Module Catalogue 2019/20

CAH2006 : Hellenistic Empires from Alexander to Cleopatra

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr John Holton
  • Lecturer: Dr Joseph Skinner, Dr Matthew Haysom
  • Teaching Assistant: Miss Daisy-Alys Vaughan
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment

NONE

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

NONE

Aims

This module aims to introduce students to historical developments across the ancient Greek and near eastern worlds in the fourth to first centuries BC. This period covers the conquests of Alexander the Great in 336-323 BC and the rise and fall of the Hellenistic empires (principally the Antigonid, Seleucid, and Ptolemaic) down to the collapse of the Ptolemaic kingdom, under Cleopatra VII, in 30 BC. Recurrent thematic focuses across this module principally (but not exclusively) include:

• structures and strategies of ancient imperialism (Greek, Macedonian, near eastern);
• relations between different cultural groups (Greeks, Macedonians, Persians, Egyptians, Babylonians, etc.);
• power, agency, and dynamics of interaction between political actors of differing statuses;
• social and cultural issues, such as identity and belonging, from the elite to the masses;
• continuity and change in the eastern Mediterranean and ancient near east in the 4th-1st centuries BC;
• long-term and short-term perspectives on historical processes, and how the historian can integrate these.

Underpinning the content of the module is a commitment to a further aim, namely the development of more holistic and more sophisticated approaches to the ancient evidence for a given area of study, be it historiographical, poetic, epigraphic, numismatic, artistic, or other.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module has 36 contact hours, consisting of 14 two-hour lectures and 8 one-hour seminars. Workshops on the assessment components (object case-study, essay, and exam) are provided in this schedule, and the following constitute some central topics that might typically be included in a given year:

• Greek experiences under Alexander’s rule
• The Achaemenid Persian empire prior to Alexander’s conquest
• Alexander in Egypt and Persia
• Greeks and Macedonians in Afghanistan and India
• The emergence of the Hellenistic royal state after Alexander
• Demetrius the Besieger: A Hellenistic Life
• Regional identities in the Seleucid empire
• Culture and power in Ptolemaic Egypt
• The twilight of the Hellenistic empires

Aligned with the lecture programme, the following is a sample syllabus of seminars.

• Greeks views on Macedonia
• The League of Corinth
• Alexander and the Greek cities of Asia Minor
• Egyptian depictions of Alexander
• Factional strife after Alexander’s death
• Kings, oligarchs, and democrats in early Hellenistic Athens
• Babylonia under the Seleucids
• Hellenistic Alexandria

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. To recognise and recall the institutional features of and historical contexts surrounding the empires developed by Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic kingdoms;
2. To identify and explain important historical processes at work in the period investigated in this module, namely 4th-1st centuries BC;
3. To show an advanced awareness of how to appraise and productively compare different forms of evidence for the topics within the module’s ambit.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. To integrate different historical perspectives and different forms of evidence in reconstructing the contexts introduced in the module;
2. To investigate and evaluate historical topics both collectively (in lectures and seminars) and individually (in class preparation and in assessment-related work);
3. To apply learned knowledge and skills (selectively, where appropriate) in the completion of the module’s different assessment components;
4. To demonstrate a greater competence in communicating complex ideas verbally (in discussions and seminars) and in written form (for the module’s assessments).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1041:00104:00Coursework research and writing, plus exam revision
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture142:0028:00Overview plus discussion of major topics
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading601:0060:00Weekly readings (avg. 5 hours per week)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Student-led discussion of lecture-related topics
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide the introductory knowledge and frameworks needed for approaching the core historical topics of the course, but will also include frequent teacher-student dialogue (especially in the form of evidence-based discussions) in order to ensure active learning uptake. This type of activity aligns with knowledge outcomes 1, 2, & 3, and with skills outcomes 1, 2, & 4.

Seminars will consolidate the knowledge and approaches outlined in the lectures by providing an opportunity for the students to focus in greater depth on these topics and to contribute actively to their own learning. These seminars will consist primarily of class discussions and debates on important evidence and historical problems relating to the weekly topic(s). Based on pre-assigned readings, as well as involving the development of individual interpretations, these will ensure the further development of a number of important skills, such as analysis, critical reading of the evidence, and oral communication. This type of activity aligns with knowledge outcomes 1, 2, & 3, and with skills outcomes 1, 2, & 4.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A40Three equally weighted sections: Section A: text commentary Section B: image commentary Section C: multiple choice
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M401,750 words
Case study1M20750-word description and analysis of an object
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

CASE-STUDY (20% of total module grade)
The case-study, a 750-word description and analysis of an object (chosen by the student from a pre-circulated set of options), is intended to assess in particular the evidence-competence further developed in this module. This type of activity aligns with knowledge outcomes 1 & 3, and with skills outcomes 1, 2, 3, & 4.

ESSAY (40% of total module grade)
The essay, a 1,750-word piece of work (responding to a question chosen by the student from a pre-circulated set of options), is intended to assess in particular the ability to pursue topics introduced during the module on an individual and independent basis. This assessment component aligns with knowledge outcomes 1, 2, & 3, and with skills outcomes 1, 2, 3, & 4.

EXAM (40% of total module grade)
The exam, 90 minutes long, consists of three sections: A) textual evidence analysis, B) material/visual evidence analysis, C) multiple choice questions. This assessment component aligns with knowledge outcomes 1, 2, & 3, and with skills outcomes 1, 2, 3, & 4.
intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Timetable

Past Exam Papers

General Notes

N/A

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.