This course is available through clearing

If you already have your exam results, meet the entry requirements and hold no offers, then you can apply to this course now.

Contact the admissions team

If you're waiting for your results, then sign up to our clearing alerts to get all the information you need ahead of results day.

Sign up now

BA Latin and French

Year of entry: 2020

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

For the latest updates on how coronavirus will affect applicants and offer-holders, you can visit our FAQs.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Holding an offer for 2020 entry? Visit our dedicated offer-holders page.

Information for offer-holders

Course unit details:
Constructing Archaic Greek History

Unit code CAHE10011
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Classics & Ancient History
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course-unit introduces students, especially those beginning the study of ancient history, to the politics, society and economy of the Greek world and its relations with neighbouring peoples in the archaic period (800-478 BC). As well as giving a self-contained introduction to the subject, the course also provides a basis for further study in more advanced courses in Greek history at Levels 2 and 3. The principal themes of the course are: the emergence and character of the leading Greek city-states and their geographical spread throughout the Mediterranean world; the rise of powerful non-Greek neighbours, especially Persia, during the sixth century; and the interaction between them, culminating in the Persian Wars. Particular attention will be paid to the nature of our evidence for the period: we will study the first work of western historiography, the Histories of Herodotus; we will also investigate the potential and problems of using other sorts of archaeological, documentary, and literary evidence to write the history of this period.


This course aims to introduce students to the study of Ancient History in general, and Greek history in particular. It explores the most important developments in Greek political, cultural and social history from end of the Dark Ages to the Persian Wars. In particular, it will introduce students to the most important sources for the study of archaic Greek history and the skills in analysing those sources that are core to the study of Greek history. The course focuses on the Greeks and the lands they inhabited; however, attention will be paid also to the relationship and interactions between Greek communities and their neighbours in the Mediterranean and Near East.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to

  • demonstrate acquired knowledge of key historical developments in the period;
  • demonstrate critical skills for analysing ancient sources effectively.

             (for further specific outcomes, see also below)


  • Introduction and orientation;
  • Development and spread of the polis;
  • Economic and Intellectual life;
  • Lawgivers and tyrants;
  • Archaic Athens;
  • Archaic Sparta;
  • The Persian Wars and their Legacy.

Teaching and learning methods

  • 2 x 1 hour lectures per week;
  • 1 x 1 hour seminar per week;
  • 1 dedicated consultation hour per week.
  • Blackboard: course material, handouts, online formative tests, and other supporting materials.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the principal events and important themes in the political, cultural and social history of Archaic Greece;
  • show familiarity with a range of types of ancient evidence, and an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of these different types of material.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • demonstrate the ability to construct an argument in written and oral form;
  • assimilate and summarise large quantities of evidence;
  • present the results in a professional manner with appropriate reference to sources and modern published scholarship.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • research, with guidance, an ancient historical topic.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • develop their ability to manage time;
  • work co-operatively in small groups;
  • engage in critical discussion and debate.

Employability skills

The course involves a large number of important employment skills, most notably an ability to analyse and examine a large amount of often difficult information, an ability to see both sides of an argument, the ability to synthesise an argument in a cogent form, the ability to retrieve information from complex sources and present it in a compelling and cogent fashion.

Assessment methods

Assessment task


Weighting within unit

Historical Commentary

750 words

0% (formative only)


1500 words



2 hours



Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on formative and summative assessment (see above); all summative coursework feedback is designed to contribute formatively towards improvement in subsequent assignments. Students are encouraged to seek formative feedback ahead of the first assignment of the unit by discussing work plans and approaches during seminars (where appropriate) and in consultation hours.
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment).

Recommended reading

  • Herodotus, The Histories (Penguin Classics or Oxford World Classics editions)
  • M. Dillon, L. Garland (Eds.), Ancient Greece, 3rd edition (London 2010)
  • Murray, Early Greece (London 1993)
  • S. Pomeroy et al, Ancient Greece. A political, cultural and social history, 3rd edition (Oxford 2012)
  • R. Osborne, Greece in the Making, 2nd edition, (London 2010)
  • J. Hall, A History of the Archaic Greek World (London 2007)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 154

Return to course details