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RHUL MA Courses 2013-14

The Royal Holloway Intercollegiate programme offers a fully integrated programme in Ancient History, Classics, and Classical Art and Archaeology. The curriculum is designed, and provided in collaboration, with our sister Colleges in London. Offerings vary from year to year, but we are able to put a globally impressive and varied programme in the Classical disciplines. For courses run by UCL |and KCL|, see their websites. For courses run by RHUL, see below









CL5765 Latin for Research 2 (40 credits)

Tutor: Matthew Johncock (RHUL). 

Brief description: A module for students who have completed a beginners' module in Latin, designed to extend their knowledge of the language to the point where they are ready to read substantial texts.  The set text is negotiable with students depending on their present requirements, and their past experience of Latin texts either in translation or the original. It is a prerequisite that students have one year's study of Ancient Latin (or equivalent).  Assessment: Two in-class one-hour tests in December and March (making up 25% of the grade) and one three-hour written examination (75%). Time: Thursday 9-11; Friday 10-11; Venue of teaching: Bedford Square, Room G3 (Thursdays) and Room B5 (Fridays).





CL5013 Greek And Roman Biography (40 credits)


Course director: Dr Richard Hawley (richard.hawleyrhul.ac.uk|)


Brief description Greco-Roman biographies were written for a wide variety of aims, but the majority adopt recognisable patterns and motifs, many of which still underlie the genre of biography today. This course follows the different approaches to biography exhibited in a range of non-Christian texts from the archaic period to the third century AD. Topics covered include: the historical development of biography, ancient theories of character, poetic and prose autobiography, the reconstruction of the lives of the classical poets and grammarians, the moralising biography, and biography as an aid to the study of ancient philosophy. There are certain set texts to be studied in English translation from both cultures, however students may also suggest the study of any biography which might cohere well with any other part of their MA study.  Assessment: three essays of c.3000 words each. Comments can be given on a draft of the first essay, and on plans of the other two. Time and venue of teaching: Wednesdays 5-7pm, in RHUL, Egham Campus, Classics Department.


CL 5117 Ancient Novel (40 credits)


Course director: Dr Nick Lowe (n.lowerhul.ac.uk|).


Brief description: A course on Greek and Roman prose fiction, with texts studied in translation. Principal texts will be Chariton, Chareas and Callirhoe; Xenophon of Ephesus, Ephesiaca; Longus, Daphnis and Chloe; Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon; Heliodorus, Aethiopics; Petronius, Satyrica; Apuleius, Metamorphoses; Apollonius of Tyre. The second term then moves outwards to consider the wider generic field, including fragmentary and summary texts; related works in the corpora of Lucian and the writers of the Second Sophistic; the Alexander Romance; the novelisations of the Trojan War by “Dictys” and “Dares”; and the genre’s Byzantine and Renaissance Nachleben. Aspects to be studied include origins and antecedents; genre and audience(s); cultural and literary contexts; narrative form and technique; ecphrasis & excursus; irony, parody, satire, and subversion; love, sexuality, and the person; reflections and reinventions of history; ethnicity and cultural self-definition in the Hellenistic and Imperial oikoumene; religion and religiosity; intimations of Christianity; and literacy and literary form between roll and codex. Assessment: 3 essays of approx. 3000-3500 words. Time and place of teaching: Mondays, 2-4pm, Bedford Square, RHUL Annexe


CL5115 / 7AACM731/HISTGA03 Latin Epigraphy (40 credits)



Course directors: Dr Benet Salway, UCL History (b.salway@ucl.ac.uk), Dr John Pearce, KCL Classics (john.pearce@kcl.ac.uk), and Prof. Boris Rankov, RHUL Classics (b.rankovrhl.ac.uk|).


Brief description: This course is designed to introduce students to both the practical study and the interpretation of Latin inscriptions of all types. The classes will survey the expanding resources available for the study of Latin inscriptions, including electronic resources as well as traditional printed corpora; the production of epigraphic material from the point of view of those commissioning it and the individual craftsman; the development and the decline of ‘epigraphic habit’; and the analysis and interpretation of the texts in the broader context of the artefacts, monuments or buildings to which they were attached. Students will learn how to measure and record inscriptions; how to read and interpret epigraphic texts; and how to edit and prepare epigraphic texts for publication. They will study and interpret a wide variety of examples different types of inscriptions: official, public, private and graffiti, from Rome, Italy and the provinces.  It is intended to make use as much as possible of photographs and of epigraphic material in the various collections in central London. Prerequisites: Students entering this module must usually have a good pass in Beginners’ Latin or the equivalent (as a minimum). Some reading knowledge of Italian, French, and German is also desirable. Assessment: two epigraphic commentaries of c. 3,000 words (worth 60%) and one essay of c. 4,000 words (worth 40%). Time and place of teaching: Tuesdays, 2.00-4.00pm in central London (venue tba).





CL5305  Greek Law and Lawcourts  (40 credits)

BA/MA course


Course director: Prof. Lene Rubinstein (l.rubinstein@rhul.ac.uk)


Brief description: Our main evidence for the Athenian democracy in the fourth century are the speeches composed for delivery in the Athenian popular courts. At the same time, the speeches also offer a unique insight into Athenian social relations and social values through the stories told by individual litigants to their audiences consisting of large number of ordinary citizens who were serving as judges. This course offers an opportunity to study the ways in which the lives of the inhabitants of late fifth and fourth century Athens – citizens, resident aliens, and slaves – were regulated by the city's laws, and equally important how this normative framework could manipulated and sometimes even subverted by members of the community. The course will also offer an introduction to classical Athenian rhetoric, and the seminars will focus on the rhetorical strategies adopted by Athenian litigants in a wide variety of contexts. A broad range of Athenian lawcourt speeches in translation will be complemented by the study of texts (also in translation) by Plato, Xenophon and Aristophanes. Lectures will be shared with undergraduates; there will be a dedicated MA seminar each week. Assessment will be by 3 essays of c.3000 words each. Time and place of teaching: Royal Holloway, Egham Campus, time to tbc.


