction and then concentrates on the archaeology of prehistoric Attica. The second section concentrates on the demes: the topics will cover the principal deme settlements and sanctuaries are covered in the, the production sites, the harbours and the fortifications. The third section of the course has its focus on the centre: the Acropolis and its surroundings, the burials at Kerameikos, the civic centres of the Agora and the Pnyx. The final sessions are on the city walls and the long walls and relationship between city planning and private housing.

Assessment: Three essays, each of 4,000 words.

Understanding Pompeii & Herculaneum

Prof Amanda Claridge (RHUL)

Description: In-depth study of the material remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum (and the villas at Stabiae, Oplontis and Boscoreale) and their special value – but also their limitations – as primary sources for archaeologists and cultural historians.  We analyse both the general issues of preservation, excavation, and chronology, and a range of topics relating to the specific types of evidence for which the Vesuvian sites are renowned: the diversity in the size and composition of insula blocks, of individual houses, shops, bakeries, tombs, and bath-buildings, the locations, nature and significance of gardens, of  wallpaintings and mosaic/marble flooring, of fountain-, dining-, bathing- and cooking-installations, of lararia, the locations, forms and functions of portrait images, of animal and mythological sculptures and paintings, and of anthropomorphic furniture and fittings. We also take advantage of the opportunities to compare town, suburb, coast and country, the private and the public, the rich and poor, on their own local terms and in the wider context of Roman Italy.

The course aims to expand your knowledge of the different types of evidence from Pompeii and its sister sites, to give you a fuller understanding of the problems relating to this evidence and its interpretation, and some critical appreciation of recent scholarship on the more contentious issues. Your essays give you the chance to demonstrate such learning outcomes, to acquire the ability to summarise complex material clearly and to handle written, visual and material evidence in addressing specific themes.

Assessment: Three essays, each of 4,000 words.

Elementary Greek Palaeography

Dr Annaclara Cataldi Palau (RHUL)

Description: This is an introductory course in Greek Palaeography addressed to students with either little or no knowledge of Greek, who attend mainly the intercollegiate University of London MA programme in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, and MA Classics, and RHUL MA History: Hellenic Studies, or pursue MPhil/PhD studies in the field of Classical and Byzantine studies. The course concentrates on the study of the Greek minuscule script in the Byzantine period (9th-15th c.). It aims to bring students up to a level where they would be able to transcribe texts from facsimiles of Greek manuscripts, distinguish different styles, comment on the layout and the script, date these manuscripts, and place them in the cultural milieu in which they were produced. The material is adapted each time to the level of the class. In general the course covers simpler minuscule literary hands, nomina sacra, ligatures, abbreviations and symbols.

This one-unit course involves 40-60 hours of teaching and course work (over two terms) mainly transcribing texts from facsimiles of dated manuscripts and commenting on the layout of the text and on the script in class. Weekly transcriptions of, and commentary on, facsimiles of manuscripts are produced by the students, which are returned with corrections and comments. In addition, students produce written assignments (2,500 words each) of progressive difficulty, in the end of the first and second terms, respectively, which are discussed individually.

Assessment: One three-hour unseen written examination.

HS5124 Greek Palaeography

Dr Charalambos Dendrinos

Description: This course, a progression of HS5123 Elementary Greek Palaeography, is addressed to students with good knowledge of classical Greek, who attend mainly the intercollegiate University of London MA programme in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, and MA Classics, and RHUL MA History: Hellenic Studies, or pursue MPhil/PhD studies in the field of Classical and Byzantine studies. It aims to introduce the study of the Greek book and script from the Hellenistic period to the fifteenth century AD.

By the end of the course students should be able to transcribe texts from facsimiles of Greek papyri and manuscripts, distinguish different styles, comment on the layout and the script, place approximate or precise dates, and consider the production of the papyrus or manuscript in the historical and cultural context. The course is taught over two terms. The first term is devoted to the development of the Greek majuscule and early minuscule up to the tenth century AD; the second term considers subsequent developments of the Byzantine minuscule up to the 15th century, including the production of the first fonts for printed Greek books (incunabula).

