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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS2900 Ancient Empires: Power and Control

20 creditsClass Size: 85

Module manager: Dr Henry Clarke

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Prior study of ancient history, through CLAS 1300 and/or 1400 (typically) or equivalent experience

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module provides an overview of the hegemonic and imperial regimes of the classical world, covering Greece, Rome and Persia, and focussing particularly on the hegemonic leagues of Sparta and Athens, the Achaemenid empire and the rise of Rome as an imperial power. Topics covered will include the growth and development of these regimes and the underlying reasons in each case, the diverse range of administrative structures and mechanisms of control which they employed and the reasons for their success and, in each case, eventual failure.


On completion of this module, students should be able to reflect on the diversity of ways in which imperial powers came into being and of the various underlying causes and motivations, the range of administrative systems and mechanisms of control which they employed, and the reasons for success and failure in each case.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students will be familiar with the hegemonic and imperial regimes which exercised power in classical antiquity, in particular Sparta, Athens, Achaemenid Persia and Rome, and the wider developmental context of their rise, heyday and fall, and with the range of administrative structures and mechanisms of control which they employed.

Skills outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:
- understand and articulate the nature of ancient empires, the circumstances in which they developed or broke apart and the range of power structures which underpinned them, and think critically about them in comparative terms
- identify and critically analyse the major primary sources normally used in the study of ancient empires
- critically engage with the major secondary literature on the subject


Early political organisation in the Mediterranean world; Sparta and the Peloponnesian League; the ‘Athenian empire’; Persia under the Achaemenids; the world of the Hellenistic monarchs; the Roman Republic; the Roman empire.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Writing up/consolidating lectures 16x1 16
Seminar preparation 4x2 8
Wider private reading/research 86
Researching and writing coursework 35
Exam revision and preparation 35

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored formally through the coursework assignment and informally and more regularly by participation in seminars.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or DissertationApprox 2000 words40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Advance information will be provided for questions in one of the two sections; the other will be unseen

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/11/2018 09:25:40


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