Ancient History

Ancient History - BA (Hons)

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Overview

How did the ancient Romans use propaganda? What can everyday objects tell us about life in the ancient past? Immerse yourself in ancient civilisations and explore how they laid the foundations of modern European culture.

From the shores of Roman Britain to ancient Byzantium, studying Ancient History at Kent takes you on a journey through the ancient world, with options to explore literature or archaeology.

Our degree programme

In your first year, you take compulsory modules on the civilisations of Greece and Rome as well as an introduction to archaeology. You choose further modules on topics such as empires and classical mythology. You also have the opportunity to study ancient Greek and Latin; the languages of the ancient texts you will encounter during your course. 

In your second and final years, you choose from a wide range of modules covering areas including archaic Greece, Greek and Roman medicine, Roman Britain, Hellenic history, and the Roman Empire.  

Further options are available in classical literature and culture, archaeology, and higher levels of Latin and Greek. 

In your final year, you take either the dissertation or the extended essay module, depending on your academic performance and interest. 

You can also apply to take one of our placement modules, where you study museum or heritage studies, and spend time on a relevant internship. The placement modules are subject to a selection process. 

Canterbury is an ideal place to study the ancient world. The city’s cathedral forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the area is rich in pre-Roman, Roman, post-Roman and Anglo-Saxon history.


Kent students Molly and Nathan talk about their experiences studying at Kent.

Year or term abroad 

Working or studying abroad is a great opportunity to discover a new culture and demonstrates to future employers that you have the enthusiasm to succeed in a new environment. You can apply to spend a whole year or just a term abroad. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply. See Kent’s Go Abroad pages for more details. 

Placement year 

It is possible to spend a year on placement in the UK, gaining valuable workplace experience and increasing your professional contacts. Have a look at the Course structure or the Placement Year information for more details.

Study resources

You have access to our specialist laboratory for cleaning and sorting finds and our specialist equipment for geophysical surveys, photography, 3D laser scanning and microscopy. Our archaeology technician is on hand to help you as you work.

The University has an excellent library on campus, with journals as well as specialist collections. You can easily access international collections in London and local collections such as the Canterbury Cathedral Library.

Extra activities

The Kent Classical and Archaeological Society organises activities such as essay help sessions and lectures as well as social events and day trips to historical landmarks in the UK and Europe.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made.Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

  • Certificate

    A level

    BBB 

  • Certificate

    Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • Certificate

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances. A typical offer would be to achieve DDM.

  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time (4 with a year abroad), 6 years part-time

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

The module will introduce archaeology as an academic discipline, providing grounding in basic concepts and methodology and techniques of analysis relating to archaeological evidence. It will provide background relevant to other archaeological and historical modules in the Classical & Archaeological Studies and related programmes, through examining aspects of the archaeological process and examples in prehistoric, Roman, medieval and post-medieval contexts. It will enable students to make an informed choice of subsequent modules. Topics will include ceremonial, religious and burial sites, the emergence of settlement sites, the creation and development of towns, trade and exchange, artefactual and landscape studies using cases through time. Seminars will focus on methods and approaches, and the presentation of data and its interpretation.

Find out more about CL329

This module introduces classical archaeology, and the skills needed to study it. The course reviews the subject chronologically, from Minoans to Late Antiquity, and methodologically, covering the evidence and non-invasive research methods employed to make these tell the societal history of Mediterranean societies. It explores key issues such as Greek colonisation, Roman conquest and Romanisation, the nature of Minoan Palaces, and the city of Rome, as well as equipping students with knowledge of practical skills such as military archaeology, numismatics, epigraphy, ceramics, and other finds. We will look at major sites of classical archaeology, from Thera, Knossos, and Lefkandi, to Athens, Vergina, and Rome. We will also explore heritage issues surrounding the appreciation and looting of classical Greek and Hellenistic art.

Find out more about CL367

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.

Find out more about CL368

In this module, we shall begin by examining the history of the last century of the Roman republic. Our focus will be on how that republic fell and was replaced by the empire whose founder was Augustus. Among the themes examined will be political violence, the intrusion of the army into political life and the rise of the warlord. The second half of the module is concerned with the patronage of the arts (poetry, history writing, art and architecture) under Augustus, with the role of the arts as propaganda, and the thesis that writers were recruited to act as spokesmen for the policies and ideals of the principate. The central theme is the creation of enduring images of Rome and Empire, using traditional historical and mythological materials; alongside this, the module treats areas of public policy such as moral legislation, festivals, religious reform and the position of women. The module is also concerned with the responses of the writers, whether as supporters of public policy, or as commenting on and reacting against it. Thus, its content is much better understood as a result of the historical development outlined in the first part of term.

Find out more about CL369

Optional modules may include

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.

