Introduction to Greek Civilisation - CLAS3680

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) Ada Nifosi checkmark-circle


The history will centre on Athens in the 5th century B.C. We begin with early Athens, then after considering the period of the Persian invasions, we study the developed democracy with its empire under Pericles and its destruction in the Peloponnesian War. After looking at the historical events of this period, we study a range of Greek literature. You will be introduced to the different literary genres of the time, including tragedy and comedy, and will be asked to consider the role of literature as a vehicle for public debate in the democracy, and its treatment of justice, religion, rationalism and patriotic themes.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150



Method of assessment

Critical assessment of a primary text (750 words) – 40%
Critical assessment of a work of art or material remains (750 words) – 40%
Online assessment (500 words) – 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Easterling, P, (1998) (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hornblower, S, (2005), The Greek World 479-323 BC. London: Routledge.
North, J, (1998) Plutarch, Selected Lives. Ware: Wordsworth Editions.
Northedge, A. (2005) The Good Study Guide. Milton Keynes. The Open University
Warner, R, (2000) Thucydides The History of the Peloponnesian War. London: Penguin.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Identify the literary genres in fifth-century Athens;
Address questions of rhetorical and literary conventions;
Discuss literature's role as a vehicle for the treatment of major areas of public debate in democratic Athens: justice, war and peace, rationalism;
Understand the nature of Athenian Democracy;
Understand the social and historical context of the works of Herodotus and Thucydides;
Draw together a wide range of sources for Greek history and drama (legal, literary, historical, art and biographical).


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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