CL1TR-Texts, Readers, and Writers

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: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Eleanor Dickey


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module explores the history of texts, reading, and writing in the Greek and Roman worlds. We shall cover different types of literature and scholarship as well as non-literary documents. Attention will also be given to ancient writing materials and technologies. No knowledge of Latin, Ancient Greek, or the ancient world more generally is required. 


This module aims to give students an overview of the types of literary and non-literary texts produced in ancient Greece and Rome, their contexts, and the materials and technologies used to create them. Students should also learn the Greek alphabet and some of the ancient numeral systems, and become acquainted with the principles of syllabic and ideographic scripts including Linear B and several cuneiform scripts. They should understand and be able to handle the problems surrounding the use of translations. They should understand the relationship between Greek and Roman literary culture, and between both of these and the modern world. Additionally, students should develop their written and oral communication skills, their reading and oral comprehension skills, their ability to work independently and in groups, and their skills in managing workload and planning for deadlines. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

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

  • show a general understanding of the types of literary and non-literary texts produced in ancient Greece and Rome, and their contexts;

  • demonstrate understanding of the special issues concerning inscriptions, papyri, and Linear B;

  • demonstrate knowledge of the Greek alphabet;

  • demonstrate knowledge of some ancient numeral systems;

  • show acquaintance with the principles of syllabic and ideographic scripts;

  • show awareness of the difference between a translation and an original text, and an ability to pick the best translation for a particular purpose;

  • demonstrate understanding of the relationship between Greek and Roman literary culture, and between both of these and the modern world;

  • demonstrate the ability to research for and write an academic essay.

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills, reading and oral comprehension skills, workload planning and deadline management, and the student's effectiveness in group situations. Students are also encouraged to develop their IT skills by use of computer resources. 

Outline content:

Topics studied may include:

• papyri;

• inscriptions;

• Linear B tablets;

• Vindolanda tablets;

• Greek literature;

• Roman literature;

• ancient scholarship;

• the transmission of ancient texts to our time

• translations and how to evaluate them.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be taught by lectures and seminars with two or three contact hours per week. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 6
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study: 172
Total hours by term 200
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 40
Set exercise 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One paper of two hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

1) Successful completion of the majority of the seminars and Blackboard quizzes (that is, four seminars, six reading quizzes, and six lecture quizzes) is required to pass the module, but these do not contribute directly to the final mark. Instead, receiving credit for the set exercise and for the essay is conditional upon meeting this requirement: students who do not meet it will receive marks of zero on the exercise and/or the essay as appropriate.

2) The set exercise, of c. 500 words, is due on Monday of week 5 of term.

3) The essay, of c. 2000 words, can be submitted for any one of three deadlines: Monday of week 7 of term, Monday of week 9 of term, or Monday of week 11 of term (the last Monday of term). Essays must answer one of the questions provided for that submission date, be based on the reading set for that question, and follow all other directions given. 

Formative assessment methods:

Seminar discussion, seminar presentations, written seminar work, written exercises in lectures, and Blackboard quizzes will be used for formative assessment.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy. Where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (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:

A grade of 40% overall. 

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-examination in August. Coursework must be resubmitted in August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 2 September 2019


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