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Module

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

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:

• 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 is a sample syllabus of seminars.

• 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

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists

Timetable