Find out more about CL370

This module is intended as an introduction for those new to studying Egyptology, but also those who want to pursue the subject mainly from an archaeological point of view. It will explore the diversity of methodologies and debates concerning Egyptian archaeology. In doing so, it will introduce students to aspects of anthropological and archaeological theory, as well as the relationship between theory, fieldwork, and the resulting interpretation. The aim is to introduce the archaeology of ancient Egypt and its culture, monuments, and civilisation.

The course will develop an understanding of the wide range of archaeological material encountered at Egyptian sites, demonstrating how the study of material culture greatly contributes to the understanding of important aspects of ancient Egyptian culture (history, geography, material remains and society). The history of Egyptology and Egyptian archaeology will also be examined, including discussion of new excavations in Egypt, connecting recent work with the results of projects spanning the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Find out more about CL372

Whether cruel or funny, hostile speech has a pervasive presence in the wealth of textual evidence from classical antiquity. Insulting communications, both formal and informal, reveal social values in an unusually succinct way, while their dependence on situation and context presents complex interpretative challenges.

In this module, insults form the basis for a wide-ranging investigation of classical literature inviting comparison of their literary treatment in different works and/or genres. The module is designed to accommodate various selections of material, which may include Greek literature, Roman literature, or a combination of both. It provides a variety of examples of invective to show the diversity of classical literature and, through the analysis of these examples, raise current debates in classical literary studies. So, for example, the insults found in Catullus may be used to explore the issue of authorial persona and 'sincerity'. Topics covered may include obscenity, debate and competition, laws governing slander and treason, the aesthetics of beauty and ugliness, construction of social categorisations (gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and status), and the conventions of specific genres.

Find out more about CL358

This module gives students a foundation in Ancient Greek, covering the fundamentals of morphology and syntax. By the end of the module, students will be able to read, comprehend, and translate simple sentences and short passages of Ancient Greek.

Find out more about CL359

This module is designed for students who have already acquired some fundamentals of Ancient Greek morphology and syntax. It aims to introduce students to reading and understanding complex sentence and longer passages by providing them with more knowledge of grammar and syntax.

Find out more about CL360

This module gives students a foundation in Latin, covering the fundamentals of morphology and syntax. By the end of the module, students will be able to read, comprehend, and translate simple sentences and short passages of Latin.

Find out more about CL364

This module is designed for students who have already acquired some fundamentals of Latin morphology and syntax. It aims to introduce students to reading and understanding complex sentence and longer passages by providing them with more knowledge of grammar and syntax.

Find out more about CL365

This module provides a general introduction to myth in the ancient world. Scholarship on approaches to mythology will inform the analysis of myth in its ancient setting. The curriculum will be designed to introduce students to a working repertoire of a large span of ancient (e.g. Greek) mythology and to its meanings and functions within its original context. A selection of case-study myths (represented in literature and/or iconography) will be used to examine the potential meanings and social functions of myth in general.

Find out more about CL366

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 2

Optional modules may include

The module focuses on solidifying students' knowledge of Ancient Greek grammar and vocabulary through exercises and by reading texts in the original. Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Greek literary texts through translation. This enhances their understanding of the key themes and ideas in the text.

Find out more about CL755

In addition to consolidating intermediate knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, this module emphasises close reading and interpretation of Ancient Greek literary texts in their literary and cultural contexts.

Find out more about CL756

Virgil composed the Aeneid in order to provide Rome with an epic equal to any that Homer produced. Commonly regarded as one the greatest epics of the ancient world, the Aeneid is the story of the foundation of Rome; a tale of exile, war, passionate love and the deepest humanity. We will analyse, comment on and explore the epic, book by book. This will be intertwined with a thematic approach, investigating issues concerning the gods, fate, morality, art and gender.

Find out more about CL739

The module focuses on solidifying students' knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary through exercises and by reading texts in the original. Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Latin literary texts through translation. This enhances their understanding of the key themes and ideas in the text.

Find out more about CL760

In addition to consolidating advanced knowledge of grammar and vocabulary, this module emphasises close reading and interpretation of Latin literary texts in their literary and cultural contexts.

Find out more about CL761

This module consists of an introduction to the study of the various indigenous languages and scripts of ancient Egypt from the earliest times to the Arab conquest (641 AD). During this period of approximately four thousand years the development of the native Egyptian tongue may be divided into five distinct phases, each of which may be called a separate language in its own right, Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian, New Egyptian, Demotic and, finally, Coptic. A variety of writing systems were developed to record texts in these languages, depending on the function, social and presentational context and time period of the text: hieroglyphic, hieratic, abnormal hieratic, demotic and Coptic.

