The Political, Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World - CLAS8200

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module aims to provide a detailed overview of the most important events and trends of the political, social and economic history of the Hellenistic period, based on the most recent results of research. Its objective is to make the students familiar with both the diverse ancient sources and the secondary literature, not just from the perspective of the conquering Macedonians and Greeks but also from that of the conquered native civilisations, such as Persians, Jews, Syrians and Egyptians. The module will be taught on the basis of a wide variety of sources, including historical, literary, epigraphic, papyrological and archaeological. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction of different political, social and economic systems and to the emergence of new structures as a consequence.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20

Method of assessment

Essay 1 (3000 words) - 40%;
Essay 2 (3000 words) - 40%;
Presentation (15 minutes) - 20%

Indicative reading

Austin, M.M. (2006) The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest, A Selection of Ancient Sources in Translation, 2nd edn., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge;
Crook, J.A, Lintott, A. and Rawson, E. (eds.) (1994) The Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd edn., Vol. IX: The Last Age of the Roman Republic, 146-43 B.C. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge;
Errington, R.M. (2008) A History of the Hellenistic World, Blackwell, Malden, Oxford, Carlton;
Erskine, A. (ed.) (2003) A Companion to the Hellenistic World, ed., Blackwell, Oxford;
Shipley, G. (2000) The Greek World after Alexander, 323-30 B.C., Routledge, London;
Walbank, F.W, Astin, A.E, Frederiksen, M.W. and Ogilvie, R.M. (eds.) (1984) The Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd edn., Vol. VII, Part I: The Hellenistic World, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge;
Walbank, F.W, Astin, A.E, Frederiksen, M.W. and Ogilvie, R.M. (eds) (1990) The Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd edn., Vol. VII, Part II: The Rise of Rome to 220 BC, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module, students will be able to:
Show in-depth knowledge of a selected theme, region or period in the ancient world;
Show knowledge of the contacts (political, social, economic and cultural) between the Greek World and the Near East during the Hellenistic period;
Assess the uses of different types of evidence (historiographical, literary, epigraphic, papyrological, archaeological) in the study of an ancient, more specifically Hellenistic, civilization, and to show familiarity with the different methodologies employed;
Assess and analyse the nature and extent of interaction between the incoming Graeco-Macedonians and the indigenous Near Eastern populations (e.g. in politics, society, the economy, religion and in cultural life);
Demonstrate a critical perspective on the current debates about the nature of interaction and social stratification between the Graeco-Macedonian conquerors and the native peoples and cultures;
Demonstrate significant knowledge of an appropriate and diverse range of primary source materials and appropriate methods of interpretation, and will be able to analyse, evaluate and interpret them in an independent and critical manner;
Listen and take notes;
Carry our analytical reading;
Synthesise arguments and identify key issues;
Identify, recall and deploy material relevant to a particular question;
Acquire awareness of controversy in academic literature;
Make written expositions with structured and coherent arguments, following accepted academic conventions;
Deliver succinct oral presentation and discussions of prepared material with efficiency and confidence;
Manage time efficiently and effectively;
Use academic websites and other IT resources as investigative tools.


  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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