MA History Courses
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Description: The module provides an introduction to some of the disciplines, methodologies, problems and themes that may be encountered by those undertaking research work in the field of ancient history. The topics covered range from papyrology, numismatics and archaeology to general issues of method in ancient history. The objective is that students beginning research should be equipped with the knowledge, skills and bibliography that will enable them to develop a research project and pursue it successfully. Seminars are given by staff with personal research interests in the topics discussed. This is the core module for the M.A. in Ancient History.
Assessment will be by two essays of 6,000 words each, with guidance from the lecturers in the relevant part of the module.
Place: Senate House G37, Fridays 11:-1:00
Greek Epigraphy For details see Literature
Latin Epigraphy For details see Literature
Dr Irene Polinskaya (King's)
Description: The module studies how the peoples of the ancient Greek world defined themselves in terms of their origin, in the senses of both birth and place. The purpose of the module is to investigate multiple layers of social content embedded in the term 'ancient Greeks'. Engaging with this broad concept, the students learn to expose and explore the patchwork of many civic and territorial identities that underlie the overarching concept of 'the Greeks': regional, ethnic, polis, tribal (also defined by affiliation to kin-groups), and demotic identities. The module draws upon ancient Greek textual, epigraphic and archaeological evidence. Some proficiency in ancient Greek is desirable, but all readings are also available in English.
Assessment will be by two essays of 3000-words (25% each) and one essay of 6000-words (50%).
Place: Classics D7, Tuesdays 1:00-3:00
Dr Hugh Bowden (King's)
Description: What can the mythology of the ancient Greeks tell us about ancient Greek social, cultural and religious organization, or about their understanding of the world? Can it tell us anything about humankind more generally? These questions have been asked by scholars in a range of disciplines from anthropology to psychology and beyond, and this module examines some of the answers they have come up with. The module does not offer a survey of Greek mythology itself, or focus on individual literary works as such, but concentrates on the ways that Greek myths have been interpreted from the nineteenth century onwards. This module is partner to 7AACM420 Greek Religion: Culture & Cognition, and it is recommended that the two modules be taken together.
Assessment: will be one 5,000 word essay.
Place: Classics B6, Tuesdays 9:00-11:00
Greek Religion: Culture and Cognition (half unit)
Dr Hugh Bowden (King's)
Description: The study of religion has in recent years benefited from insights draw from cognitive anthropology, psychology and other disciplines, all of which make up the area of study referred to as the coginitive science of religion. These new approaches are beginning to be applied to the study of ancient religion, and this module aims to take up some of these ideas and see what light they may cast on the study of ancient Greek religious practices, in particular in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. The module does not offer an overview of Greek religion, and it is intended for students who already have some understanding of the nature of Greek religion. This module is partner to 7AACM420 Greek Religion: Myth & Meaning, and it is recommended that the two modules be taken together.
Assessment will be one 5,000 word essay.
Place: Classics B6, Tuesdays 3:00-5:00
7AACM900 Roman Britain
Dr John Pearce (King's)
module is a case study in Roman Imperialism and introduction to the
material culture of the Roman empire. It covers the conquest of
Britain, its transformation into a Roman province, later changes in its
administration and defence, and the impact of incorporation into the
Roman empire on the physical environment, religion, economy and society
of Britain. The module develops students' ability to understand and
use archaeological evidence of all types, and Latin epigraphic sources,
for historical reconstruction of processes of social and economic
change; the problem of using concepts such as 'Romanisation' is
Assessment will be by 3 essays of 4,000 words, each contributing equally to the total mark.
Place: S0.12, Thursdays 9:00-11:00 + seminar to be arranged after 1st lecture
Professor Henrik Mouritsen (King's)
module uses the extensive archaeological and epigraphic remains from
Pompeii and Herculaneum to provide an in-depth understanding of a wide
range of historical issues that include urban development and local
politics, social structures and relations, economy and production,
public and private art and architecture, the Roman family, culture and
literacy, gender and sexuality, and health and nutrition. In addition,
the module explores the reception of the Vesuvian cities, tracing their
impact on contemporary western culture from the 18th century until the
present day. The module involves the discussion of ancient sources in
Assessment: will be by three essays of 4,000 words, each contributing equally to the total mark.
Place: Classics TBC, Tuesdays 11:00-1:00
Religion and the Ancient Greeks
Dr Janett Morgan (RHUL)
Description: This course will explore the evidence for religious behaviour in ancient Greece. As the notion of ‘Greek religion’ implies consistency and commonality, this course will seek to counteract such views by focusing on diversity. Students will examine will examine the evidence for religious behaviour in different eras and at different places in the ancient Greek world. Using evidence from archaeology, architecture, iconography and text, they will explore the relationship between community and god and re-evaluate modern approaches to the study of religion.
The course begins by exploring definitions of religion and the methodologies traditionally applied by scholars of archaeology and history to investigate it.
The course is then divided into four areas of study:-
Early Greece – explores aspects of religion from the Minoans to the archaic period. It looks at Minoan iconography and cult places, at the development of temples in the eighth century BC and the relationship between myth and religion
Classical Athens – investigates the relationship between religion and community, looking at the role and definition of polis activities and ‘private’ acts, at festivals, magic and the ability of the system to respond to criticism and change.
