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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS3250 The Athenian Empire

20 creditsClass Size: 24

Module manager: Dr Roger Brock

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Prior study of ancient Greek history, through CLAS 1300 (typically) or equivalent experience

This module is mutually exclusive with

CLAS2250The Athenian Empire

Module replaces

CLAS2250 Athenian Empire (L2 Version)

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module offers the opportunity to study in detail the Athenian empire of the 5th century BC from its origins early in the century to its collapse at the end of the Peloponnesian War. Particular attention will be paid to the sources (though no knowledge of Greek is required), including the Athenian Tribute Lists, one of the few extensive quantitative datasets from Greek history: this will be accessed through a bespoke database which will provide experience of handling quantitative data in ancient history.


The module aims to give students a detailed knowledge and understanding of the Athenian empire, a relatively well-documented period in ancient history, through close study of the literary, documentary, numismatic and archaeological sources, and to develop their capacity to assess and analyse in combination material from the diverse range of available evidence, including quantitative data. More generally, the period raises issues concerning inter-state relations and imperialism in the ancient world which continue to be relevant today.

Learning outcomes
At the end of the module, students should have developed a coherent and detailed knowledge of the fifth-century BC Athenian empire and an ability to assess, analyse and apply evidence drawn from a range of source materials, including a degree of familiarity with handling quantitative data on-line; they should be able to appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limitations of knowledge in the discipline, and to deploy accurately standard techniques of analysis and enquiry within the discipline; they will have undertaken independent study into a chosen topic within the assessments (whereas L2 students will pick from prescribed topics).

Skills outcomes
In addition to the skills typically cultivated by the study of ancient history, including selection and critical analysis of source information (entailing in this case the combination of literary and documentary sources), students will develop skills in the handling of numerical data.


The module will span the period from the emergence of Athens as a major player in Greek affairs in the later sixth century to her defeat in the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC, covering the origins of Athenian hegemony of an anti-Persian alliance, its mutation into an empire dominated by Athens and its eventual collapse in the resulting war with Sparta and her allies. Particular topics will include the means by which the empire was administered and controlled, the interplay between Athenian democracy and imperial power, ideology, propaganda and the character of Athenian imperialism.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours30.00
Private study hours150.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Familiarisation with computer package: 10 hours
Preparation of database coursework: 20 hours
Seminar preparation (5 x 4 hours): 20 hours
Follow-up reading for lectures (15 x 2 hours): 30 hours
Independent research: 60 hours
Revision for exam: 40 hours
(all figures are indicative only)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Monitoring of student progress and understanding will be mainly through seminar participation once a fortnight; in addition, they will be actively prompted via VLE and email for feedback regarding their familiarity and facility with the database, since that will be a less familiar aspect for many.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Computer Exercise.30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

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 mins70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

The format of this examination may be subject to change should the situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic allow. Students will be informed well in advance if this becomes the case. 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: 29/04/2022 15:22:47


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