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

Undergraduate Course: From Athena to Edina: Antiquity in Revolution between Greece and Scotland (CLGE10011)

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 considers the synchronous developments of pro-independence conflict in Greece and the identification of Edinburgh as the 'Athens of the North' or 'Modern Athens'. It focuses particularly on how these two movements brokered their own identities with reference to and appropriation of classical antiquity and ideals of 'civilization'.
Course description This course juxtaposes the reception of classical antiquity in Greece and Scotland in the period c.1770-1870. Two hundred years ago, in 1821, Greece broke out in a revolution that would disrupt four centuries of Ottoman rule. Exactly contemporaneously, Scottish cultural elites had begun calling Edinburgh the 'Athens of the North' and the 'Modern Athens'. These two contexts appear at first sight entirely separate; however, through the A.G. Leventis Foundation-funded exhibition at Edinburgh, 'Edina/Athena: The Greek Revolution and the Athens of the North, 1821-2021', the many links between Scotland and Greece in the revolutionary period are now being brought to light. Scots fought in the Greek Revolution; they wrote early histories of the conflict; they held political and civil office in the early Greek state; they responded to the spoken language of modern Greece by reforming the way they taught Classical Greek at home; they recreated and refashioned the art and architecture of Periclean Athens on Calton Hill and the Mound.

This course places these contexts in critical perspective: What did the Greek Revolution mean for Greeks and the Scottish idealists who fought on Greece's behalf, and how did the Ottoman Empire fit into this picture? How were students at Scottish universities taught Greek language, history, art, and architecture, and what impact did this have on the intellectual and built environment of the 'Athens of the North'? In the context of the Leventis exhibition, what are the ethics of displaying cultural heritage collections, and how can we research and communicate the provenance of these collections with social and cultural awareness? How are such complex and often little-known topics best presented to a non-specialist audience? This course will encourage students to problematize the twin 'civilizing' narratives of (1) the bloody Greek fight for independence against a vilified and Orientalized Ottoman Empire and (2) the creation of a 'Modern Athens' in a Scotland simultaneously participating in the British imperial venture while also smarting from the thwarted Jacobite risingsof the previous century. Through its innovative assessment methods, this course will train students to communicate the complexities of these narratives in a public-facing manner, equipping them to engage sensitively with debates where the past is appropriated to serve present-day political and cultural agendas.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have progressed to Honours in a Classics, History, or Archaeology programme to take this course, but there are otherwise no pre-requisites.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics, History or Archaeology at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
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 a firm grasp of the body of knowledge relevant to the themes of the course;
  2. Demonstrate facility with analysing and evaluating modes of classical reception in the early nineteenth century(including employing intellectual frameworks such as decolonialization);
  3. Demonstrate engagement with and critical reflection upon modern scholarship;
  4. Demonstrate the ability to communicate complex objects and narratives in a clear and concise manner to a general, museum-going public (through the University's online platform);
  5. Demonstrate the ability to work alongside the course leader and exhibition curator in the dissemination of and legacy development for the exhibition 'Edina/Athena: The Greek Revolution and the Athens of the North, 1821-2021.
Reading List
1. Bastéa, E., The Creation of Modern Athens: Planning the Myth (Cambridge, 2000)
2. Beaton,R., Byron's War: Romantic Rebellion, Greek Revolution (Cambridge, 2013)
3. Beaton, R., Greece: Biography of a Nation (London, 2020)
4. Brown, I. G., 'Edinburgh as Athens: New Evidence to Support a Topographical and Intellectual Idea Current in the Early Nineteenth Century', Book of the Old Edinburgh Club n.s. 15 (2019), pp. 1-12
5. Calder, A. (ed.), Byron and Scotland: Radical or Dandy (Edinburgh, 1989)
6. Hart, P., V. Kennedy, D. Petherbridge (eds.), Henrietta Liston's Travels: The Turkish Journals, 1812-1820 (Edinburgh, 2020)
7. Lowrey, J., 'From Caesarea to Athens: Greek Revival Edinburgh and the Question of Scottish Identity within the UnionistState', Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 60 (2001), pp. 136-57
8. Macrides, R., 'The Scottish Connection in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies', St John's House Papers 4 (St Andrews, 1992)
9. Gifford, J., 'The National Monument of Scotland', Architectural Heritage25 (2014), pp. 43-83
10. St Clair, W., That Greece Might Be Free: The Philhellenes and the War of Independence (Cambridge, 2008)
11. Wallace, S., John Stuart Blackie: Scottish Scholar and Patriot (Edinburgh, 2006)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Development of a critical approach to the display and communication of antiquities and heritage collections
The ability to interpret complex historical material for the benefit of a wider public
Interdisciplinarity, combining material culture and text across multiple historical contexts
Research skills
Time management and organizational skills
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Alasdair Grant
Course secretaryMs Jenni Vento
Tel: (0131 6)50 2306
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