2011/12 Elective Modules
The modules listed here are available as electives for all MA programmes in 2012/13. All modules are subject to staff availability: please check with the Department before applying if there are modules in which you have a particular interest. You can find more detailed module descriptions in the Faculty Handbook online (please not that the list there includes also modules which will not be offered in 2012/13).
Vitruvius, On Architecture: its significance and legacy
Dr. Edmund Thomas
This module studies the only surviving architectural treatise from antiquity, the De Architectura of Vitruvius. Combining the evidence of this text, its successive interpretations in the Renaissance and later periods, and the archaeological evidence of surviving Roman buildings, the module explores the significance of the work both for the architecture of Imperial Rome and for later Classical architecture.
Monumental architecture of the Roman Empire in the Antonine and Severan periods
Dr. Edmund Thomas
This module looks at Roman provincial architecture of the Antonine and Severan periods (A.D. 138-235), focusing on the theme of monumentality and its implications for issues of architectural patronage, urbanism, and cultural identity. What do we mean by the word "monumentality" and what is the significance of the concept for historical societies? By combining the evidence of ancient literary sources, inscriptions, and material culture, across a wide range of regions of the Roman Empire from Britain to Syria, the module aims to understand the significance of monumental architecture in offering security at a time of political and economic uncertainty.
Please note that only one module in the Art and Architecture area will run in 2011/12 on the basis of students' demand.
History and Historiography in 5th Century BCE Greece
Prof. Edward Harris
This module studies the nature of the sources available to Herodotus and Thucydides (oral traditions, monuments, writeen records and documents) and the intellectual influences which shaped their works. It will also examine Herodotus' views of non-Greek peoples and Thucydides' critique of the weakness of Athenian democracy.
N.B. This module will be taught short-fat in Epiphany Term.
Religious Life in the Roman Near East
Dr Ted Kaizer
This module looks at various aspects of religious life in the Near East (Syria and surrounding countries) in the Late-Hellenistic and Roman Period. It uses a variety of source material, such as inscriptions, sculptures, archaeological remains, coinage, as well as literary (pagan, Jewish and Christian) texts; and will explore the differences between patterns of worship at places like Palmyra, Dura-Europos, Baalbek, Hierapolis and the cities of the Decapolis. To what degree can a common religious culture for the Classical Levant be recognized?
Greek Sacred Regulations
Dr Andrej Petrovic
The module aims to study the ways in which Greeks prescribed their cult practices. Of the relatively meagre material that we possess, the best insight is given by epigraphically transmitted regulations concerning the performance of rituals. While studying these texts, we will closely analyse not only their content, but also their textual form and their spatial dispersion, in order to provide familiarity with the main socio-historical aspects of the Greek cult practice: Who determines the form of a ritual and how? How and why does cult practice change over time?
Latin for Research / Ancient Greek for Research
Ms Justine Wolfenden
Dedicated modules - Latin for Research and Ancient Greek for Research - are offered for MA students who wish to begin Latin or Greek. Students taking these accelerated Beginners' language courses are not assumed or expected to have any prior knowledge or experience of ancient languages. By the end of the course, students should have reached the stage where they have acquired the appropriate skills to enable them (with the aid of a dictionary and grammar) to work through, comprehend, and translate passages of Latin and/or Greek prose, and, where appropriate, relate these skills to their particular research specialism. These modules offer a unique opportunity to learn Latin and Greek in an applied way by which we mean that along with basic grammar and syntax, you will also be taught to understand how ancient languages operate and are used in a research context. Unlike in many more traditional beginners' classes, emphasis is also laid from the very start on the interpretation of language and of texts and you will be encouraged to think about your acquisition of language and language skills in relation to your ongoing and developing research interests rather than simply learning lists of grammatical forms and structures independent of a structured and focused framework.
Latin Text Seminar: Juvenal's Satires
Dr Thorsten Foegen
(N.B. detailed course description available as separate handout)
An ability to read Latin is a requirement of this course.
It aims at a thorough reading (in the original Latin) and discussion of Juvenal’s Satires and related texts. Apart from an analysis of the stylistic and literary characteristics of his work, the focus will be on the political and social functions of Roman satire. Other satirists, in particular Lucilius and Horace, will also be taken into account.
Given the limited amount of time, the seminar will have to focus on a selection of texts. Particular attention will be devoted to Sat. 1, 2, 4, 6 and 9, and to some of Horace’s Satires.
By the end of the course, students will be able to put forward a differentiated interpretation of Juvenal’s Satires based upon knowledge of the primary texts (studied in the original Latin), secondary literature and arguments presented in the course.
It is strongly recommended that participants (1) study the entire corpus of Juvenal’s and Horace’s Satires in translation, (2) read Juvenal’s Sat. 1, 2, 4, 6 and 9 in the original, and (3) familiarise themselves with some relevant secondary literature before the term starts. They ought to give some thought to suitable topics for class presentations and discuss their ideas with the module coordinator during the first meeting in Michaelmas Term 2012.
Greek Text Seminar on Homeric Epic: Homer, Odyssey 6
Prof. Barbara Graziosi
(N.B. detailed course description available as separate handout)
An ability to read Homeric Greek is a requirement of this course.
The aims of this option are to study in detail one book of Homer, using ancient and modern commentaries, drawing in parallels from other epic texts: Greek, Roman, Near-Eastern, as appropriate. An ability to read Homeric Greek is a requirement of this course.
Dr Johannes Haubold
This module enables classicists to make independent and competent use of Akkadian-language sources. Its aims are to acquire a solid grounding in Akkadian and the cuneiform writing system; to become familiar with the relevant research tools; to gain an overall understanding of Akkadian literature, its history and major texts; and to study in detail one text in the original language. Where relevant, the course draws on the collection of cuneiform tablets in the Oriental Museum, Durham.
Comparative Approaches to Homeric Epic
Dr Ivana Petrovic
N.B.: texts will be read in translation
The aim of this module is to provide an insight into the theoretical methods of approach to the comparative epic by concentrating on a South-Slavic epic tradition and comparing it with the Greek. The study of the South-Slavic epic will provide the students with a deeper understanding of the formulaic language, the stock-motivs and plots of the epic, the role and the presentation of the hero, the role of the bards and the performance context.
Ancient Philosophers on Necessity, Fate, and Free Will
Dr Luca Castagnoli
Is everything, including our thoughts, volitions and actions, already fated (or otherwise predetermined) to occur exactly as it will, or we are free agents fully responsible for the course of our lives? Is this disjunction really exclusive? If so, why? If not, how? This module looks at some of the main ancient philosophical discussions of necessity and fate, of logical, causal and theological determinism, of free will and moral responsibility. There is a particular focus on Hellenistic and post-Hellenistic debates, and reflection on how these issues remain fully relevant to current philosophical debates.
Ancient Philosophers on Origins
Dr. Phillip Horky
This module explores how ancient Greek intellectuals and philosophers evaluated the past. By drawing on a wide spectrum of texts from Homer to Lucretius, it presents an enquiry into the modalities of what is 'first' or 'original' and investigates what role the construction of the past plays in the discourse of philosophy. Thematic topics include the Origins of Culture, the Origins of Philosophy, the Origins of Motion (Space-time), and the Origins of the Afterlife.
N.B.: You must take at least one language module – in Greek, Latin, Akkadian, or other ancient or modern languages available in the University and relevant to Classical Research.
Opportunities exist for studying outside the Classics Department as well: with permission, you can substitute one elective module for a module of the same level in another Department.