Classics (Classical Civilisation) MA/MA(SocSci)

Polybius between Greece and Rome CLASSIC4086

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Polybius' Histories is unique evidence for the tumultuous time period when Rome conquered Greece and the Hellenistic kingdoms, written by a man who was a Greek general and politician, then became a political prisoner in Rome, and finally a friend and advisor of one of the most powerful Romans at the time, Scipio Aemilianus. It is also a thoughtful and accomplished work of historiography. The course will reflect this dual quality of the Histories and investigate the work as both historical source and work of literature.


3x1hr lecture and 17x1hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled in My Campus.

Excluded Courses





Essay (3500 words) - 60%

Exam (60 minute duration) - 40%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Familiarise students with Polybius' Histories, one of the most important historical sources and works of historiography from antiquity,

■ Enable students to engage with this work as evidence of the cultural exchange and efforts of understanding between Greeks and Romans at the point when the existence of the former came to depend on the latter,

■ Enable students to gain an overview of the historical events of 224-145 BC,

■ Enable students to interpret the Histories as a work of historiography and its place in this genre.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Interpret Polybius' Histories as a historical source,

■ Analyse Polybius' Histories as a work of historiography, understanding its place in the development of the genre,

■ Engage critically with scholarship on Polybius, both orally and in writing,

■ Present their ideas and arguments lucidly both orally and in writing.

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.