The module will first examine the origins of the ancient Egyptian language and its genetic relationship with other North-East African and Western Asian languages based on the latest results of historical linguistics. It will then focus on the development of Egyptian itself through the ages, highlighting its different stages and their particular characteristics. It will also examine the earliest uses and functions of writing in Egyptian society and the role played by writing in the social, economic and cultural development of this unique ancient civilisation. Finally, the module will concentrate on the Middle Egyptian language written in the hieroglyphic writing system and students will be taught to read and translate simple texts in this tongue and script.

Find out more about CL5001

This module examines in detail the history of the Roman Empire from the commencement of the Principate of Augustus in 30 BC to the death of the Emperor Domitian in AD 96. It will also provide both a survey of a major period of Roman imperial history and an opportunity to study in greater depth the administrative, social, economic and religious developments of this period. Students will read widely from the ancient sources, historical, literary and documentary, and will be introduced to the inscriptional evidence for imperial history. This module will concentrate on the main administrative, social, economic and religious developments throughout the period rather than on the details of political and military history. Students will read widely in the major ancient sources, including Tacitus, Pliny and Suetonius, and will be introduced to the inscriptional and documentary evidence for imperial history.

Find out more about CL587

The module covers the study of Roman art and architecture, including the close interpretation of works of art and buildings, and an investigation of the role of art and architecture within the wider Roman world. The geographical area covered will include both Rome and Italy, and provincial Roman sites and material. Aspects to be examined include context, dating, technique, styles and subject matter, and ideology including the role played by art in Roman society. Arranged broadly in chronological order, from the Republican to the late Roman period, the course gives an overview of the varied media and techniques used in Roman art and architecture and the changes in art style that occurred throughout the Roman period.

Find out more about CL609

This module will explore Mediterranean life in the period 283-650, from the time of Diocletian and Constantine to the Arab Conquests covering the world of major figures such as Julian, Augustine, Justinian, and Mohammed. It will separate the complex changes of this period, which have often been lumped together in a single misleading model of 'decline'. Long-term phenomena, such as the centralisation of imperial power, the emergence of a Christian state, the collapse of the Eastern Empire, and the rise of Islam, remain legitimate topics of interest.

Different aspects of society will be explored, using textual, archaeological and iconographic evidence, covering such themes as the emperor and court, war, cities, the countryside, the economy, the end of paganism, and the rise of Christianity. These portraits will draw on the extraordinary preservation of sites and landscapes in North Africa and the East Mediterranean, where cities, villages and monasteries often stand as if they had only recently been abandoned. Rich stratigraphic evidence, from earthquake and abandonment deposits, also makes it possible to perceive the everyday life of the period in a way that is only true of Pompeii in earlier centuries. Students taking this course will develop an understanding of both the last flowering of Greek culture and the cultural foundations of the Middle Ages (in Europe, Byzantium and Islam), revealing an important chapter in our history, which is often ignored but is vital to grasp, to understand the legacy of Antiquity.

Find out more about CL640

This module is concerned with the impact of the Classical World on ancient Egypt between Alexander's invasion and the Arab conquest, and on the nature and permanence of the brilliant hybrid civilisation which emerged under Greek and Roman rule.

Alexander entered Egypt as a liberator, but he and his successors created a colonial regime with Greek as the ruling language and Greeks as the ruling elite under their own law. Mercenaries were settled on reclaimed land, Greek cities were founded, especially Alexandria, one of the glories of the ancient world. An elaborate system of economic regulation maximised production to support warfare, city-building and display. The temples became a department of state. New cults were created to unite the two peoples and strengthen the regime. Native Egyptians showed their resentment in disaffection and rebellion. Roman rule (after the spectacular end of the Ptolemaic dynasty) was if anything harsher and more remote, and the rise of the Copts is often interpreted as an anti-Roman, anti-Classical movement.

Yet it is a mistake to see the relationship as wholly negative. Art and architecture flourished – most temples surviving today are the work of the Ptolemies. In civil service, army, business the new regime offered avenues to advancement for native Egyptians. A genuinely bilingual upper class emerged, able to make significant contributions to Classical culture. The ancient religion retained its prestige and was adopted by many Greeks, spreading far outside Egypt. Coptic culture was as much Classical as Egyptian, and Greek language long survived the Arab conquest. Sources for this vivid, complex and often neglected phase of Egyptian history are rich and varied: temples, tombs, remains of cities and villages, mummies, inscriptions, sculpture, coins, and an extraordinary range of papyrus documents, able to offer unique insights into an ancient civilisation.

Find out more about CL650

Across much of Britain by the Late Bronze Age (from c. 1000 BC), economic and social organisation was beginning to assume forms that provided the foundations for subsequent fundamental transformations seen through the First Millennium BC: in population, in agriculture, in technology, in land holding and power and cultural forms. The period saw the emergence of technologies, manufacturing and craft skills, social structures and belief systems, husbandry and movement of enduring influence. The unfolding of this formative period, with its efficiently managed landscape dotted with farmsteads and hillforts, lavish metalwork and occasionally exotic burials, and its fluctuating and enigmatic relationships with mainland Europe, is accessible mostly through archaeological study alone: and what a rich resource that has proved to be, especially through recent studies and techniques. Only at the very end does limited historical information become available when we are told of the presence of chariot borne warriors, kings, queens and Druids.

