Skip to main content

Module

CAH2061 : Slavery in Greco-Roman antiquity

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Corcoran
  • Lecturer: Dr Jane Webster
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The aim of the course is to understand a fundamental, but often under-appreciated, aspect of the Greek and Roman worlds in its varied social, economic, legal and ideological contexts. This is to be done primarily through the study of antique writers, documents, artefacts and archaeology, and by engaging in particular with the problems caused by this uneven ancient evidence, in which the views of slave-owners are well represented, while slaves seldom have an explicit voice. Understanding the modern historiography is also key, since contemporary disputes, resonances and sensitivities (e.g. the reparations debate; and movements to 'decolonize' written and physical legacies) form a further inescapable part of the context for studying this ancient topic.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following are key themes of the module (although the sequence and structure may differ):
1] The modern historiography of ancient slavery; the range of ancient sources.
2] Definitions of slavery, ancient & modern.
3] Ideas and ideology about slaves in Greek and Roman writers, including also Christians and Jews.
4] Becoming or acquiring a slave, including the sources of slaves, the slave trade, and the demography of ancient slave populations.
5] Labour, including the ideology of ‘work’; the range of slave jobs, domestic, commercial, agricultural, and public; their economic and/or social importance.
6] The treatment of slaves, public and private, in particular the role of violence and torture.
7] Slave responses to slavery, including revolts and resistance.
8] Manumission: purposes and processes.
9] Freedmen: obligations and opportunities.
10] The Roman imperial ‘familia’ and the Roman 'civil service'; including also the eunuchs of the late antique court.
11] Other forms of ‘unfree’ labour, including debt-bondage and the Helots at Sparta.
Note that the themes are most often treated in relation to Classical Athens (5th/4th CC. BC) and late Republican and early imperial Rome, but the periods and places studied are not necessarily limited to these.

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
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials92:0018:00Reading or other preparation assigned for lectures or seminars.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials92:0018:00Recorded videos totalling 2 hours per week.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion215:0030:00Completion of essays
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities91:009:00Tasks preparatory for discussion board
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading681:0068:00Exploration of the topics and bibliography within the module handbook
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Weekly seminars, conducted on-line
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion91:009:00Discussion boards for weekly tasks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery91:009:00Q&A on weekly lectures and seminars, or on assessments, conducted on-line
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study301:0030:00Independent study going beyond the module handbook
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars engage students with key source materials (one of the essay assessments will be tied specifically to the texts studied). Recorded lectures highlight the most important themes and approaches and clarify information, building on preparatory reading. The weekly tasks and discussion boards build up relevant skills. These all feed into both essays.

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
Essay2M502,000 words
Essay2M502,000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first essay allows engagement with specific ancient source material, allowing the demonstration of source-criticism, command of detail, and awareness of relevant contexts. The second essay allows engagement with a major topic or theme relevant to slavery and the development of well-considered arguments bolstered by appropriate ancient evidence and modern scholarship, suitably contextualized.

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