CL3SHM-Saints and Holy Men in the Late Antique Mediterranean

Module Provider: Classics
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Arietta Papaconstantinou


Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module will study one of the most characteristic phenomena of Late Antiquity, namely the rise and development of the cult of saints, whose multiple identities range from martyrs of the persecutions to famous monks, bishops, and other charismatic figures renowned for their ascetic feats and healing miracles.

The aim of this module is to offer participants an introduction to a new religious phenomenon, its literature, its social and historical impact, and its role in shaping forms of both power and religiosity for centuries to come.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that a student will be able to
- show understanding of the different forms of cults and cult sites
- show knowledge of the social history of the period
- analyse hagiographical sources, assess them critically, and evaluate their limitations
- distinguish between modern approaches and be able to discuss them

Additional outcomes:
The module encourages and supports independent student learning, written communication skills, and discussion with other members of a group.

Outline content:
The module will be organised around four key texts, Theodoret’s History of the monks of Syria, John of Ephesus’ Lives of the eastern saints, The Miracles of Saint Artemios, and the Encomium of Saint Victor the General. It will cover various themes that appear in the texts.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

 The module will be organised around the careful and critical reading of the four set texts, insisting on their content, form, and context. Lectures will introduce the historical periods and regional specificities. Students will be expected to engage with the texts and to prepare extracts for class in groups.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One text commentary due in at the end of Week 7. (30% of the overall mark)

One 2500 word essay due at the end of Week 1 of the term following the one in which the module is taught. (70% of the overall mark)

Formative assessment methods:

Students are encouraged to submit a draft or project of their essay for formative feedback by the end of Week 9.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Resubmission by 22nd August

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 11 September 2018


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