This module spans the late Bronze and Iron Ages, presenting the often dramatic and striking archaeological and historical data within current interpretative frameworks. All parts of the British Isles will come into focus. Settlements, burials, material culture, environmental remains and monuments are explored revealing a richly nuanced matrix of cultural evidence that inspires interrogation and interpretation.

Find out more about CL666

This module reviews texts relating to sexual behaviour attitudes and relationships throughout Latin Literature, raising questions about both the perception of sexuality in antiquity and how perception was translated into social and political relationships. Because of the nature of its coverage, it can be counted as either a literature or a social history course, and is intended as a wide-ranging complement to both. The module relies on primary texts from a variety of literary genres, from Epic and poetry to private letters, legal texts and inscriptions.

Find out more about CL667

How do you imagine Roman Antiquity? How do the images produced for film, TV and popular fiction reflect the lives of those in antiquity? Can we see the everyday experience of Pliny, Juvenal or Augustine or of those who were killed in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79? This module will explore everyday life in the Roman world, from haircuts, tattoos and gestures, to everyday rites and rhythms, whether domestic, social, political or religious, focusing on human experience, with its culturally specific organisation rather than abstract scholarly constructions. It will range from Augustan Rome to Late Antique Constantinople, and will draw on depictions, literary evidence (such as poems), original documents (from personal letters to minutes of meetings), inscriptions and especially archaeology, focusing on key sites where preservation is good, such as Pompeii, Ostia, Sardis and Petra. Here buildings, graffiti, occupation deposits and other traces will allow snapshots of everyday life to be constructed: of the houses, workshops, taverns, temples, theatres and churches of Antiquity. Students will be encouraged to undertake both empirical studies and imaginative reconstructions as part of their assessment, so that they understand the importance not only of describing what evidence remains of everyday life, but of actively reconstructing the past, and of engaging different types of evidence in a critical dialogue.

Find out more about CL674

The module will allow the student to acquire knowledge and critical understanding of the fundamental principles related to collecting and interpreting objects within museums and managing these institutions. Students will be required to become familiar and engage critically, during the seminars, with the key references on these topics. Students will then be required to apply concepts and principles learnt in class in the context of their internship.

As part of their internship, each student will devise a special project in consultation with the mentor and the module convenor. Precise objectives and skills to be learnt will be recorded and tracked regularly. Students will keep a weekly log of their activities. The placement may take place either at a set period during the Easter vacation or at regular intervals over the Autumn and Spring terms.

Find out more about CL700

This module introduces some of the major works in ancient philosophy in relation to ethics, aesthetics, political theory, ontology and metaphysics. Students will study substantial portions of primary texts by the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle the Epicureans, Stoics and/or the Skeptics. The emphasis throughout will be on the philosophical significance of the ideas studied. The module will concentrate on understanding key philosophical arguments and concepts within the context of the ancient intellectual tradition. This means that students will gain a critical distance from normative and modern definitions of philosophical terms in order to understand how ancient philosophy generally approached questions and problems with different suppositions and conceptions of reality, reason and the purpose of human existence.

Find out more about CL708

This module explores 5th-century Athenian history through the plays that were put on stage during this period of war and political upheaval. Greek tragedies and comedies produced during this tumultuous period (472-405 BC) offer us some of the most enticing, yet challenging, evidence for the state of Athenian politics and attitudes to contemporary events (especially war and empire). In this module, the evidence of key plays will be set against other forms of historical evidence to illuminate the complex relationship between the types of evidence that survive and the nature of 'making history'.

Find out more about CL713

This module examines in detail the history of the Roman Republic from 350 BC through to 100 BC, and provides both a survey of a major period of Roman history and an opportunity to study in greater depth the political, social, and economic consequences of the development of Rome's imperial ambitions in the Mediterranean. Students will read widely in the ancient sources, historical, literary and documentary. Students will read widely from a range of works including Polybius, Plutarch, Livy, Appian, Cicero, and Sallust.

Find out more about CL732

This module is concerned with the Hellenistic period, which saw an expansion of the Greek world into the Near East and, as a result, the profound political and cultural transformation of the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean. The Hellenistic world played a crucial role not just in the transmission of classical Greek civilisation but also in the shaping of the Roman Empire and its culture, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean. For these reasons, it is a key period in the development of Greek, Roman and later European civilisations. The module intends to provide a general survey of the political, social, economic and cultural history of the Eastern Mediterranean in the period between 336 and 30 BC, following on from the classical Greek and in part dovetailing with and in part preparing the ground for the Roman historical modules. The module will be taught from a range of sources, historical, literary, papyrological, epigraphic and archaeological. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction between the incoming Graeco-Macedonian and indigenous local populations and the formation of new states and cultures.

