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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Ancient History

Undergraduate Course: Archaic Athens: Renaissance and Revolution (ANHI10014)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course traces the history of Greece, and Athens in particular, during the Archaic period. It will focus on Greek history from two viewpoints, the political history contained in textual evidence, and the socio-cultural history from the material remains. An understanding of this key period in Greek history will enable students to better understand the development of Athenian democracy and east-west relationships in the Classical age. Students will be required to engage with political theory, cultural and social ideologies, and gender studies.
Course description This course explores the main issues of, and methodological approaches to, the study of Archaic Greece, with particular emphasis on Archaic Athens. The lack of literary sources for many of the topics discussed will expose students to a different way of doing ancient history, which relies heavily on archaeological evidence and societal comparison.

List of topics:
Introduction 1: Reconstructing Greek History
Introduction 2: Source, Evidence, Dates
The Dark Age and the VIII century revolution
The invention of writing
Homeric Society
Communities, ethne and the polis
Space and material culture in the archaic polis: Athens
Law and lawmaking
Travels, stories and new homes across the sea: colonization and the 'other'
The elite: the origins of the state
Livelihood and crisis: land, exploitation and the archaic economy
War in Archaic Greece
From community to state: Attica and Athens from Draco to Solon
Solon and his reforms: social mobility and institutionalization
Elite competition and tyranny
Tyrants and citizenship: Athens under the Peisistratids
Popular rule in archaic Greece: the first democracies?
An Athenian revolution? The birth of democracy in Athens
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) AND Ancient History 2b: Themes and Theories in Ancient History (ANHI08013)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements 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
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. an understanding of the complexity of the body of evidence for Archaic Greece;
  2. an understanding of political and social structures and their interrelatedness with the source material under investigation;
  3. an ability to use critically a variety of different methodologies and approaches to this body of material;
  4. a familiarity with archaeological evidence and its importance for Archaic history;
  5. bibliographical research skills to enable students to find independently additional information relating to the study of Archaic Greece.
Reading List
O. Murray, Early Greece (second edition, London, 1993)
I. Morris, 'Archaeology and archaic Greek history', in N. Fisher and H. van Wees ed. Archaic Greece: New Approaches and New Evidence (London, 1998) 1-91.
K. Raaflaub and H. van Wees ed. A Companion to Archaic Greece (Oxford, 2009).
F. de Polignac, Cults, Territory, and the Origins of the Greek City-state (Paris, 1984; English revised edition, Chicago 1995).
D. Cairns, Oxford Readings in Homer's Iliad (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
H. van Wees, Status Warriors: War, Violence and Society in Homer and History (1992).
E.M. Harris, 'Solon and the Spirit of Early Greek Law' in Solon: New Perspectives, ed. J. Blok and A. Lardinois (Leiden 2006).
K.-J. Hölkeskamp, 'Written law in archaic Greece', PCPS 38 (1992) 87-117.
M. Giangiulio 'Constructing the past: Colonial Traditions and the Writing of History. The Case of Cyrene', in N. Luraghi (ed.), The Historian's Craft in the Age of Herodotus (Oxford, 2001) 116-37.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsArchaic Athens
Course organiserDr Mirko Canevaro
Tel: (0131 6)51 1256
Course secretaryMs Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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