CAH1012 : West Meets East: Greek History and Society 776-404BC

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Joseph Skinner
  • Owning School:
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aims of this module are:

- to acquaint you with the history of the Greek world from 776 BC, the traditional date for the first Olympic Games
and thus the ‘beginning’ of Greek history, until the fall of the Athenian democracy (404BC).
- to enable you to engage critically with scholarship dealing with the central historical questions of that period, a
crucial part of your training as either a classicist or historian.
- to foster core skills in using and evaluating primary evidence.
- to provide you with a secure foundation for the study of ancient Greek history.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will provide you with a broad introduction to history of the Archaic and Classical Greek world during the period 776-404BC. Key political events in mainland Greece and the Aegean will be set in their wider context: a world shaped by mobility and exchange that extended from the Pillars of Herakles (the Rock of Gibraltar) to the North Pontic shore (modern Ukraine).

Topics covered include: the origins and nature of Greek identity, art and culture; Greek settlement overseas; contact and interaction with non-Greeks; political thought; the origins, development and internal workings of the Greek city state; Greek society (slavery, religious belief, sexuality); the economy; the Persian Wars; the Delian League and the road to empire; Athenian democracy; Sparta; The Peloponnesian War; Athens’ downfall and its immediate aftermath (the trial and execution of Socrates).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion751:0075:0045% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading751:0075:0045% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Class discussions/close reading of set texts
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork12:002:00Museum Visit
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study141:0014:0010% of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce you to key historical topics and how to approach them. Lectures are not merely intended to provide you with answers. Instead, they will provide you with the knowledge and skills that will enable you to both formulate and answer your own questions. Your listening and note-taking skills will play a key role in this process. The class discussions are an opportunity for you to develop your understanding dynamically, e.g. by engaging in discussion of how you should go about addressing historical questions, the relative merits of different types of evidence or approach to the sources or by gaining clarification of any points that you do not understand. In doing so you will develop your analytical skills, oral communication skills and your ability to work as part of a team.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A75The exam consists of 2 gobbets and one essay question.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M251500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The workshop assignment assesses knowledge and understanding of the texts set for the module, the ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject, and the ability to expound and criticize a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space.

The unseen examination tests the students’ acquisition of a clear, general and overall knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

ERASMUS students at Newcastle have the option of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of domestic students. If they wish to take up this option, they need to discuss it with the module leader. It remains the case that, if an ERASMUS student wishes to do the same assessment as the domestic students, that option remains open to them. No variation of the deadlines will be allowed except on production of medical or equivalent evidence.

Study Abroad students (i.e. non-EU exchange students) are required to complete the normal assessment under all circumstances.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.