Find out more about CL737

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

You can apply to add a Year Abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year.  The Year Abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities.  Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme.  For a full list, please see Go Abroad.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.  The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.

Stage 3

Optional modules may include

This module is intended to introduce undergraduate students to research. As such it provides an opportunity to work on a topic of their own choosing, in either archaeology, history or ancient literature. Originality and feasibility are important aspects of writing dissertations, and to avoid problems topics will be scrutinised and approved by CLAS before research can begin. Students can expect guidance from the module convenor and an academic supervisor throughout the process, varying from one-to-one tutorials to classes on how to edit your own prose. There will also be a meeting regarding the Dissertation at the end of the Spring term of the previous year to clarify arrangements and to outline what work is required on this module.

The programme document with regulations is sent to all students at the end of spring term of Stage 2. Students are invited to suggest titles for comment, for which tutors are allocated. They are advised to do preliminary reading over the summer based on generic advice of the module convenor. They then choose precise topics in consultation with the convenor and personal tutors at the start of the autumn term.

Find out more about CL6001

This module addresses one of the fundamental aims of the programme, to familiarise students with the techniques of independent study and practice methodological skills they have acquired/are acquiring in their other modules. Essays may be written on any suitable subject, subject to approval by the convenor, and the module can be linked with any of the modules in the programme. Choices will be informed by the student's personal interests, the fulfilment of the aims of the module, the availability of expert supervision, and the accessibility of relevant material.

Find out more about CL6002

This module consists of an introduction to the study of the various indigenous languages and scripts of ancient Egypt from the earliest times to the Arab conquest (641 AD). During this period of approximately four thousand years the development of the native Egyptian tongue may be divided into five distinct phases, each of which may be called a separate language in its own right, Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian, New Egyptian, Demotic and, finally, Coptic. A variety of writing systems were developed to record texts in these languages, depending on the function, social and presentational context and time period of the text: hieroglyphic, hieratic, abnormal hieratic, demotic and Coptic.

The module will first examine the origins of the ancient Egyptian language and its genetic relationship with other North-East African and Western Asian languages based on the latest results of historical linguistics. It will then focus on the development of Egyptian itself through the ages, highlighting its different stages and their particular characteristics. It will also examine the earliest uses and functions of writing in Egyptian society and the role played by writing in the social, economic and cultural development of this unique ancient civilisation. Finally, the module will concentrate on the Middle Egyptian language written in the hieroglyphic writing system and students will be taught to read and translate simple texts in this tongue and script.

Find out more about CL6003

This module will provide a detailed and research-led study of the century of political instability now known commonly to historians as the 'crisis' of the Roman Republic. It begins at the end of the 2nd century BCE amidst a period of rising populism, demagoguery, and socio-economic strain and fragmentation among the traditional elite. Proceeding through the civil wars of the 1st century BCE, from Sulla and Marius, Pompey and Caesar, and finally Antony and Octavian, the study ends with the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE and the accession of Octavian/Augustus as monarch over the Roman Empire.

The lectures will give detailed discussion of the varying scholarly interpretations of this much-discussed and famous period of Roman history, introducing students to the sources of evidence (historiography, biography, political philosophy, art, coinage, architecture, inscriptions) and providing models of their effective combination. In addition to the chronological survey of the period discussed, lectures will also develop major themes essential to the students' understanding of the century of political crisis that precipitated the transition from Republic to monarchy. Topics covered may include tradition and innovation; art and the political; consensus models; crisis theory; women and the sub-elite as political actors; rhetoric and its abuse; warfare and imperialism.

The seminars will provide hands-on training in the interpretation of the evidence for these periods and themes, both material and literary, arising out of the content of the immediately preceding lecture. Some seminars will also be reserved for discussion in order to clarify best practice for the assessments.

Find out more about CL6004

How did the Western Roman Empire undergo its transformation into the early medieval world? This course provides an overview of the period between 300 and 600 A.D., in particular, examining the collision between barbarian and Roman in late Antiquity and the development of the post-Roman and early medieval West, focusing on changes in culture and society through a critical evaluation of evidence from history, art, architecture and archaeology. There will be a focus on Italy, France and Britain, which is intended to provide a manageable and structured course at an appropriate level of detail, with the potential for some depth of analysis. It is also intended to concentrate on those geographical areas which mesh closely with the subject matter of other courses in Roman archaeology and late Antique and medieval history offered by the Classical & Archaeological Studies department.

