CX251-30 The Hellenistic World 323 - 31BC
This module covers aspects of the history and archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East between the reign of Alexander the Great and the death of Cleopatra VII (323-30 BC). Throughout this module we will explore political histories, power structures, cultural developments, economics and shifting ideologies associated with the major Hellenistic kingdoms, ending with the Roman conquest of the eastern Mediterranean region.
The dramatic reign of Alexander the Great (336-323) transformed the Greek world, which had now expanded to stretch from Afghanistan to Egypt and Italy. The empire of Alexander rapidly fragmented into four major kingdoms, which competed at a religious and cultural level as well as in the more obvious military conflicts. This module investigates the development of these Successor States, paying attention to artistic, literary and intellectual developments as well as to the economic and political organisation of the different units, and the gradual encroachment of the barbarian Roman conquerors from the west. Students are encouraged to develop their skills in analysing and interpreting ancient evidence.
This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.
Autumn Term (indicative syllabus)
Week 1 Introduction, sources, and context/Storytelling
Week 2 Alexander
Week 3 After Alexander: Settlements and Kingdoms
Week 4 Ptolemaic Egypt
Week 5 Seleucid Asia
Week 6 Reading Week
Week 7 Seminar 1 – Digital Storytelling
Week 8 Antigonid Greece
Week 9 Seminar 2 – Digital Storytelling
Week 10 Attalid Pergamon
Week 1 The Romans and the Twilight of the Hellenistic World
Week 2 Hellenistic Rulers and Kingship
Week 3 Seminar 3 – Hellenistic Coinage
Week 4 Hellenistic Athens § Week 5 Seminar 4 – Nationalism and the Tombs at Vergina
Week 6 Reading Week
Week 7 Hellenistic Religion
Week 8 Hellenistic Art and Architecture
Week 9 From Epic to Epigram
Week 10 The Hellenistic West
Week 1 The Hellenistic World Review
Week 2 Exam Preparation
By the end of the module, students should be able to:
- Students will gain an understanding of the complex and diverse nature of the evidence from which the study of Hellenistic culture and history is constructed, and an appreciation of how the Hellenistic world helped shape the Roman world and beyond. The main themes are history, literature, art, archaeology, religion and philosophy.
- Students will gain an ability to analyse and critically assess a range of primary and secondary source material.
Indicative reading list
The Hellenistic world is a complex and chaotic period. Students are encouraged to obtain a general overview of historical developments before the academic year begins, since we won't be able to cover everything in detail. Good overviews of the history and culture of this period can be found in:
- Austin, M. 2006. The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest. A Selection of Ancient Sources in Translation (2nd edition). Wiley.
- Bugh, G.R. (ed.). 2006. The Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World. Cambridge.
- Chaniotis, A. 2018. Age of Conquests: The Greek World from Alexander to Hadrian (336 BC – AD 138). Profile.
- Errington, M. 2008. A History of the Hellenistic World, 323-30 BC. London.
- Erskine, A. (ed.). 2003. A Companion to the Hellenistic World. Malden.
- Green, P. 1993. From Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age. Oakland.
- Pollitt, J.J. 1986. Art in the Hellenistic Age. Cambridge.
- Shipley, G. 2000. The Greek World after Alexander 323-30 BC. Routledge.
- Thonemann, P. 2016. The Hellenistic Age. Oxford.
- Walbank, F.W., A.E. Astin, M.W. Frederiksen and R.M. Ogilivie eds. 1984. Cambridge Ancient History Volume 7.1 The Hellenistic World. Cambridge.
- Walbank, F.W., A.E. Astin, M.W. Frederiksen and R.M. Ogilivie eds. 1988. Cambridge Ancient History Volume 7.2 The Rise of Roman to 220BC. Cambridge.
- Walbank, F.W. 1992. The Hellenistic World (3rd edition) Fontana Press.
- Waterfield, R. 2011. Dividing the Spoils. The War for Alexander’s Empire. Oxford.
Subject specific skills
Upon completion of the module, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the chronology, geography, and institutional structures of the Hellenistic world.
- Demonstrate skills in the evaluation of primary source material and secondary literature.
- Individually, and as a member of a team, research, analyse and contextualise relevant information and evidence from primary and secondary sources in the form of a structured argument.
- critical thinking
- problem solving
- active lifelong learning
- teamwork and working effectively with others
- ICT literacy
- Information literacy
|Lectures||42 sessions of 1 hour (14%)|
|Seminars||4 sessions of 1 hour (1%)|
|Tutorials||2 sessions of 1 hour (1%)|
|Practical classes||3 sessions of 1 hour (1%)|
|Private study||249 hours (83%)|
Private study description
No private study requirements defined for this module.
No further costs have been identified for this module.
You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.
Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.
Assessment group C1
One object study during the Autumn term of up to 2,500 words
|Essay or Digital Story||25%|
Students can choose between a 3,000-word written essay or a 3-minute piece of digital storytelling (along with a fully referenced and polished version of the written text), held in term 2.
Digital Storytelling Assessment Criteria
The intended assessment is for a second-year core module, and so the following criteria are for second year undergraduate students.
|2 hour online examination (Summer)||50%|
A 2-hour exam.
Feedback on assessment
Individual tutorials (all) and Tabula feedback sheets (for assignments)
This module is Core for:
- Year 2 of UCXA-VV16 Undergraduate Ancient History and Classical Archaeology
- Year 2 of UCXA-VV17 Undergraduate Ancient History and Classical Archaeology (Part-Time)
- Year 2 of UCXA-VV18 Undergraduate Ancient History and Classical Archaeology with Study in Europe
- Year 2 of UCXA-Q820 Undergraduate Classical Civilisation
- Year 2 of UCXA-Q8V7 Undergraduate Classical Civilisation with Philosophy
- Year 2 of UCXA-Q821 Undergraduate Classical Civilisation with Study in Europe
This module is Core option list A for:
- Year 1 of UCXA-Q82P Undergraduate Classical Civilisation
This module is Option list A for:
- Year 2 of UCXA-Q800 BA in Classics
- Year 2 of UCXA-Q802 Undergraduate Classics (Latin) with Study in Europe
This module is Option list B for:
- Year 2 of UPHA-V7Q8 Undergraduate Philosophy with Classical Civilisation