The course develops a practical skill valuable both in itself, as training in scholarly methods involving accurate and analytical observation and description, and as a tool for the preparation of critical editions of Greek texts. At the same time, it increases students' knowledge of an important aspect of the transmission of classical literature and of the cultural history both of classical antiquity and of the Byzantine era. In general the course covers various literary hands, nomina sacra, ligatures, abbreviations and symbols, as well as tachygraphy and cryptography.

This one-unit course involves 40-60 hours of teaching and course work (over two terms) either in class or iindividually, mainly transcribing texts from facsimiles of dated papyri and manuscripts, and commenting on the layout of the text and the script.

Assessment: Three written assignments (3,500 words each) of progressive difficulty, which involve (a) transcription of text and scholia from facsimiles of papyri and/or manuscripts, (b) identification of the subject, the author, and the scribe; (c) description and/or collation of the layout of the text and scripts, (d) placing of an approximate or precise date for the copying of the papyrus and/or manuscript.

Key bibliography:
  • B. ATSALOS, La terminologie du livre-manuscrit à l'époque byzantine. Première partie: Termes désignant le livre-manuscrit et l'écriture (Thessalonica, 1971)
  • R. BARBOUR, Greek Literary Hands, A.D. 400-1600 (Oxford, 1981)
  • P. CANART, Paleografia e codicologia greca. Una rassegna bibliografica, Littera Antiqua, 7 (Scuola Vaticana di Paleografia, Diplomatica e Archivistica: Vatican City, 1991)
  • G.CAVALLO and H.MAEHLER, Greek Bookhands of the Early Byzantine Period, AD 300-800 (London, 1987)
  • R. DEVREESSE, Introduction à l'étude des manuscrits grecs (Paris, 1954)
  • V. GARDTHAUSEN, Griechische Paläographie (Leipzig, 1879; repr. 1978)
  • B.A. VAN GRÖNINGEN, Short Manual of Greek Palaeography (Leiden, 1967; 4th edn.)
  • H. HUNGER, Schreiben und Lesen in Byzanz (Munich, 1989)
  • La Paléographie grecque et byzantine, Paris 21-25 Octobre 1974, Colloques Internationaux du CNRS, 559 (Paris, 1977)
  • E.K. LITSAS, Σύντομη Εἰσαγωγὴ στὴν Ἑλληνικὴ Παλαιογραφία καὶ Κωδικολογία, vol. II (Plates with selected samples of hands) (Thessalonike, 2001)
  • E. MIONI, Introduzione alla paleografia greca, Università di Padova, Studi bizantini e neogreci, 5 (Paris, 1973)
  • B.M. METZGER, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography (New York-Oxford, 1981)
  • G.K. PAPAZOGLOU, Βυζαντινὴ Βιβλιολογία ἢ Ἐγχειρίδιον Παλαιογραφίας καὶ Κωδικολογίας, Parts I-III (Komotene, 2001)
  • E.M. THOMPSON, An Introduction to Greek and Latin Palaeography (Oxford, 1906; repr. 1975)
  • E.M. THOMPSON, Handbook of Greek and Latin Palaeography (London, 1912; repr. 1965)
  • E.G.TURNER, Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World (Oxford, 1971; rev. edn. 1987)

HS5219 Byzantium and the First Crusade (half unit)

Dr Jonathan Harris (RHUL)

Description: You will trace the response of the rulers of the Byzantine Empire to the First Crusade and the establishment of the Latin East in the years 1095 to 1143. You will focus on the background of Byzantine relations with the West and on events before and after the battle of Mantzikert in 1071. You will also examine a range of Byzantine and Western source materials in translation.

HS5220 Byzantium and the Fourth Crusade (half unit)

Dr Jonathan Harris (RHUL)

Description: You will trace the sequence of events that culminated in the sack of Constantinople by the army of the Fourth Crusade in April 1204, placing them in the context of relations between the Byzantines and previous crusades. Translations of accounts left by contemporaries and eyewitnesses (both Byzantine and Western) will be studied in detail as we try to discover why an expedition that set out with the intention of recovering Jerusalem from Islam ended up capturing and pillaging the greatest city in the Christian world.

City of Rome

Description: TBC

Assessment: TBC

The Greek Built Enviroment

Description: TBC

Assessment: TBC

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