Mediterranean Empires from Carthage and Rome to the Indus - CLAS3700

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Module delivery information

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


This module introduces the main events and sources of evidence for the history of the Mediterranean between the rise of Macedon and the destruction of Carthage. As such, the lectures, seminars, and readings are based around the history, archaeology, and literature of five ancient societies that met, and fought, during this period: Carthage, Rome, Hellenistic Greece, Egypt, and the Seleucid Empire.

The lectures are thematic, following a loosely chronological framework. For example, they may take as their starting point the accession of Philip II to the Macedonian throne. This may form the basis for broader discussion of the transfer of cultural ideas across the Macedonian empire, for example the Greco-Buddhist art of the Hellenistic Far East. Subsequently, the survey of Mediterranean empires given in the lectures continues by introducing further ancient societies through the lens of thematic topics.
The seminars focus on training in the use and interpretation of ancient literary and material evidence. These may include written evidence, inscriptions and papyri, and art and architecture. Where appropriate, discussion of these sources in the seminars will be used to introduce major debates in the study of the ancient Mediterranean.


Contact hours

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


Autumn or Spring

Method of assessment

Research Journal (2200 words) – 80%
Encyclopaedia Entry (800 words) – 20%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Astin, A. E., Walbank, F.W., Frederiksen, M. W., & Ogilvie, R. M. (eds.) (1989). The Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd Edition. Volume 8, Rome and the Mediterranean to 133 BC. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Bugh, G. R. (ed.) (2006). The Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Cornell, T. (1995). The Beginnings of Rome. London: Routledge
Hoyos, D. (2010). The Carthaginians. London: Routledge
Rosenstein, N. & Morstein-Marx, R. (eds.) (2010). A Companion to the Roman Republic. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell
Walbank, F. W., Astin, A.E., Frederiksen, M. W, & Ogilvie, R. M. (eds.) (1984). The Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd Edition. Volume 7, Part 1, The Hellenistic World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Walbank, F. W., Astin, A.E., Frederiksen, M. W, & Ogilvie, R. M. (eds.) (1990). The Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd Edition. Volume 7, Part 2, The Rise of Rome to 220 BC. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of some of the main aspects of the political, cultural, diplomatic, military, and archaeological history of the Mediterranean world from the 4th century BCE to the 2nd century BCE;
Interpret a range of literary and material evidence for the history and culture of the Hellenistic kingdoms, the Greek Leagues, and the Roman Republic;
Recognise common indicators of the reliability and usefulness of ancient sources for the period studied, for example bias, ideological or philosophical views, and contemporaneity;
Understand basic techniques in combining ancient evidence, including coinage, inscriptions, historiography, biography, archaeological sites, art, and architecture;
Understand and compare the principal features of the political and constitutional organisation of ancient Mediterranean societies in the 4th–2nd centuries BCE.


  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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