Selected Topics in Ancient History

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 3391
Selected Topics in Ancient History
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hours per week / semester Seminar: 2 hours per week / semester
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Course Description
HIST 3391 examines selected themes, topics, time periods, regions, and methods in the history and material culture of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Classical and Hellenic Greece, the Roman Republic and Empire, Persia, and the Byzantine Empire, from earliest civilizations to 600 CE. Content will vary according to the instructor’s selection of theme, topic, time period, or region. Consult the History department for the topic to be offered.
Course Content

HIST 3391 introduces students to a close examination of the political, economic, social, and cultural development of a region or society in the ancient world, as well as the relevant historiographic and methodological issues, trends, and debates. Students will gain an understanding of the dynamic nature of ancient history, and the way that the past has been contested, reframed and reinterpreted according to contemporary concerns and issues.

Specific course content will vary according to the instructor’s selection of theme, topic, time period, or region. A schedule of weekly topics and readings will be included in an instructor's course outline.

Examples of thematic topics: Gender and Sexuality in the Ancient World; Death and Afterlife in the Ancient World; Warfare in Classical and Hellenistic Greece; The City in Greece and Rome; The Economies of Empire: Rome and Byzantium; Cultural History of the Late Roman World; Byzantine Art and Culture.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history)

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Reading Analyses 10%

Primary Document Analyses 15%

Seminar Presentations 10%

Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography 10%

Research Essay 25%

Final Examination 15%

Participation 15%


Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Course Readers will vary by the particular theme selected by the instructor. An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned, and links to specific resources may be provided in the course outline.

Examples of textbooks:

Ball, Warwick. Rome in the East: The Transformation of an Empire, 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2009.

Boatwright, Mary T., Daniel J. Gargola, Noel Lenski, and Richard J.A. Talbert. A Brief History of the Romans, 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Clogg, Richard. A Concise History of Greece, 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Green, Peter. The Hellenistic Age: A Short History. New York: Modern Library, 2007.

Gregory, Timothy E. A History of Byzantium, 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Hall, Jonathan M. A History of the Archaic Greek World, ca. 1200-479 BCE, 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

Liverani, Mario. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge, 2014.

Mathisen, Ralph W. Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations: From Prehistory to 640 CE, 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Mathisen, Ralph W. Sources in Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations: Documents, Maps, and Images. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Mitchell, Stephen. A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641, 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.

Morkot, Robert. The Egyptians: An Introduction. London: Routledge, 2005.

Naerebout, Frederick G., and Henk W. Singor. Antiquity: Greeks and Romans in Context. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

Parker, Victor. A History of Greece, 1300 to 30 BC. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

Pomeroy, Sarah B., Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan, Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, and David Tandy. A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society, and Culture, 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Powell, Anton. Athens and Sparta: Constructing Greek Political and Social History from 478 BC, 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2016.

Ryan, Donald P. Ancient Egypt: The Basics. London: Routledge, 2017.

Snell, Daniel C. Ancient Near East: The Basics. London: Routledge, 2013.

Thomas, Carol. Greece: A Short History of a Long Story, 7,000 BCE to the Present. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

Zuiderhoek, Arjan. The Ancient City. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.


One 1000-level History course, or permission of the instructor





Which Prerequisite