CAH1012 : West meets East: Greek History and Society, 776-371 BC

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


This module aims 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 defeat of Sparta
in the Battle of Leuctra (371BC).
• 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.
• Foster core skills in using and evaluating primary evidence.
• 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 776-371BC. 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); the causes of Sparta’s defeat and the rise of Thebes.

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 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.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All exchange students at Newcastle University including Erasmus, study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola are warmly encouraged to do the same assessment as the domestic students unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered 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, students need to discuss it with their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them.

Students who opt for the alternative assessment because they will have to leave Newcastle University before the assessment period (excluding Erasmus students, who are contractually obliged to be at Newcastle until the end of the semester) should hand in their 3000-word essays before they go away. If this is not possible, they should tell the School exchange coordinator that they are going to submit the School Office ( Any essay received after the deadline will be considered as a late submission.

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.