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Module

CAH3012 : Geographical knowledge in the ancient world (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ivan Matijasic
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

In this module we will consider the development of geographical knowledge in the ancient Greek and Roman world, focusing on different ancient geographical texts, from the most ancient extant descriptions of the coast to Late Antiquity. We will deal with different ages in a diachronic perspective, considering a set of heterogeneous Greek and Latin authors.
The course will focus primarily on the understanding of the perception of space in a geographical context, from small scale environment (knowledge of local realities, interactions within restricted areas) to macro areas (continents, great distance travels).
The module’s aims are:
-       to gain a sound and general understanding of ancient geography and the ancients’ perception of space
-       to explore the relations between geography, ethnography and history
-       to critically read the primary sources (Greek and Latin texts in translation) as well as the specific secondary literature
-       to develop the capacity for independent study

Outline Of Syllabus

The topic of the course will be divided in four sections roughly following a chronological order: 1) earliest examples of geographical texts, focusing primarily on Hecataeus of Miletus’ description of the earth, Herodotus’ Histories, Hanno’s voyage and pseudo-Scylax’s description of the coast. 2) Hellenistic scientific geography, mainly represented by Eratosthenes (lost, but partly known through Strabo’s Geography) and Ptolemy’s Geography, as well as early imperial age Latin texts such Pomponius Mela’s Chorographia and Pliny the Elder’s Natural history. 3) The diverging approaches of Dionysius Periegetes’ verses and Pausanias’ Guide to Greece. 4) Finally, we will investigate the reception of the above-mentioned texts in Late Antiquity and their significance for the understanding of both ancient and contemporary historical geography.
The study of ancient geographical thought will be contextualized and each author’s age will be considered to gain a general historical perspective. The module intends to offer a close reading of ancient texts in English translation focusing on some paramount Greek words. These words will be assessed and their modern use will be considered: it will show the significance of ancient Greek and Latin geography for modern geographical descriptions and their everyday use.
The seminars will be devoted to the reading of specific items of secondary literature which will help to illuminate the modern and contemporary understanding of ancient sources and their value.

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