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CAH1012 : West meets East: Greek History and Society

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Joseph Skinner
  • Lecturer: Dr Matthew Haysom
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to:

Acquaint you with the history of the Greek world (broadly defined) from 776 BC, the traditional date for the first Olympic Games and thus the ‘beginning’ of Greek history, until the Hellenistic period.

Expand and significantly deepen your understanding of both the nature and internal workings of Greek society including the treatment meted out to marginalised or disenfranchised (women, non-resident aliens, and slaves) and the way in which modern attitudes and ideas have impacted the way we think about the past, whether this be hoplite reform or ideas about race.

Enable you to engage critically with scholarship dealing with historical questions which are of central importance to our wider understanding of that period, whether this be the Black Athena debate or ideas about gender.

Foster core skills in using and evaluating a wide variety of literary and material evidence (e.g. epic and lyric poetry, Greek coinage, painted pottery and epigraphy).

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 from 776 until the Hellenistic period. Key political events in mainland Greece and the Aegean will be set in their wider context: a world shaped by mobility, inter-cultural contact and exchange that extended from the Rock of Gibraltar (known in antiquity as the Pillars of Herakles) to (following Alexander's conquests) the White Mountains in modern Afghanistan.

Topics covered might 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, gender and 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 causes of Sparta’s defeat and the rise of Thebes; the rise of Macedon under Philip, the conquests and legacy of Alexander the Great, and the age of the Hellenistic kingdoms.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Course intro and revision session.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion501:0050:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Part of student contact hours (e.g. 1 hr of recordings/related activities p/w)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Lectures on core historical topics or themes.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading781:0078:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical21:002:00Object-handling sessions in Great North Museum or equivalent online activity.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching71:007:00Seminar discussions devoted to exploring set readings etc relating to core historical questions.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities391:0039:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials and associated readings will introduce you to key historical topics and how to approach them. Lecture materials 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, reading and note-taking skills will play a key role in this process. The seminar 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 Examination991A7548-hour Take Home Paper.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M251500 words
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Computer assessmentMMap test administered via Canvas - this is Computer Assessment 1
Computer assessmentMClass tests administered via Canvas - this is Computer Assessment 2
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 take-home 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.

The class tests are designed to test the students' knowledge of Mediterranean geography, key terminology and core concepts.

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