GRC10170 Lost Cities of the Ancient World

Academic Year 2024/2025

The great civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean were urban societies that developed complex social and political structures and invested the profits of trade, agriculture, and warfare in the construction of fortifications, temples, palaces, tombs, and other monuments. This module will explore the concept of urbanism through an investigation of some of the famous cities of the ancient Mediterranean world from their beginnings in the Mesopotamian “cradle of civilization”, through Bronze Age citadels such as Mycenae and Troy, to Classical Athens and later into the Hellenistic and Roman eras. Students will learn about the social forces that shape urban space, as well as understanding the roles of monumental architecture in city-based societies. Links between urbanisation and the development of writing and monumental art will also be discussed. Assessment consists of online quizzes and an essay. This module is available as an elective.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
• demonstrate an understanding of the origins and development of urban culture in the Mediterranean world from the Neolithic period to the Roman empire
• evaluate archaeology, art, and texts as sources of information on urban life in antiquity
• identify and analyse key types of buildings and monuments from ancient urban environments
• compare and contrast aspects of the built environment, social organisation, and infrastructure of ancient cities, orally and in writing
• reflect on the sustainability of urban living, and why some cities thrive while others fail

Indicative Module Content:

Topics to be covered include some or all of:
Nineveh and Babylon
NB - this is an indicative list and topics are subject to change

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning








Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module is delivered through a combination of lectures (delivered by members of the School of Classics) and tutorials. Tutorials will discuss key issues in an informal environment; one of these will focus on the material in the UCD Classical Museum. Assessment is through online multiple choice quizzes and an essay.

Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment(Including Essay): A c.1500 word comparative essay discussing case studies n/a Graded No


Quizzes/Short Exercises: Online multiple choice quizzes will test your knowledge throughout the trimester. n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Online quizzes in Brightspace will be automatically graded upon completion of each one. Individual feedback will be sent to each student via Brightspace within 20 working days of essay submission. Students are welcome to arrange a meeting with the module coordinator to discuss their grade/feedback.

Charles Gates, 2011, Ancient cities : the archaeology of urban life in the Ancient Near East and Egypt, Greece and Rome. Routledge.
Name Role
Assoc Professor Philip De Souza Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Christopher Farrell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer