Skip to main content

Unit information: Historical Topic: The Hellenistic World in 2020/21

Unit name Historical Topic: The Hellenistic World
Unit code CLAS10034
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Sandwell
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit explores political and social developments in the Mediterranean world in the Hellenistic Era. This period is important for understanding the dissemination of Greek culture around the Mediterranean and its transmission through the growth of the new empires. It will cover the rise of the Macedonian Empire, the conquest of Western Asia, and the Successors to Alexander. The unit focuses on intercultural contacts between the Greeks and the different ethnic groups of Western Asia, mutual influences, clashes of culture and the diverse ways of dealing with them, as well as some of the mental pictures and perceptions of the other originating in this period that are operative to this day.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, successful students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a detailed understanding of the varied sources available for understanding the Hellenistic World, and a developed understanding of the best way to make use of them;
  2. demonstrate a good knowledge of the political and social developments in the Hellenistic world and an advanced understanding of how to analyse these;
  3. reflect on the significance of the Hellenistic Era for later classical and post-classical periods;
  4. produce written work in an academic style appropriate to level C;
  5. respond appropriately to a question or problem within a specified time.

Teaching details

This unit will involve a combination of independent investigative activities, long- and short-form lectures, and discussion. Students will be expected to engage with materials and participate on a weekly basis. Feedback will be provided for both formative and summative assessments, and this will be supported by meetings with tutors.

Assessment Details

Open-book exam (100%). [ILOs 1-5].

Reading and References

  • Albert B. Bosworth, Conquest and Empire, The Reign of Alexander the Great (1988)
  • Andrew Erskine (ed.), A Companion to the Hellenistic World, Part I chapters 2-6 (2003) 19-102
  • Susan Sherwin-White and Amalie Kuhrt, From Samarkhand to Sardis: A New Approach to the Seleucid Empire, 1993, Graham Shipley, The Greek World after Alexander (2000)
  • Ian Worthington, Alexander the Great: a reader (2003)