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CAH3005 : City of Athens: Power, Society and Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Don Miller
  • 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 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


To provide an opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of social, political and cultural issues relating to the history and topography of the city of Athens, from its Bronze Age beginnings to the late Classical period, reading widely and critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it, and to develop the capacity for independent study.

Outline Of Syllabus

The city of Athens was the political, cultural and economic centre of ancient Greece; consequently its history and heritage have fascinated scholars and tourists alike for centuries. But how did Athens evolve from a small agricultural village to the most powerful city-state in the Greek world? How did its appearance change over time? And what intellectual and architectural legacy have the Athenians bequeathed to the western world?

This module examines the infrastructure of ancient Athens, not only as an administrative, monumental, and religious centre, but also in terms of the social and political life of its diverse inhabitants, thus facilitating a view of Athens as a ‘living’ city rather than a city of decaying monuments. It introduces the ancient and modern sources for ancient Athens, from the city’s earliest history in the Bronze Age through the end of the fourth century BC, adopting both a chronological and thematic approach. Particular emphasis will be placed on the Classical period (479-323 BC).

The topics and issues to be discussed may include: Bronze Age Greece, the rise of the city-state; the growth of Athenian democracy; Athenian society and institutions; sanctuaries and religion; the political topography of the city; domestic and social space, the Periclean building programme, and trade and the Athenian economy, and attitudes towards death and burial practice.

The module will be structured around the integration of several diverse types of evidence and materials, ranging from literary accounts of the city and its territory; major works of epic poetry, philosophy and drama; epigraphic and numismatic evidence; the study of archaeological sites; and key aspects of the development of Greek art and architecture.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:002 lectures per week
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion661:0066:00For two assessment components (split as needed)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading331:0033:003 hours reading per week
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities92:0018:002 hours preparing tasks per seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:001 seminar per week (except first/last weeks)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study501:0050:00General consolidation activities
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00Introduction and conclusion to the module
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire and they stimulate development of independent research and note-taking skills. Lectures will provide opportunities for dialogue. In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to present recorded materials asynchronously and retain timetabled slots for live discussion of these materials.

Seminars will also consolidate the learning progress from lectures, lecture materials, and weekly readings by enabling students to focus on connected issues and material in greater depth. Seminars will be student-led and facilitated by teaching staff, and will hinge upon group discussion and debate about materials circulated in advance (for example, sets of evidence, scholarship, and questions).

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination1201A75Inspera digital exam.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M251,700 words
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
Prob solv exercises1MWeekly quizzes on Canvas that test students' knowledge and understanding of lecture topics.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay assignments assess the ability to engage in depth with key primary evidence and modern scholarship and construct a reasoned argument on the basis of these. In addition, they test the students’ ability to engage in independent research and communicate effectively in written form.

The formative assessment will provide students with feedback on their understanding of topics discussed in the lectures, which will help them on the digital exam.

The digital examination tests the students' acquisition of a clear, general 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 and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, to demonstrate problem-solving skills, adaptability, and the ability to work unaided, and to write clearly and concisely.

All of the assessments for this module will be submitted and marked online.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader.

Reading Lists