Greece – History and Culture
Introduction to Ancient Greek History
Discover ancient Greece, the civilisation which changed the course of western history and stamped itself on our culture forever. You will be guided through iconic aspects of Greek history, using the objects and texts which they have left behind.
- Learn the key events which shaped the Classical Greek world.
- Critically engage with ancient examples of Greek art and culture.
- Reflect on the impact of Greek culture in our modern world.
Take a tour through the art, arms, and architecture which have come to symbolise the ancient Greeks. We will see how they depicted their greatest triumphs and proudest achievements. By focusing on the most iconic representations of Greek culture, we will consider how the Greeks have been remembered and why.
We will compare two conflicting pieces of Greek culture, considering why both represent the Greek world in different ways and how we, as historians, can reconcile such disagreements.
You will be placed into teams, with each team choosing one item which symbolises your favourite aspect of classical Greek history. Your goal is to create a short presentation which describes your object, its place in history and importance.
The Persian War
Introduction to the Persian War, its participants and its Objectives.
- Learn the major players in the war and their backgrounds.
- Understand the tactics used, and the important battles fought.
- Learn the war’s conclusion, who won and how this shaped the next stage of history.
Session 1: Introduction to the war
Overview of the opposing sides (Persia, Athens, Sparta), and the causes of the war (the invasion of Ionia.)
Potential activity: Map of the area. Students label key places.
Session 2: The equipment and tactics at the Battles of Marathon and Salamis
Description on the general arsenal each side were equipped with. Discussion on which would be most effective.
Activity: Pictures of the equipment, students identify the Persian and the Greek side.
Activity: Give students diagrams of the battle sites (especially Salamis) and discuss
Session 3: The end of the war
Discuss the impact of war. Who won, and why. Discuss the subsequent Delian League and the burgeoning rivalry between Athens and Sparta.
Activity: Discussion on why the Greeks won. Equipment, tactics, motivations.
Activity: Roleplay debate – who’s the better set of Greeks, the Athenians or the Spartans?
Foundations of Democracy
The development and growth of the world’s first democracy in Athens changed the world forever. By going back to the original democracy, we will investigate how governments serve their citizens and demonstrate the progress which has been made over the two-and-a-half-thousand years which have followed.
- Learn about the key events which resulted in the foundation of democracy in Athens.
- Understand the key functions of government.
- Create your own form of government which addresses an important societal problem.
We will review the events which led to Athens establishing the world’s first democracy. This will include a comparison with other forms of politics which were the norm in the ancient world, namely autocracy and oligarchy.
You will design your own form of government. We will consider the role of a government and its duty to its citizens. This should give you some insight into the complexities of government and the policies which are required for a happy and peaceful existence.
We will consider the role of democracy in Britain today. By comparing modern forms of democracy with its ancient equivalent we will gain an idea of the development of western politics and why its citizens have remained sovereign.
Ancient Athenian Drama
This course will introduce its students to theatre in Athens and give them an overview of drama’s importance to Athens.
- Gain familiarity with the social and religious context of drama in ancient Athens.
- Learn about the genres of plays performed (tragedy and comedy.)
- Introduction to the Oresteia by Aeschylus.
Session 1: The Dionysia Festival
An introduction to the religious festival where plays were performed. Discover the basic features of the festival, the patron god Dionysus and the genres (which will be built upon in the next two sessions.)
Possible activity: Use a map of Athens to locate the theatre of the Dionysia, which the students will draw in (complete with seating.)
Possible activity: Cover the basic terms relating to the theatre in Athens with a gap-fill exercise/hang man (e.g. they wore ______ in the theatre.)
Session 2: Tragedy and Comedy
An introduction to and discussion on tragedy and comedy, and how they differ.
Activity: Lay out some (safe for children) scenarios from the plays and ask the students to identify them as either tragedy or comedy.
Activity: Making tragic or comic masks.
Session 3: The Oresteia
Give students a summary of the trilogy, with samples of the play to read out.
Activity: The students act out sections of the plays.
Activity: Discussion on Orestes’ action and eventual forgiveness.
Activity: Create “film posters” for the play.
Activity: Making their own “tragedy” or “comedy”
Philosophy in Ancient Greece
An introduction to philosophy and some of the key figures in ancient Greece.
- Gain overview of what philosophy is and how it started.
- Discussion on main philosophical groups in Athens (e.g. Cynics, Stoics and Epicureans.)
- Introduce some of the main pioneers of Greek philosophy.
Session 1: Intro to philosophy
Introduce the literal meaning of “philosophy” and what it entails. Discuss the dialogues, topics and the academy. Discuss why it’s useful.
Activity: Word search and description – tests the key terms we’ve covered.
