- ARCHIVE as at 1 September 2013 for reference only

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Ancient History

Undergraduate Course: Persica: Ancient Greek Historians and the Persian Empire (ANHI10053)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaAncient History Other subject areaClassical Literature in Translation
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course description'Persica' is the name given to a particular field of Greek history writing which developed throughout the fifth and fourth centuries BCE: 'Persica' are monographs written about the Persians and their empire at the time when the Achaemenid dynasty was ruling the biggest land empire the world had ever seen. The Persians exerted a remarkable hold over the Greek imagination, and Greek literature overflows with references to all kinds of diverse Persian exotica: Persian-sounding (but fake) names, references to tribute, to proskynesis (obeisance), law, impalement, the office of the King=s Eye, good roads, eunuchs, gardens, drinking, and gold, to cite but a few.

'Persica' served an important function in the Greek world, for they fulfilled the Greeks= need to understand the alien culture which they simultaneously most feared, derided, and desired. From the late Archaic period to the age of Alexander the Great, each successive generation of Greeks had its own 'Persica' which served to reconfirm, as needed, national identity against the ever-changing yet ever-present external Persian threat. It is no coincidence that the desire to understand their powerful neighbours was expressed by mainly the Greeks of Asia Minor, and the authors of all known 'Persica', Herodotus and Ctesias amongst them, were born (and often resided) in cities under the intermittent domination of the Achaemenids.

This course will study key moments in the development of the genre of 'Persica' and offer the student close readings of key texts, attempting to understand both their context and content by placing them within the cultural and literary phenomena which characterise the historical development of Greek cultural contacts with the Persian Empire. Moreover, the legacy of 'Persica' will be discussed too, as the genre had an impact on (and was inspired by) other literary sources, most notably tragedy, comedy, and the novel.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Ancient History 2a: Past and Present in the Ancient World (ANHI08014)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics related subject matter(at least 2 of which should be in Ancient History) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course students should be able, through written work and class participation, to:
! demonstrate an understanding of the characteristic aspects of 'Persica' and place the 'Persica' in their cultural and historical contexts;
! demonstrate a clear knowledge of the construction of the genre of 'Persica' and the influence of the genre on other works of literature;
! demonstrate a clear awareness of the main historical and cultural phenomena of Greek interactions with the Persian Empire;
! discuss allusions to literary and cultural predecessors and successors in the works of writers of 'Persica'.

In addition they should be able to:
! develop skills in interpreting primary texts in translation;
! assess, analyse and criticise the various forms of ancient materials;
! compare and evaluate different approaches to and explanations of the ancient material in the secondary sources and make critical choices between them;
! express their ideas and arguments clearly (in both oral and written form);
! compare data from different sources and draw conclusions from them;
! enhance bibliographical research skills;
! organise their own learning, manage their workload and work to a timetable.
Assessment Information
50% - Degree Examination (of 2 Hours);
50% - continuous coursework (i.e. 25% coursework essay (of 3000 words); 25% coursework logbook).

Part-Year Visiting Student (VV1) Variant Assessment:
50% - Subject-Area administered Exam/Exercise in lieu of Degree Examination to take place in Week 12 (see the current course handbook for further details).
50% - continuous coursework (i.e. 25% coursework essay (of 3000 words); 25% coursework logbook).
Special Arrangements
In order for a student from outwith Classics to be enrolled, contact must be made with a Classics Secretary on 50 3580 for approval to be obtained.
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiserDr Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
Tel: (0131 6)50 3585
Course secretaryMs Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2013 The University of Edinburgh - 10 October 2013 3:20 am