What is the course about?
The origins of civilisation in the Aegean. Lovely marble statuettes from the Cyclades. Magnificent places in Crete inspired by royal buildings in the Levant. Knossos with its splendid frescoes excavated by Evans. Sinister myths about the labyrinth and the Minotaur. Splendid royal graves at Mycenae. Mycenaean dominance in the Aegean and the Trojan War.
What will we cover?
The earliest bronze-age civilisation in the Cycladic islands with its exquisite sculptures. Spectacular palaces in Crete including Knossos, Phaistos and Hagid Triada. Painting and sculpture of a style unique in the ancient world. Some of the most beautiful ceramics ever made decorated with running spirals echoing the rhythms of the sea. Discoveries at Akrotiri, a 'bronze age Popmpeii' destroyed by a cataclysmic volcanic eruption which preserved magnificent frescoes and lovely artefacts. International trade between Crete, mainland Greece, the Levant and Egypt. The earliest known shipwreck found off the coast of Turkey and dating to a time shortly after Akhenaten's reign. A royal cargo? It is a unique time capsule containing artefacts from the principal contemporary kingdoms including the only known gold scarab of Nefertiti. The fatal visit of Paris prince of Troy and his abduction of the beautiful Helen which caused the Trojan War with its terrible consequences. We shall examine the historical context and the archaeological evidence in an attempt to distinguish between myth and reality.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Explain key political, social and cultural events in Ancient Greece in their historical context
- Recognise the style, period and context for archaeological objects, images and texts
- Use appropriate evidence and strategies for analysing this ancient material.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good grasp of English to participate and keep up with the course. You will gain more from the course, in terms of enjoyment and learning, if you are able and willing to do some supplementary reading. Curiosity, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about opposing views are more important than specific levels of skills.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Illustrated lectures, discussions, a museum visit, questions, readings and analysis of original texts (in translation). Museum visits and reading outside the course will enhance the experience.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Limited book purchases recommended but optional.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Another Classical Civilisations class in Term 3.