Classics (Q800): Selected Module Descriptions Final Year

Final Year

Compulsory modules 

Dissertation (40 credits)

The dissertation is an extended piece of independent research into an area of the student's own interest resulting in a report of 12,000 words. Students will build skills enabling them to identify and explore the appropriate secondary literature (and primary source material, where appropriate), and to interrogate these sources effectively. Students will receive tuition in collating, ordering and referencing their research. Students will complete a sustained piece of academic research drawing on primary and secondary source materials. This module enables students to develop the analytical elements of research and present their research findings professionally. The main focus of supervision will be on assisting the student to structure their core argument effectively, present convincing analysis of the evidence used to sustain their argument, and to prepare a clear introduction and conclusion to the dissertation.

Greek Verse Texts (20)

In this module students read, translate and interpret a range of  Greek verse texts, and work on their literary, cultural and stylistic significance and contexts. Texts will vary year by year. Unseen translation will be practised throughout the year.

Latin Verse Texts (20)

In this module students read, translate and interpret a range of Latin verse texts, and work on their literary, cultural and stylistic significance and contexts. Texts will vary year by year. Unseen translation will be practised throughout the year.

Example optional modules may include:

Greek and Roman Wall Painting (20)

Painting and pictorial realism, as we know them, were invented in the fourth century BCE. Their effects have survived in the Hellenistic tomb paintings at Vergina, and elsewhere in Macedonia and Thrace, and their ideas have been described by ancient authors. This course examines the surviving Greek and Roman paintings together with ancient sources in order to shed light on the deployment of the pictorial repertoire of classical antiquity. The lectures will look at Aegean Bronze Age wall-paintings from Crete, the Cyclades and the Greek mainland and the extent to which they were related to later Greek art, the relationship of painting to ceramic art in the archaic and classical periods, the evidence of ancient texts on renowned Greek painters of the classical period, the Hellenistic tomb paintings from Macedonia and Thrace, Greek, Etruscan and Italic tomb paintings in Italy, the appropriation of the Hellenistic repertoire of images in the Roman period as evidenced in wall-paintings and mosaics, and the creation of a new taxonomy of images in the Roman period. 

Greek Mythology (20)

The module will cover a range of approximately 20 topics in the field of Greek mythology. The range will deal with the conceptualisation of mythology, its place in ancient society and in particular in different forms of literature, and its relationship to history and geography. In addition major 19th-20th century theories of mythology will be explored and evaluated, including nature-myth, anthropological theories, psychoanalysis and structuralism. 

Hellenistic Poetry (20)

Hellenistic literature is what connects the literary cultures of classical Greece and Rome. In the period between the death of Alexander and the fall of the Ptolemies (Cleopatra), Greek authors reflected a culture undergoing rapid change, and finding new ways of thinking about the individual’s place in the world. They produced whole new kinds of literature (epigram, epyllion) and studied the classics of the past in new ways: the literature of the age of Cicero could never have happened without them. In this module we will read some of the most important Hellenistic writers, including Callimachus and Theocritus, and find out how they changed the idea of ‘literature’ forever.

Seminar III (choice of seminar topics) (20)   

A range of topics (circa 15 each year) will be offered across the disciplinary scope of Department.  The topics will vary according to the current research interests of each member of staff but will normally focus on a well-defined body of primary literary, visual, historical or archaeological data.

Staff will publish a 300 word account of the topic offered and its research potential together with a brief introductory bibliography before course registration each year to enable students to select from themes related to their own period, area or subject interests.

Sparta (20)

Spartan society is the enigma of the ancient Greek world. The peculiarity of Sparta excited the imagination of contemporaries from other Greek states and has continued to serve as both a positive and a negative social and political model up until the present day. This module will attempt to get behind the so-called ‘Spartan mirage’ through detailed study of the ancient evidence and a wide-ranging examination of its society and institutions. It will consider Sparta’s military ethos, the role of the Spartan education system (agōgē), the relationship between the Spartans and the helots, the roles of women in Spartan society, and the image of Sparta in modern culture. Students will also examine the varied ways in which Sparta has been appropriated by ancient and modern writers, and the impact this has had upon academic study of the Spartans in order to evaluate just how far we can assume an understanding of their unique society.