Find out more about CL591

This module reviews texts relating to sexual behaviour attitudes and relationships throughout Latin Literature, raising questions about both the perception of sexuality in antiquity and how perception was translated into social and political relationships. Because of the nature of its coverage, it can be counted as either a literature or a social history course, and is intended as a wide-ranging complement to both. The module relies on primary texts from a variety of literary genres, from Epic and poetry to private letters, legal texts and inscriptions.

Find out more about CL573

This module is concerned with the impact of the Classical World on ancient Egypt between Alexander's invasion and the Arab conquest, and on the nature and permanence of the brilliant hybrid civilisation which emerged under Greek and Roman rule.

Alexander entered Egypt as a liberator, but he and his successors created a colonial regime with Greek as the ruling language and Greeks as the ruling elite under their own law. Mercenaries were settled on reclaimed land, Greek cities were founded, especially Alexandria, one of the glories of the ancient world. An elaborate system of economic regulation maximised production to support warfare, city-building and display. The temples became a department of state. New cults were created to unite the two peoples and strengthen the regime. Native Egyptians showed their resentment in disaffection and rebellion. Roman rule (after the spectacular end of the Ptolemaic dynasty) was if anything harsher and more remote, and the rise of the Copts is often interpreted as an anti-Roman, anti-Classical movement.

Yet it is a mistake to see the relationship as wholly negative. Art and architecture flourished – most temples surviving today are the work of the Ptolemies. In civil service, army, business the new regime offered avenues to advancement for native Egyptians. A genuinely bilingual upper class emerged, able to make significant contributions to Classical culture. The ancient religion retained its prestige and was adopted by many Greeks, spreading far outside Egypt. Coptic culture was as much Classical as Egyptian, and Greek language long survived the Arab conquest. Sources for this vivid, complex and often neglected phase of Egyptian history are rich and varied: temples, tombs, remains of cities and villages, mummies, inscriptions, sculpture, coins, and an extraordinary range of papyrus documents, able to offer unique insights into an ancient civilisation.

Find out more about CL586

This module is concerned with the Hellenistic period, which saw an expansion of the Greek world into the Near East and, as a result, the profound political and cultural transformation of the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean. The Hellenistic world played a crucial role not just in the transmission of classical Greek civilisation but also in the shaping of the Roman Empire and its culture, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean. For these reasons, it is a key period in the development of Greek, Roman and later European civilisations. The module intends to provide a general survey of the political, social, economic and cultural history of the Eastern Mediterranean in the period between 336 and 30 BC, following on from the classical Greek and in part dovetailing with and in part preparing the ground for the Roman historical modules. The module will be taught from a range of sources, historical, literary, papyrological, epigraphic and archaeological. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction between the incoming Graeco-Macedonian and indigenous local populations and the formation of new states and cultures.

Find out more about CL738

This module examines in detail the history of the Roman Empire from the commencement of the Principate of Augustus in 30 BC to the death of the Emperor Domitian in AD 96. It will also provide both a survey of a major period of Roman imperial history and an opportunity to study in greater depth the administrative, social, economic and religious developments of this period. Students will read widely from the ancient sources, historical, literary and documentary, and will be introduced to the inscriptional evidence for imperial history. This module will concentrate on the main administrative, social, economic and religious developments throughout the period rather than on the details of political and military history.

Students will read widely in the major ancient sources, including Tacitus, Pliny and Suetonius, and will be introduced to the inscriptional and documentary evidence for imperial history.

Find out more about CL734

This module takes a critical and interdisciplinary approach to modern interpretations of ancient literature, culture and art. After first developing a rich and detailed view of a key theme in classical studies (e.g. inebriation, madness, divine signs, humour, emotion, ugliness, the senses), the module will then explore how its central theme is addressed both in the ancient world and in twenty-first century debates.

Find out more about CL736

This module explores 5th-century Athenian history through the plays which were put on stage during this period of war and political upheaval. Greek tragedies and comedies produced during this tumultuous period (472-405 BC) offer us some of the most enticing, yet challenging, evidence for the state of Athenian politics and attitudes to contemporary events (especially war and empire). In this module, the evidence of key plays will be set against other forms of historical evidence to illuminate the complex relationship between the types of evidence which survive and the nature of 'making history'.

Find out more about CL714

This module provides an introduction to some of the major works in ancient philosophy in relation to ethics, aesthetics, political theory, ontology and metaphysics. Students will study substantial portions of primary texts by the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, Stoics and/or the Skeptics. The emphasis throughout will be on the philosophical significance of the ideas studied. The module will concentrate on understanding key philosophical arguments and concepts within the context of the ancient intellectual tradition. This means that students will gain a critical distance from normative and modern definitions of philosophical terms in order to understand how ancient philosophy generally approached questions and problems with different suppositions and conceptions of reality, reason and the purpose of human existence.

