Athens, Sparta and the Greek World (c. 800-404 B.C.)

How did the ancient Greeks define themselves against the barbarians? How did the Athens and Sparta come into clashes with each other? To what extent was the ‘golden age’ of Athens an invention by the Athenians?

In this module you will study the major political, socio-economic and cultural developments in the Greek world from the emergence of the city-state to the end of the Peloponnesian War (c. 800 to 404 B.C.). In particular you will focus on the Persian Wars, Sparta as a hoplite state, Athenian democracy and culture, the heyday of the Athenian empire, and the conflicts between Athens and Sparta. While the focus is on Greece, you will also study the Greeks’ interactions with neighbouring cultures in the Mediterranean such as Persia and Asia Minor.

By using the main literary texts of Herodotus and Thucydides, together with Greek drama, visual and archaeological materials, you will have the opportunity to come vividly close into contact with the political and cultural life of the early Greeks. This module is open to all of you; those new to the topic are especially welcome: absolutely no prior knowledge of Ancient History is needed.