CL5314 Cities of Empire: Urbanism and Imperialism in the Roman Empire (20 credits)

Course director: Prof. Richard Alston (r.alstonrhul.ac.uk|)

Richard Alston's  Research and Teaching Pages|

Brief description: The course looks at the development of Roman urbanism within the Roman empire. It relates both changes in urban form and the spread of Classical urbanism to Roman imperial cultural, economic, and political structures. The course aims to question traditional approaches to Roman imperial urbanism, using in particular, contemporary theorisations of the city and employing a variety of different analytical perspectives. These include examination of ancient writings on urban communities (Philo on Alexandria), ideas of acculturation and cultural change in cities of the West, notions of political culture in cities of the East, issues of religious identity, and finally considerations of the sociological nature of the city. The period covered will be approximately AD 30 to AD 300 and will introduce students to the varied and changing nature of Roman urbanism, East and West. Assessment: One essay of 4.000-5.000 words. Written commentary and oral feedback will be given on an essay draft. Time and place of teaching: Thursdays 11.00am-1.00pm, Bedford Square RHUL Annexe (Autumn Term).

CL 5320 Cities of God: Making the Late Antique City (20 credits)

Course director: Prof. Richard Alston (r.alston@rhul.ac.uk)

Teaching and research pages|

Brief description: The course examines the processes and impact of cultural change in Late Antiquity through an examination of Late Antique urbanism. The Late Antique city has been seen as the litmus of civilizational vitality and continuity in Late Antiquity. The course will examine the processes of Christianisation of the Late Antique urban communities, examining both the micro-level relationship between individual and community in the processes of conversion and the macro-level of changes in urban form and political structure associated with Late Antiquity. The city will be examined as a structuring structure that shapes economic, cultural and social forms in the Late Antique period across West and East. The course will consider continuities in urban form into Late Antiquity and transitions into Medieval urbanism, East and West. The course will consider a range of source material, including hagiography, documentary material (epigraphy and papyrology), epistolography, historical narratives, and archaeological material to provide an insight into the varied materials available for the history of the Late Antique city and the different methodologies required to consider this material. Assessment: One essay of c. 5000 words. Written commentary and oral feedback will be given to an essay draft. Time and place of teaching: Thursdays, 11am-1.00pm, Bedford Square RHUL Annexe  (Spring Term).

CL5115 / 7AACM731/HISTGA03 Latin Epigraphy (40 credits)



For details on this course please see Section 2, above.




BA/MA course

Course director: Prof. Amanda Claridge (a.claridge@rhul.ac.uk)

In-depth study of the material remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum (and the villas at Stabiae, Oplontis and Boscoreale) and their special value – but also their limitations – as primary sources for archaeologists and cultural historians.  We analyse both the general issues of preservation, excavation, and chronology, and a range of topics relating to the specific types of evidence for which the Vesuvian sites are renowned: the diversity in the size and composition of insula blocks, of individual houses, shops, bakeries, tombs, and bath-buildings, the locations, nature and significance of gardens, of  wallpaintings and mosaic/marble flooring, of fountain-, dining-, bathing- and cooking-installations, of lararia, the locations, forms and functions of portrait images, of animal and mythological sculptures and paintings, and of anthropomorphic furniture and fittings. We also take advantage of the opportunities to compare town, suburb, coast and country, the private and the public, the rich and poor, on their own local terms and in the wider context of Roman Italy. The course aims to expand your knowledge of the different types of evidence from Pompeii and its sister sites, to give you a fuller understanding of the problems relating to this evidence and its interpretation, and some critical appreciation of recent scholarship on the more contentious issues. Your essays give you the chance to demonstrate such learning outcomes, to acquire the ability to summarise complex material clearly and to handle written, visual and material evidence in addressing specific themes. . Lectures will be shared with undergraduates; there will be a dedicated MA seminar each week.Asssessment: two essays of 5000 words each, on topics defined in consultation with course teacher.   Time and place of teaching: Tuesdays 3-6 pm, Royal Holloway, Egham Campus (room tbc). The first meeting is Tuesday, 1 October 2013.  

* A five-day study visit to Pompeii, Herculaneum, Boscoreale, Stabiae & Naples will be run during RHUL Reading Weeks in both the Autumn and Spring Term which MA students are welcome to join in on (optional).


CL5669  Neoplatonism  (40 credits)


Course director:  Prof. Anne Sheppard (a.sheppardrhul.ac.uk|).


Brief description:  The first term of this course will be spent studying the philosophy of Plotinus.  In the second term we will move on to his successors, Porphyry, Iamblichus and Proclus, and to discussion of the Neoplatonic commentaries on Plato and Aristotle written in late antique Athens and Alexandria.   Some previous knowledge of Greek philosophy is desirable, but not essential.  Texts may be studied in translation. Assessment:  two essays of 4,000-5,000 words each. Time and place of teaching:  Mondays 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Bedford Square RHUL Annexe. 



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