Egypt and the Classical World - CLAS7040

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module is concerned with the interaction between two contiguous but very different peoples, Egypt in the Late Period and Classical Greece. Though the Aegean world had a long history of contact with Egypt, the volume of contact increased dramatically under the XXVI (Saïte) Dynasty, with the foundation of commercial settlements, the development of vigorous trade relations and the arrival of many Greeks as traders, mercenaries and tourists. That contact had profound consequences both in the short and longer term; provided an essential support for the last great dynasty of independent Egypt; aided the rise of the East Greek cities of Ionia; and it influenced the development of Greek sculpture and architecture.
Equally important, it revealed to the Greeks a civilisation, which was deeply impressive, in many ways superior, yet alien. The immediate fruit of that perception lies in the stimulus to Greek thought and history writing, especially through Herodotus (a vital witness to Egyptian religion and society of this age). In the longer term, it shaped the way in which the West perceived Egypt, creating myths about its antiquity, its religion and its wisdom that continues to affect us today, not least in the shaping of traditional Egyptology. The module will be taught from a range of sources, archaeological, papyrological, historical and literary.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 30


Also available at Level 6 under code CL705

Method of assessment

• Essay 1 (1,500 words) – 50%
• Essay 2 (1,500 words) – 50%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List
Baines, J. & Málek, J. (2005). Atlas of Ancient Egypt, Oxford: Checkmark
Bernal, J.M. (2012). Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, London: Free Association Books
Boardman, J. (2011). The Greeks Overseas, 4th edn., London: Thames & Hudson
Munson, R.V. (2013). Herodotus. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Shaw, I. (2003) ed. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Shaw, I. & Nicholson, P. (2008). The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, London: British Museum Press
Van de Mieroop, M. (2011). A History of Ancient Egypt, Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley-Blackwell

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module Level 5 students will be able to:
- Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the contacts (material, artistic, cultural and intellectual) between the Greek World and Egypt during the Archaic and Classical periods (Egyptian Dynasties XXV-XXX);
- Demonstrate critical understanding of the historical interpretations of the sources;
- Demonstrate critical understanding of the importance of using interdisciplinary source material, such as historical textual sources and archaeological remains;
- Demonstrate detailed knowledge of interactions between Greeks and Egyptians;
- Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the role historical events played in the development of Egypt;
- Demonstrate confident skills in historiography and textual analysis.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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