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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS2400 Invisible Greeks and Romans

20 creditsClass Size: 72

Module manager: Dr Sam Gartland

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Prior study of ancient history, through CLAS1300 and/or CLAS1400 (typically) or equivalent experience

Module replaces


This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module focuses on subordinate groups in classical antiquity: women, children, slaves, foreigners and others outside the privileged body of citizens in Greece and Rome. It will explore the reasons why they are under-represented in our sources, the challenges which this presents in studying them, and the ways in which we can address these challenges, to arrive at a fuller understanding of the lived experience of these groups and of the roles which they played in these societies.


The module will introduce students to the study of the great majority of the inhabitants of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds who were not elite adult male citizens. These ‘invisible’ ancients are subordinate and are consequently under-represented in our literary sources. The module will explore the sources, often drawn from material culture, through which we can understand these groups. The module will also consider the approaches and techniques appropriate to the interpretation of the primary sources, and so foster a more balanced and inclusive appreciation of the lived experience of the classical world as a whole.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:
1. An understanding of status divisions in classical antiquity and their impact on Greek and Roman societies.
2. A familiarity with the source materials available for the study of subordinate groups in classical antiquity and the appropriate critical methods to apply to them in seeking to recover the lived experience of under-represented groups.
3. An ability to apply the study skills thus gained to the analysis and interpretation of such evidence both at the level of the individual source and in combination.
4. A sound grasp of current knowledge of subordinate groups in the Greek and Roman worlds, including an appreciation of the limits of this knowledge and the reasons for these.
5. A familiarity with the development of scholarship in this field, particularly in recent decades.
6. An ability to construct reasoned and well-supported arguments.
7. An ability to communicate effectively in written assignments and under exam conditions.


Issues in the study of Greek and Roman subordinate groups, including sources and the history of scholarship in the fieldand rationales for and modes of exclusion.
Indicative content and areas which will be taught include legal frameworks, status hierarchies and their performance, and violent coercion; women; children; foreign residents; Greeks and Romans overseas, including informal communities such as merchants; mercenaries; pirates and brigands; exiles and refugees; diasporas and networks; peasants and serfs; and freedmen and slaves.

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 1 hour x 15 = 15 hours
Seminar preparation 2 hours x 5 = 10 hours
Wider private reading/research 85 hours
Researching and writing coursework 35 hours
Exam revision and preparation 35 hours

= 180 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored by the coursework assignment, on which they will receive written feedback, as well as through their participation in seminars, which will develop their understanding of the main themes and issues of the module. Students will also be encouraged to attend the module convenor’s drop-in hours to discuss the module content, draft coursework or preparation for the exam, or to request further clarification of feedback already provided on assessed work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 word source analysis40.00
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
Exam with advance information on questions2 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

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

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/09/2023


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