Outside Athens – studies the religious evidence from a range of communities in the classical and Hellenistic world including Sparta, Sicily and the East Greek World.
Ptolemaic Religion – looks at the emergence of ruler cult and its use by Hellenistic dynasts. It considers the relationship between god, ruler and community and the evidence for religion and religious change in Alexandria.
Assessment Three essays of 4,000 words.
Place: Founder's West 32 Tuesdays 12:00-1:00, WIN0-05 Tuesdays 1:00-2:00pm.
Greek Law and Lawcourts
Professor Lene Rubinstein (RHUL)
course focuses in particular on the Athenian legal system as it
operated in a broader social and political context. During the first
term, we shall focus primarily on how the courts were structured and on
the importance of the popular courts for the Athenian democracy
generally. In the second term, we shall concentrate on a number of
individual themes, including the structure of the Athenian family unit,
inheritance law, the crimes of sacrilege, violence, murder, and on how
the Athenians attempted to regulate individual sexual behaviour. The
seminars will centre on individual speeches written for delivery in the
Athenian courts, and our discussions will pay particular attention to
the rhetorical strategies adopted by Athenian litigants, not least in
their attempts to manipulate and subvert the system.
Assessment will be three essays (3.000-4.000 words each).
Place BA/MA lecture Tuesdays 5-6pm Bourne Lecture Theatre (Royal Holloway), MA seminars Tuesday 4-5 Founder's West 32 (Royal Holloway).
Change and Continuity in the Ancient Near East
Dr Karen Radner (UCL)
module focuses on the period c. 800-128 BC, covering the Neo-Assyrian,
Babylonian, Achaemenid and Seleucid empires. The aim is to analyse
structural shifts and continuities, by examining the states in their
Near Eastern setting. Throughout the emphasis is on critical evaluation
of a diverse corpus of evidence and assessment of relevant scholarly
Relevant languages: ancient - Greek, Akkadian, Old Persian, Aramaic, Egyptian, Hebrew; modern - French, German.
Assessment is by five pieces of written work, totalling c. 10,000 words.
Place: Tuesdays 14.00-16.00, UCL History Dept, room 209.
The Attalid Kingdom
Dr Riet Van Bremen (UCL)
course will look at all aspects of this extraordinarily successful
dynasty, from diplomacy and monetary policy to art and literature. It
will study the early phases of Attalid rule: expansion in the Troad,
Mysia and Aeolis; relations with cities in Asia Minor and with mainland
Greece (patronage of sanctuaries), and will ask questions about the
hybrid city that was Pergamon. Exciting new epigraphic documents throw
new light on many of these issues, as do the continuing excavation of
the city of Pergamon and the survey of its territory; as well as the
newly started excavations at Elaia (the port of the Attalid kings).
Attalid control over central Asia Minor and the dynasty’s financial and
fiscal policies are becoming better documented and understood.
Students will study all facets of this subject through a wide range of primary sources, and will be exposed to different techniques and traditions, learning to use and understand how to build a historical argument using coinage, inscriptions, architecture, art, site reports and topographical studies.
Assessment: Two essays of approximately 4000 words each.
Codes and Practice: The World of Roman Law from Antiquity to the Middle Ages
Drs Simon Corcoran and Benet Salway (UCL)
As the inspiration for the Civil Law codes of modern Europe, the body of Roman law as received and studied in western Europe since the later Middle Ages gives the impression of a stable and static system. This course aims to provide students with an introduction to the shape of the living body of Roman law from classical antiquity to the early Middle Ages and the historical issues that raises. For in fact, of course, the classic texts of Roman law developed over a millennium or more in response to changing social and political environments as the society to which they related developed from a modest central Italian city republic into an imperial superstate before setting out on divergent paths in the aftermath of the fall of the western empire. This course charts the relationship between the production of normative texts, legal interpretation, and legal practice against this shifting social and political background. At various junctures the development of this legal system was punctutated by attempts to codify certain sections. The core of this course comprises the analysis of the surviving or partially surviving codifications (e.g. the Theodosian and Justinianic Codes, the Breviarium of Alaric, and the Digest) as well as those reconstructed from later sources (e.g. the XII Tables and the Edictum Perpetuum) against their historical context so as to expose students to the full complexity of the texture of the source material. Interspersed are sessions analysing the actual practice and social impact of Roman law based on specific case studies. It is very desirable for students to have or to develop quickly a working knowledge of Latin. Desirable also is some basic reading knowledge of (Ancient) Greek, Italian, French, and German.
Assessment: This course is assessed entirely by coursework. Each student is required to submit two essays of around 4,000 words each (to a total of 8,000 words overall), on topics negotiated individually and agreed with the course teacher(s). For example, students might wish to write essays on topics that they researched for class presentations.
Place: Thursdays 11.00-13.00, room B.18, History Department, UCL (House 23, Gordon Square)
Available as both a 40 and 30 credit option.
The Reign of Constantine For details see Late Antique & Byzantine Studies
Greek Papyrology For details see Literature
Byzantium and the Crusades For details see Late Antique & Byzantine Studies
Page last modified on 03 oct 11 10:30