Find out more about CL709

How do you imagine Roman Antiquity? How do the images produced for film, TV and popular fiction reflect the lives of those in antiquity? Can we see the everyday experience of Pliny, Juvenal or Augustine or of those who were killed in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79? This module will explore everyday life in the Roman world, from haircuts, tattoos and gestures, to everyday rites and rhythms, whether domestic, social, political or religious, focusing on human experience, with its culturally specific organisation rather than abstract scholarly constructions. It will range from Augustan Rome to Late Antique Constantinople, and will draw on depictions, literary evidence (such as poems), original documents (from personal letters to minutes of meetings), inscriptions and especially archaeology, focusing on key sites where preservation is good, such as Pompeii, Ostia, Sardis and Petra. Here buildings, graffiti, occupation deposits and other traces will allow snapshots of everyday life to be constructed: of the houses, workshops, taverns, temples, theatres and churches of Antiquity. Students will be encouraged to undertake both empirical studies and imaginative reconstructions as part of their assessment, so that they understand the importance not only of describing what evidence remains of everyday life, but of actively reconstructing the past, and of engaging different types of evidence in a critical dialogue.

Find out more about CL675

Virgil composed the Aeneid in order to provide Rome with an epic equal to any that Homer produced. Commonly regarded as one the greatest epics of the ancient world, the Aeneid is the story of the foundation of Rome; a tale of exile, war, passionate love and the deepest humanity. We will analyse, comment on and explore the epic, book by book. This will be intertwined with a thematic approach, investigating issues concerning the gods, fate, morality, art and gender.

Find out more about CL641

This module will explore Mediterranean life in the period 283-650, from the time of Diocletian and Constantine to the Arab Conquests covering the world of major figures such as Julian, Augustine, Justinian, and Mohammed. It will separate the complex changes of this period, which have often been lumped together in a single misleading model of 'decline'. Long-term phenomena, such as the centralisation of imperial power, the emergence of a Christian state, the collapse of the Eastern Empire, and the rise of Islam, remain legitimate topics of interest.

Different aspects of society will be explored, using textual, archaeological and iconographic evidence, covering such themes as the emperor and court, war, cities, the countryside, the economy, the end of paganism, and the rise of Christianity. These portraits will draw on the extraordinary preservation of sites and landscapes in North Africa and the East Mediterranean, where cities, villages and monasteries often stand as if they had only recently been abandoned. Rich stratigraphic evidence, from earthquake and abandonment deposits, also makes it possible to perceive the everyday life of the period in a way that is only true of Pompeii in earlier centuries. Students taking this course will develop an understanding of both the last flowering of Greek culture and the cultural foundations of the Middle Ages (in Europe, Byzantium and Islam), revealing an important chapter in our history, which is often ignored but is vital to grasp, to understand the legacy of Antiquity.

Find out more about CL638

This module is an introduction to ancient Greek ritual and religion, including the Mystery cults. The module offers a comprehensive introduction to the major gods and goddesses of ancient Greece, spheres of influence, characters, relationships, exploits, and worship. It is concerned with the analysis of religious festivals, cults, beliefs, and the development of religious architecture. The module additionally briefly contrasts Greek religion to Christianity, as an example of investigating how Greek religion differs from, and resembles modern religions. The materials of the module are drawn from archaeology, Greek poets, artists, playwrights, mythographers, and philosophers from the 10th–2nd centuries BC.

Find out more about CL752

The module provides students with an advanced understanding of Ancient Greek Prose through the reading, translation and interpretation of ancient text(s). Students will gain a systematic understanding of Greek by reading texts in the original with special attention to stylistics, textual criticism and/or thematic development through the use of author- and theme-specific scholarly tools and publications. The emphasis in this module will be on the development of critical skills that aid in the analysis of the text(s) as literature within a broader literary and cultural context.

Find out more about CL753

The module provides students with an advanced understanding of Ancient Greek Verse through the reading, translation and interpretation of ancient text(s). Students will gain a systematic understanding of Greek by reading texts in the original with special attention to stylistics, textual criticism and/or thematic development through the use of author- and theme-specific scholarly tools and publications. The emphasis in this module will be on the development of critical skills that aid in the analysis of the text(s) as literature within a broader literary and cultural context.

Find out more about CL757

The module provides students with an advanced understanding of Latin Prose through the reading, translation and interpretation of ancient text(s). Students will gain a systematic understanding of Latin by reading texts in the original with special attention to stylistics, textual criticism and/or thematic development through the use of author- and theme-specific scholarly tools and publications. The emphasis in this module will be on the development of critical skills that aid in the analysis of the text(s) as literature within a broader literary and cultural context.

