Greek MA

Nature and the Natural World in Antiquity CLASSIC4073

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

Short Description

This course surveys ideas about the place of nature and the natural world in ancient Greece and Rome and explores the development of a selection of disciplines of life sciences (e.g. agriculture, botany, palaeontology, toxicology, zoology) in both theory and practice.


1x1hr lecture; 1x1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. This is one of the Honours

options in Classics and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are

available on MyCampus

Excluded Courses



Essay (3,000 words) - 50%

Online peer review of fellow student's essay (1000 words) - 25%

Oral Presentation (10 minutes) [10%] + PowerPoint or Handout [15%] - 25%

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. 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 will provide the opportunity to:

■ Become acquainted with Greek and Roman technical writing in respect of selected disciplines of the life sciences, and of individual texts in particular;

■ Identify how knowledge of the life sciences was disseminated through society in antiquity;

■ Assess the extent to which knowledge of the life sciences was applied in ancient daily life in antiquity;

■ Engage closely with the literary, cultural and social contexts of Greek and Roman technical writing in respect of selected disciplines of the life sciences, and of individual texts in particular.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

• Identify Greek and Roman technical writing and individual texts;

• Place these works in their literary, cultural and social contexts;

• Make valid connections and comparisons between academic and theoretical knowledge espoused in ancient Greek and Roman technical writing, and the practical knowledge attested by ancient Greek and Roman material culture and bioarchaeological evidence;

• Explain the relationship between ancient scientific theory and practice;

• Formulate their own interpretations of the sources and evidence, and present and argue them in a lucid and scholarly manner.

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.