Undergraduate Course: Persica: Ancient Greek Historians and the Persian Empire (ANHI10053)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||'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.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting 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?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
| 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.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||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.
|Course organiser||Dr Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
Tel: (0131 6)50 3585
|Course secretary||Ms Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582