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Module

CAH2061 : Slavery in Greco-Roman antiquity

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • 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 slavery, 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

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00In-person lectures.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Recorded videos totalling 1 hour per week. These count as CONTACT HOURS.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion601:0060:00Completion of essays
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities111:0011:00Tasks and reading preparatory for discussion board
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading351:0035:00Exploration of topics, documents and bibliography in the Module Handbook and on Canvas
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities102:0020:00Reading and other work preparatory for seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Weekly seminars (except the final week)
Structured Guided LearningStructured non-synchronous discussion111:0011:00Discussion boards for weekly tasks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00End of module drop-in Q&A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study301:0030:00Independent study going beyond the module handbook
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures, live (allowing for some interactive engagement) or recorded (for more intensive learning), highlight the most important themes and approaches and clarify information, building also on preparatory reading. These, plus the seminar preparation, facilitate the flipped classroom seminar, where students, singly or in groups, lead discussion and analysis of key ancient source materials. One of the essay assessments will be tied specifically to the texts studied. The weekly tasks and discussion boards build up relevant skills. These all feed into both essays.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502,000 words
Essay2A502,000 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