Find out more about CL758

The module provides students with an advanced understanding of Latin Verse through the reading, translation and interpretation of ancient text(s). Students will gain a systematic understanding of Latin by reading texts in the original with special attention to stylistics, textual criticism and/or thematic development through the use of author- and theme-specific scholarly tools and publications. The emphasis in this module will be on the development of critical skills that aid in the analysis of the text(s) as literature within a broader literary and cultural context.

Find out more about CL759

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £9250
  • International full-time £16200
  • Home/EU part-time £4625
  • International part-time £8100

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £9,250.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Teaching and assessment

All modules have a weekly small-group seminar, and most also have weekly lectures. We encourage you to take part in excavations and field surveys with staff and associated institutions, and student bursaries are available to support this.

Assessment at all stages varies from 100% coursework to a combination of examination and coursework.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • teach a congruent discipline within the framework of the European intellectual, cultural and historical traditions, interacting with other component disciplines
  • treat the diverse societies and cultures of the Ancient World and their interaction, with a focus on history, but with the possibility of the inclusion of literature and archaeology
  • study the history of ancient Greece and Rome, and the contemporary civilizations of ancient Asia Minor, Persia and Egypt, from ca.600BC to ca.AD600
  • survey the main areas and genres of Classical Literature, both Greek and Latin
  • make a study in depth of selected themes, regions and periods in history
  • introduce key elements by which early Europe acquired its social, political, cultural and intellectual foundations
  • explore different types of evidence: literary, historical, art-historical and archaeological, using primary source material wherever possible and focusing of different approaches and techniques
  • examine the problems of interpretation in each type of source material through critical analysis of current studies
  • equip students with a range of subject-based critical thinking and communication skills
  • provide learning opportunities that are enjoyable, involve realistic workloads and offer appropriate support for students from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • another culture, whether focused on literature, thought, art and religion, or on history and political and social organisation, or on material culture, with an informed sense of the similarities and differences between it and our own culture
  • complementary subjects (literary, philosophical, historical, art historical and archaeological)
  • selected themes, periods and regions within ancient history in the context of current debate
  • an appropriate and diverse range of primary materials and of the appropriate methods of interpretation.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • apply the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
  • analyse, evaluate and interpret a variety of types of evidence in an independent and critical manner
  • select, gather and synthesise relevant information from a wide variety of sources to gain a coherent understanding
  • deploy a range of techniques and methodologies of study
  • use problem solving skills
  • evaluate research in a critical manner
  • study and reach conclusions independently.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • the ability to make a critical evaluation of a variety of sources for literary and historical and as appropriate archaeological study
  • the ability to extract key elements from complex data and identify and solve associated problems
  • select and apply appropriate methodologies in assessing data, such as bibliographical research, textual analysis, historical analysis, visual skills, collection and analysis of archaeological data, use of statistics, philosophical argument and analysis
  • gather, memorise and deploy evidence and information, and show awareness of the consequences of the unavailability of evidence
  • show familiarity with the basic concepts which underpin the different branches of the programme pathways
  • marshal argument lucidly and communicate interpretations using the appropriate academic conventions.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of individuals using a variety of means
  • take responsibility for your personal and professional learning and development
  • evaluate and learn from your own academic performance
  • manage time and prioritise workloads and assessments, and write and think under pressure
  • use problem-solving skills in a variety of theoretical and practical situations
  • work creatively, flexibly and adaptably with others, and understand how groups function
  • deploy a range of IT skills effectively, such as producing word-processed text with footnotes, basic formatting, using email, research using databases and text files, locating and exploiting websites.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

Independent rankings

Classics and Ancient History at Kent was ranked 9th in The Times Good University Guide 2020 and scored 92.5 out of 100 in The Complete University Guide 2020.

Over 92% of Classics graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations were in work or further study within six months (DLHE 2017).

Careers

Graduate destinations

In recent years, our graduates have found jobs in:

  • the museum and heritage industry
  • the civil service
  • education
  • archaeological fieldwork
  • librarianship
  • journalism
  • business
  • computing
  • marketing.

  Many other graduates have gone on to further academic study.

Help finding a job

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Career-enhancing skills

To help you appeal to employers, you learn transferable skills that are useful in any career. These include the ability to:

  • think critically
  • express yourself clearly and logically
  • solve problems
  • work independently or as part of a team.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Apply

Full-time applicants

Full-time applicants (including international applicants) should apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system. If you need help or advice on your application, you should speak with your careers adviser or contact UCAS Customer Contact Centre. 

The institution code number for the University of Kent is K24, and the code name is KENT.

Application deadlines

See the UCAS website for an outline of the UCAS process and application deadlines. 

If you are applying for courses based at Medway, you should add the campus code K in Section 3(d).

Apply through UCAS

Apply now for part-time study

Ancient History - BA (Hons) - part-time at Canterbury

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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