Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

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

Undergraduate Course: Ancient Persia - The Achaemenid Dynasty (ANHI10016)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is a history of Iran during the Achaemenid period (559-330 BCE). It explores the political, social and cultural history of the Persian empire by investigating a wide range of sources drawn from Iran and the wider Empire.
Course description Iran is one of the world's oldest societies, with a rich cultural heritage, but very few universities offer courses in ancient Persian history, so this is a unique opportunity to study the history of Iran during the Achaemenid period. The course will focus on Persian history of the period 559-330 BCE, a time when Iran ruled the biggest and empire the world had ever seen, occupying an area that stretched from Ethiopia to Afghanistan. The course will concentrate on the reigns of the Achaemenid monarchs (including Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great and Xerxes), examining their political, socio-cultural and military achievements and on life at court. Students will be required to evaluate Iranian, Near Eastern, Egyptian and Greek sources as evidence for the period. Other themes will include the language of the Persians, life in the provinces, women in Persian society, art and architecture, religion, and the use made of the Achaemenid period in more recent Iranian history. The course will of necessity engage with textual and visual materials. Students will be asked to engage with theoretical approaches to Near Eastern history such as Orientalism.
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. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Allen, L.
2005. The Persian Empire. London.

Briant, P.
2002. From Cyrus to Alexander. A History of the Persian Empire. Winona Lake.

Brosius, M
1996. Women in Ancient Persia (559-331 BC). Oxford.

Cook, J.M.
1983. The Persian Empire. London.

Harrison, T.
2010. Writing Ancient Persia. London.

Kuhrt, A.
2007. The Persian Empire. A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period. London.

Llewellyn-Jones, L.
2009. ¿The First Persian Empire¿ in. T. Harrison, ed., Ancient Empires. London. 65-95.
2013. King and Court in Ancient Persia 559-331 BCE. Edinburgh.

Root, M.C.
1979. The King and Kingship in Achaemenid Art: Essays on the Creation of an Iconography of Empire. Leiden.

Wiesehöfer, J.
1996. Ancient Persia from 550 BC to 650 AD. London & New York.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
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.
KeywordsAncient Persia / Achaemenid
Course organiserDr Roel Konijnendijk
Tel: (0131 6)50 4620
Course secretaryMiss Sara Dennison
Tel: (0131 6)50 2501
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