Skip to main content


CAH2020 : Greek and Roman Religions

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Matthew Haysom
  • Lecturer: Dr Micaela Langellotti
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module aims:
- To provide students with a critical understanding of the key debates in the study of Greek and Roman religion
- To provide students with an insight into some of the theoretical influences on classics: social anthropology, structuralism, gender theory, etc.
- To provide students with a critical understanding of the key sources of evidence that are available to classicists studying subjects related to ancient religions: a variety of ancient literary genres (history, tragedy, comedy, philosophy, epic etc.); epigraphy; archaeology.

Outline Of Syllabus

Religion was central to the lives of people in antiquity. It weaves itself through all aspects of ancient history and culture. Some aspects of Greek and Roman religion, like the names of the gods, are superficially familiar and Christianity grew up in dialogue with Greek and Roman religious thought. But many aspects of these ancient religions are alien to modern ways of thinking about the world and our place within it. This makes the study of Greek and Roman religion uniquely rewarding. It can give an unparalleled insight into how ancients conceived of their world, which by extension can allow you to look at antiquity in a new light.

In this course we will look at a wide variety of questions relating to ancient religions including: how humans sought to communicate with their gods; how Greek and Roman religion was organised; what kinds of people worshipped together and under what circumstances; how religions changed and new gods were introduced; the role of different types of religious specialists, from travelling mystics through to civic magistrates; how people thought about the afterlife; the place of religion in war and politics; and the role of religion in the family home.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion381:0038:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Weekly lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading961:0096:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities113:0033:00Seminar Preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Weekly seminars.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce the major topics of the module and how to approach them, including close reading of primary sources. A small amount of preliminary reading will be set for each week's lectures. The lectures will also provide the knowledge and skills that will enable students to both formulate and answer their own questions.

Weekly seminars are an opportunity for students to develop their understanding dynamically, e.g. by engaging in discussion of how to go about addressing questions, the relative merits of different types of evidence or approach to the sources or by gaining clarification of any points not understood. In doing so students will develop analytical skills, oral communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team. Reading and research tasks will be set to be completed in advance of each seminar.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M501500 words (including footnotes -excluding bibliography)
Essay2A501500 words portfolio of literature reviews (including footnotes, excluding bibliography).
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M500 word commentary
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The literature reviews will require you to critically engage with key pieces of scholarship, placing them in the historiography of the subject. They directly support the lecture and seminar content, testing your general knowledge and understanding of the subject plus your ability to think analytically and write clearly and succinctly about key debates. The formative assessment will allow practice in this unfamiliar form of written assessment and the opportunity for feedback.

The essay tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

Reading Lists