Module Catalogue 2020/21

CAH2006 : Hellenistic Empires from Alexander to Cleopatra

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr John Holton
  • 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

The following constitute some central topics that might typically be included in a given year:

• 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
• Regional identities in the Seleucid empire
• Culture and power in Ptolemaic Egypt
• Rome and the Hellenistic empires

Aligned with the lecture programme, the following seminars might be included.

• Research skills in ancient history
• The League of Corinth
• The cities of Anatolia (a.k.a. Asia Minor)
• Egyptian relations with 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, with respect to the areas and regions studied;
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 seminars, discussion boards, and reading groups) 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 seminars) and in written form (for the module’s assessments, but also in the module's online discussion boards and reading groups).
5. To further develop core digital literacy skills, linked to taught content but also facilitating independent work.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion541:0054:0024 hrs for portfolio (avg. 8 hrs per each of 3 case-studies), and 30 hrs for 2,000-word essay
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials211:0021:00Recordings, readings, and other tasks (avg. 2 hrs p/w), plus short weekly introductions (20 mins)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading271:0027:00Additional weekly reading (avg. 3 hrs p/w), self-chosen from weekly bibliographies
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities90:203:00Short weekly tasks practising digital skills, linked to content in lecture materials and seminars.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Student-led discussion of weekly topics (online, timetabled)
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities301:0030:00Weekly resources linked to lecture materials (avg. 3 hrs p/w), plus weekly 20-min consolidation quiz
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity91:009:00Student-led reading groups on weekly content (1 hr p/w)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery91:009:00Live Q&A on weekly materials (esp. lecture recordings) and assessment briefings (online, timetabled)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study261:0026:00Additional research into self-chosen topics, facilitated by module reading list
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study101:0010:00Self-guided exploration of VLE content (e.g. external online resources) and skills consolidation
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion21:002:00Online student-led discussion threads supporting completion of the two assessment components
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Non-synchronous lecture materials will introduce topics and provide structured orientation and exposition, supplemented by structured weekly reading in advance. Consolidation and further skills-development opportunities will come from weekly quizzes and digital skills tasks. Synchronous seminars and drop-ins, as well as non-synchronous, independently-organised reading groups, include active learning opportunities, teacher-learner dialogue, and peer-to-peer support.

Synchronous seminars will also consolidate the learning progress from lecture materials and weekly readings by enabling students to focus on connected issues and material in greater depth. Seminars will be student-led (though facilitated by teaching staff), focusing on group discussion and debate surrounding material circulated in advance (for example, sets of evidence, scholarship, and questions), and so will provide enhanced grounds for active skills and knowledge development in relation to all of module’s intended learning outcomes.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M602,000 word essay
Portfolio1M401,500-word portfolio of three short evidence-based case-studies
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

PORTFOLIO (40% of total module grade)

The portfolio, a 1,500-word collection of three short studies (avg. 500 words each) of a coin, an inscription, and a literary source, 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 (60% of total module grade)

The essay, a 2,000-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.

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 2020/21 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 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.