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Module

CAC2038 : Food for Thought: Greco-Roman Dining and Sympotic Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Athanassios Vergados
  • Lecturer: Dr Claire Stocks, Professor Ian Haynes, Dr Sally Waite
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module aims to introduce students to Greco-Roman dining and Symposium Culture in the ancient world. Students will be taught how to read and interpret literary texts that deal with dining and sympotic culture and will also learn how to analyse technical treatises such as medical works and ancient cookbooks (including those preserved on papyrus). By teaching students about the function of ‘dining’ and symposia in literary works from across the ancient world, we also aim to introduce them to food and food production in a practical sense; thus, this course, whilst primarily centred on literary works and technical treatises, will be truly interdisciplinary, encouraging students to think about how literature and archaeology etc. connect (with food and dining serving as the vehicles for that study). Furthermore, special emphasis will be placed on rituals of commensality, which will provide a comparative element with contemporary society, since every society has rituals of commensality and laws governing the consumption of food and drink. We aim, therefore, to show students how the critical observation of antiquity’s laws and rituals can enable them to become more critical observers of their own culture.

Outline Of Syllabus

Whilst the focus will primarily be on literary texts that deal with food and dining, we will, by reflex, cover topics such as food and everyday life (what did Greeks and Romans eat); the economy of food (production and transportation –farming, fishing etc.); food and religion (e.g., food and the Golden Age; sacrifice; abstinence); drinking (wine and beer; the symposion); food and literature (the symposion as a literary genre; literature performed during the symposion; emergence of cookbooks; food in comedy, parody, and epigram as well as in epic and love elegy); and food and medicine (the emergence of dietetics). The materials used in these sessions will derive from known literary texts, as well as technical treatises (medical works; ancient cookbooks, including those preserved on papyrus). Rather than reading one or two texts in their entirety, students will instead read selections from a larger number of works (in translation) from Greek and Latin literary works (in addition to technical treatises).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture181:0018:00Present in person. If teaching moves on-line, these will become synchronous Zoom-lectures.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials61:006:00Part of student contact hours (readings and/or recordings on VLE)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading121:0012:00Two hours preparation per seminar
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading601:0060:00Engagement with materials related to lectures (module reading list and/or lecture materials).
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Workshop at the Great North Museum.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Tutorials to discuss project portfolios with students in small groups.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study951:0095:00Assessment research and preparation.
Total200:00
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
CAC3038Food for Thought: Greco-Roman Dining and Sympotic Culture
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures (and non-synchronous lecture materials) impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire; they stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills. Specifically, a basic lecture format is the most efficient method of expounding this material, which is both quite considerable and (sometimes) quite difficult. All lectures allow time for questions and (some) discussion. If teaching moves on-line timetabled slots will be retained as synchronous on-line lectures.

Seminars prepare students for their assessmen and provide them with an opportunity to participate in in-depth discussion with a focus on a particular issue arising from the week's lecture and thus to improve their oral communication skills. If teaching moves on-line timetabled slots will be retained as synchronous on-line discussion sessions.

Depending on the Covid-related guidance in place at the time we may be able to offer a practical workshop on recreating ancient recipes or organising an ancient banquet.

The Workshop at the Great North Museum will familiarise the students with the material aspects of Greco-Roman dining.

The workshop/tutorial will give students an opportunity to discuss their research projects in a small group.

The drop-in/surgery will give students an opportunity to ask last minute questions on their research projects in the final teaching week.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M401,000-Word commentary on a passage related to food and dining in Greco-Roman antiquity.
Portfolio2A602,500 words project
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MCommentary on a piece of relevant secondary literature (500 words).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Written exercise 1 is a commentary on a primary source (textual or material) related to the module's contents. It assesses students' ability to contextualise the evidence, articulate its significance for the study of Greco-Roman dining, and inscribe it into the critical scholarly discussion.

Portfolio 1 is a project revolving around recreating an ancient banquet. Students are required to assemble textual and material evidence and provide a written commentary to justify their choices in 'organising' this event in Antiquity.

The formative assessment aims to hone students’ ability to engage critically with secondary literature, in preparation for their summative assessments in which they will have to engage with bibliography.


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

Reading Lists

Timetable