Session 2: Cynics, Stoics and Epicureans
Introduce the main features of each philosophical school, and what the followers thought. Also discuss fringe philosophies of Pythagoras etc.
Activity: debate – is it better to live for virtue or duty?
Session 3: MVPs of philosophy in ancient Athens
Introduction to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Diogenes. Summarise what each person did and thought. Discuss their lives and beliefs.
Activity: Mugshots – identify each individual by picture or description, which will include clues (e.g. is he in a barrel, is he about to drink some hemlock?)
Activity: Socratic dialogue activity: act out Eurythro.
The remains of Greek architectural projects roused a sense of wonder in generations of scholars who studied the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome. Learn more about how stunning ancient buildings came to be and how Greek architecture continued to influence and inspire later cultures.
- Gain a broad knowledge of ancient Greek architecture.
- Become familiar with key aspects of Greek monumental architecture.
- Develop an understanding of the influence of ancient Greek architecture.
Session 1: Introduction to Greek Temples
Prepare to be impressed by the world of Greek architecture! Learn about different ancient architectural styles and discover how Greek temples developed into the impressive monuments we see today.
Session 2: The Parthenon
Study one of the most famous examples of Greek architecture. Find out how and why the Parthenon was built and take a closer look at some of its beautiful art and decorations.
Session 3: Roman (Greek) Temples
Take a tour of some Roman buildings which ‘borrowed’ ideas from Greek architecture and discover how the Romans made them their own, then try your hand at designing your very own Greek-inspired temple!
Explore one of the most famous stories of the mythical Trojan war: Homer’s Iliad. Meet some of the gods and mortals who fought in this legendary conflict and learn about what it meant to be a hero in Ancient Greece.
- Gain a broad understanding of the plot of Homer’s
- Become familiar with some of the mortal and divine characters in Homer’s Iliad.
- Develop an appreciation of the similarities and differences between ancient and modern ideas of heroism.
Session 1: Homer and the Iliad
Who was Homer? Learn about the mysterious poet who composed the Iliad and explore the ancient Greek world in which he lived. Gain an understanding of the plot of the Iliad and how it relates to other mythical tales from the Trojan war.
Session 2: Greeks and Trojans, Gods and Mortals
Take a closer look at how Homer presents some of the Greeks, Trojans, and Gods who play a role in the Trojan war with some selected passages of the Iliad.
Session 3: What Makes a Hero?
Does our modern idea of a hero match the ideas of heroism we find in Homer’s Iliad? Discover the cultural values behind the ancient hero, and design your ideal hero of the Trojan war!
Enter the fantastical world of Homer’s Odyssey! Follow Odysseus, one of Greek mythology’s most famous heroes, as he journeys home from Troy to Ithaca.
- Gain a broad understanding of the plot of Homer’s Odyssey.
- Become familiar with some of the human, monstrous, and divine characters within Homer’s Odyssey
- Develop an understanding of how modern audiences may engage with ancient stories.
Session 1: Homer and the Odyssey
Who was Homer? Learn about the mysterious poet who composed the Odyssey and explore the ancient Greek world in which he lived. Gain an understanding of the plot of the Odyssey and discover some of its key characters through discussion of selected passages.
Session 2: Gods, Mortals, and Monsters
Take a closer look at how Homer presents some of the gods, humans, and monsters who play a role in Odysseus’ epic journey with some selected passages of the Odyssey.
Session 3: Odyssey on Screen
Imagine you are producing a trailer for a live-action film of Homer’s Odyssey. Which characters and which parts of the story would you feature? How would you make an ancient myth exciting for a modern audience? Storyboard your ideas and share them with the class.
Alexander the Great
Meet the man who dreamt of reaching ‘the ends of the world’! Discover Alexander the Great’s life, ambitions, successes, and demise through a variety of ancient sources. Follow Alexander from Macedon to Persia and India and discover how he came to conquer so much of the ancient world.
- Gain a broad understanding of the life of Alexander the Great.
- Use a range of ancient sources to gain insights into the life and times of Alexander the Great.
- Appreciate the strengths and limitations of different sources for our study of the ancient world.
Session 1: Who Was Alexander the Great?
Find out about the life of Alexander the Great as a king and conqueror. Learn about his upbringing, campaigns and triumphs, and the mysteries surrounding his sudden and untimely death.
Session 2: Ancient Views of Alexander
Explore a range of ancient sources including historical accounts, biographies, coinage and art to learn about different ancient views of Alexander the Great and his actions.
Session 3: Alexander’s Legacy
Take a tour of the ‘successor kingdoms’ established across the Mediterranean and beyond and find out what became of Alexander’s conquests and legacy after his death.