GRC20220 Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians

Academic Year 2021/2022

This is the core module for Stage 2 Greek and Roman civilisation students. The study of Greece and Rome has long been championed as essential for exploring the foundation of the 'west' and its values, yet neither civilisation developed or existed in a vacuum and both surpassed the geographical bounds of the modern nation states of Greece and Italy. The achievements of both Greek and Roman civilisation, which are now deemed 'Classical' and thus have served as paradigms for later eras, reflect remarkable receptivity to, and interaction with, non Greek and Roman cultures. These 'other' cultures were sometimes dismissed rhetorically as 'barbarians', populations allegedly so different that they posed an existential threat to Greek and Roman normative values. That is, of course, unless such peoples happened to share a common enemy or offered the possibility of trade, access to useful knowledge, or other value. As such this module explores aspects of identity formation and alterity, i.e. the creation of the 'other' in antiquity. It introduces students to issues of periodisation and classification, debates about race and ethnicity, as well as how various cultures interacted, and sometimes clashed, with the cities of Greece and the Roman empire. Through a selection of case studies students will be introduced to a wide range of source material and methodologies that ancient historians and literary scholars use to study alterity and the development of Greek and Roman identity, as well as how and why this rhetoric has remained relevant in contemporary debates. You will explore literary, material, and visual culture and gain experience of engaging critically with evidence that has survived from antiquity and modern scholarship. To this end the course is intended to prepare students to achieve the learning outcomes for the programme as a whole. In Autumn 2021 the module will explore Greek and Roman engagements with Persia and Egypt.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:

* synthesise information from a range of ancient and modern sources concerning Greek and Roman cultural identity;
* demonstrate an awareness of periodisation for Classical antiquity and how this relates to interactions with non Greek or Roman populations;
* analyse ancient evidence, place it in its context, and critically assess it;
* critically engage with modern scholarship and representations of ancient civilisations in popular culture, be able to contextualise them and critically reflect on them;
* apply this knowledge to submit written work that is coherently argued, backed up by evidence, well-presented, and documented in an academic format appropriate to the discipline
* apply this knowledge to group discussions in online fora, tutorials, and, where relevant, lectures.
* demonstrate awareness and understanding of diverse academic viewpoints on the interpretation and evaluation of Greek and Roman cultural identities.
* demonstrate awareness and understanding of diverse academic viewpoints on the interpretation and evaluation of non-Greek and non-Roman cultural identities.

Indicative Module Content:

In Autumn 2021 the module will explore Greek and Roman engagement with the civilisations of ancient Persia (Achaemenids and Parthians). Case studies of interactions with Persia will be taken from the late Archaic/early Classical period until the early Roman Empire. Case studies of interaction with Egypt will cover the period from the Late Bronze Age to the early Roman Empire.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, and guided reading and independent study. Where public health and government guidance may change it may become necessary to deliver the module in a blended or online format, but the default for Autumn 2021 will be in person, face-to-face learning. Students are encouraged to engage fully with the lectures and essential reading. In tutorials students will talk through questions and concerns related to lectures and the preparation of their coursework. Each aspect of the course is essential and will help students develop transferable skills that can help you complete your their degree, e.g. writing commentaries and essays, and to have success beyond UCD and the School of Classics, e.g. critical thinking, engaging with complex problems, synthesising and applying knowledge to formulate arguments for verbal and written communication, etc. 
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: Students will write a commentary on a set passage, c. 1,000-1,200 words. Week 7 n/a Graded No


Essay: 2,000-word essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Students will be assessed through: quizzes relating to the content of lectures and completion of tutorial assignments, which relate to the commentary and essay assignments. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded 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
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Martin Brady Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Joanna Day Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Philip De Souza Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Aude Doody Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Christopher Farrell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Michael Lloyd Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Bridget Martin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Alexander Thein Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Chloe Fox Tutor
Ms Eleanor Kellett Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 13:00 - 13:50
Tutorial Offering 1 Week(s) - 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Tutorial Offering 2 Week(s) - 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 Tues 15:00 - 15:50
Tutorial Offering 3 Week(s) - 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 Thurs 11:00 - 11:50
Tutorial Offering 4 Week(s) - 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 Thurs 10:00 - 10:50
Tutorial Offering 5 Week(s) - 2, 4, 6, 9, 11 Thurs 15:00 - 15:50