Mediterranean Empires: from Carthage to the Indus - CLAS3700

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Ada Nifosi checkmark-circle


This module introduces the history of the wider Mediterranean from (roughly) the rise of Macedon to the destruction of Carthage. Focusing on the period's key events, main players, and various cultural traditions, the module enables students to widen their perspective on ancient history beyond Greece and Rome. The lectures, seminars, and readings are based around the history, archaeology, and literature of various ancient societies that met, fought, traded, and interacted culturally. These include the Persians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Macedonians, Greeks, Bactrians, Mauryans, and Romans.
The lectures are thematic, following a loosely chronological framework. The module kicks off with a survey of Near Eastern history to explore notions of empire, city state, and cultural interaction. The survey continues by introducing further ancient societies through the lens of thematic topics. The lectures form the basis for broader discussion of the transfer of cultural ideas across the ancient world. Topics include, among other things, the Greco-Buddhist art of the Hellenistic Far East and the legacy of the Persian empire across the Eurasian continent.
The seminars focus on training in the use and interpretation of ancient literary, documentary and material evidence. This includes written evidence, inscriptions and papyri, coins, 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. This includes questions about the legacies of the ancient world and their connections to contemporary debates around orientalism and colonialism.


Contact hours

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

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Research Journal (2,200 words) – 80%
Encyclopaedia Entry (800 words) – 20%

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. 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 5th century BCE to the 2nd century BCE;
2. Interpret a range of literary and material evidence for the history and culture of the Persians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Macedonians, Greeks, Bactrians, Mauryans, and Romans;
3. Recognise common indicators of the reliability and usefulness of ancient sources for the period studied, for example bias, ideological or philosophical views, and contemporaneity;
4. Understand basic techniques in combining ancient evidence, including coinage, inscriptions, historiography, biography, archaeological sites, art, and architecture;
5. Understand and compare the principal features of the political and constitutional organisation of ancient Mediterranean societies in the 4th–2nd centuries BCE.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Use interdisciplinary approaches, recognising such approaches in lectures and seminars and incorporating them into their own work;
2. Demonstrate awareness of bibliographical conventions in the citation of primary and secondary sources;
3. Identify and pursue, independently, areas of interest for further study;
4. Show awareness of use of bibliographical and research resources in preparation for contact-hours and in the preparation of summative work;
5. Manage their time effectively in the submission of coursework and attendance at scheduled events.


  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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