Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

The Other Greeks: Sparta, Crete, Thessaly (for postgraduates) CLASSIC5082

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

Sparta, Crete and Thessaly fascinated the ancient Greeks' imagination. They were proverbial for their oligarchic governments, their disciplined, ordered or, in the case of Thessaly, extremely disordered way of life. The course looks at what we can actually say about these societies, and explores the relationship between idealized worldviews and messy realities.


10 x 1hour lectures per week, 10 x 1hour seminars per week over 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses

The Other Greeks: Sparta, Crete, Thessaly (Honours version)




2 x  (2500 word) essays- each 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The course aims to:

■ study the variety of Greek culture by looking at 3 case studies all famous for their oligarchic governments

■ engage closely with a variety of primary material (literary, epigraphic and archaeological) and explore its potentials and limitations in reconstructing ancient societies

■ explore through comparison the complex relationship between institutional structures, world-view and everyday life

■ reflect on the nature, dangers, and importance of stereotypes

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ describe and analyse the main political institutions and social groups of Sparta, Crete and Thessaly

■ summarize, evaluate and criticize modern scholarly works on Sparta, Crete and Thessaly

■ critically evaluate a variety of primary evidence and situate it within its own historical context

■ produce sustained arguments about various aspects of Cretan, Spartan and Thessalian society, based on a critical evaluation of the primary and secondary sources

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.