Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS2450 Screening Antiquity

20 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Dr Owen Hodkinson

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

Year running 2024/25

Pre-requisite qualifications

There are no formal prerequisites for this module, but a basic level of knowledge of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds will be assumed. This might have been acquired via an A-level in Classical Civilisation or Ancient History, via a Classics Level 1 module at Leeds (e.g. CLAS1300 Greek World, CLAS1400 Roman World, CLAS1615 Greek Poets, CLAS1625 Roman Poets, CLAS1100 Ancient Lives), or via private study. Students unsure about the suitability of their prior experience should consult the module leader before enrolling.

This module is mutually exclusive with

CLAS3450Screening Antiquity

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is suitable for Level 2 students with some basic knowledge of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. It aims to introduce the student to representations of, and allusions to, antiquity on the big and small screens. Both historical and mythological topics are considered, from Hercules and the fall of Troy to the rise and fall of the Roman empire, with a particular emphasis on artistic and other motivations for the adaptation of narrative.


The aim of this module is to provide students with an insight into the historical/ mythical background behind a range of popular figures and stories from the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, and to allow them to appreciate the complex ways in which these figures/stories have been represented and manipulated in twentieth- and twenty-first-century screen media. The module will:
• present a broad history of representations of, and allusions to, the ancient Greek and Roman worlds on screen, from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day, and an appreciation of the significance of such representations for the reception of Classics.
• explain the ancient historical and/or mythological background to a selection of on-screen representations of the ancient world, and its transmission across time.
• show how various modern factors can affect on-screen representations of antiquity, including contemporary political or socio-historical contexts, the influence of earlier films, and creative imperatives.
• introduce students to the main methods of enquiry into film/TV.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module students should:
1. have a sound knowledge of the history of representations of, and allusions to, the ancient Greek and Roman worlds on screen;
2. have a sound understanding of the ways in which specific stories from the ancient world have been adapted for treatment in modern film/ TV, identifying a range of influential factors and assessing their relative significance;
3. be able to communicate their ideas about the material effectively in seminar discussion;
4. be able to analyse a range of relevant media (literature, art, film and TV), construct arguments based on this analysis, and communicate such arguments clearly in writing, supported (where appropriate) by use of visual imagery.


Topics for study in any given year will vary, depending on the availability of members of the teaching team, and allowing for the inclusion of new releases. There will typically be a mixture of Greek and Roman, mythological and historical, topics, and consideration of works influenced by the ancient world but not explicitly set there. These may include (but are not limited to) a selection from:
- Herakles/Hercules: from the peplum, Legendary Journeys and Disney to the twenty-first century reboot
- Troy: from Helen of Troy (1956) to Troy (2004) and the series Troy: Fall of City (2018)
- Odysseys: from Ulysses (1954) to O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)
- Sparta and Thermopylae: from The Three Hundred Partans (1962) 300 (2007)
- Greek tragedy: from Iphigeneia (1977) to The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
- The Roman Republic: from Spartacus (1960) to the series Spartacus: Blood and Sand (2010-13)
- Establishing empire: from Cleopatra (1963) and Carry on Cleo (1964) to Rome (2005-7) and Game of Thrones (2011-19)
- Mad, bad emperors: from Quo Vadis (1951), Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and I Claudius (1976) to Gladiator (2000)
- Volcanic destruction: from Dr Who’s The Fires of Pompeii (2008) to Pompeii (2014)
Lectures will provide an introduction to the topics and their transmission from antiquity to the twentieth-/twenty-first century, and seminars will encourage students to discuss the material in smaller groups, with particular emphasis on how and why stories change through time and across media.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Writing up notes/consolidating lectures: 15 x 1 = 15 hours
Seminar preparation: 7 x 2 = 14 hours
Wider private reading/research, including watching films/TV episodes: 79 hours
Researching and writing coursework: 35
Exam revision and preparation: 35

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be informally monitored via participation in the seminar discussions. Opportunities will also be provided for one-to-one consultation via the lecturer’s weekly Drop-In times. Formal feedback will of course be provided on the coursework project, which will be returned in good time to inform the student’s exam preparation.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Poster Presentation1 x poster-presentation with 1000-word reflective commentary50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

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: 02/05/2024


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019