The MA has five components: four taught modules (assessed entirely by coursework) and a dissertation. Two of the modules explore research skills and methodologies such as epigraphy, historiography and numismatics. The other pair constitute a Special Field which changes from year to year. (In 2010/11 there will be a choice between Athenian Law & Society and The Rise of Christianity. For details see below).
If all four modules are successfully passed, students then prepare and submit a dissertation – on a subject of their own choice – not exceeding 20,000 words. Candidates who pass the assessment for the four taught modules but who fail to submit a dissertation, or submit an unsatisfactory dissertation, will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.
The MA in Ancient History may be taken full-time in one year (September to September) or part-time over 31 months (September to May of the third year).
In general, the MA programmes in History are designed to develop historical skills and deepen a knowledge of the relevant field of history .
Candidates will normally be expected to hold an upper second class honours degree in Ancient History or in joint or combined honours with Ancient History as a major subject.
With the permission of the Chair of the School's Research Committee, a candidate may substitute a comparable module from another MA programme offered by the Faculty of Humanities.
AHY7000: Research Methods (1) and AHY7001: Research Methods (2)
The two linked modules offer an introduction to some key ancillary areas of knowledge and methodology for the working ancient historian. After an introduction to the fundamentals of contemporary scholarly bibliographical resources and conventions, four components are undertaken (the order of components may vary from year to year):
(1) A study of the historiographical outlook and practices of some of the most significant ancient historians of Greece and Rome.
(2) An exploration of Greek and Roman numismatic conventions and the challenges of deploying coins as evidence.
(3) An examination of the ancient epigraphy of Greece and Rome. Students are introduced to the significance of epigraphical study for the working historian as well as conventions for the presentation of ancient inscribed texts
(4) An assessment of specifically legal evidence as a resource for historians of Roman social history.
Each of the four components is examined by means of an assessed student project.
AHY7002: Special Field (1) and AHY7003: Special Field (2)*
Students will undertake a substantial course of study (over two linked modules) of a major period of Greek, Roman or ancient Mediterranean history, attending lectures, classes and seminars. Students will submit four essays for each of the two modules. A rotating system of courses is in operation and the Special Field will be one of the following:
(1) Athenian Law and Society
A substantial course of study of the law, legal institutions and jurisprudence of Athens during the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Drawing upon a significant sample of surviving trial speeches, the sophisticated worlds of both ‘public’ and ‘private’ Athenian law will be explored. Contrasts between classical Athenian concepts and both Roman and modern principles of law will be examined.
(2) The Rise of Christianity
The course explores significant institutions and discourses within Judaism in Judaea in the period 167 BC – AD 70 and setting the historical Jesus in this broader world. It proceeds to examine the earliest traces of the Christian movement and the development of Christianity within the Roman Mediterranean. Students will encounter the historical challenges of reconstructing early theological disputes, heretical ideas and the motivation and scope of persecution up to the reign of Constantine the Great.
(3) Rome under the Julio-Claudians
An examination of the history of Rome under the first emperor, Augustus, and his successor, Tiberius, based on a detailed analysis of the ancient sources. Students will explore the construction of a plausible history of the period with special reference to the imperial family, foreign policy, the army, and social, economic and political developments.
Following consultation with members of the MA programme teaching staff, students will undertake a course of substantial independent study on an agreed subject. Periodic supervisions will assess student performance and satisfactory progress will lead to the completion of a dissertation not exceeding 20,000 words on the approved subject. The successful MA dissertation will demonstrate significant engagement with relevant scholarship and appropriately presented academic writing. Students who have completed the taught modules AHY700 to AHY703 but who do not submit a satisfactory dissertation will be awarded the Diploma in Ancient History.
* With the permission of the Chair of the School's Research Committee, a candidate may in exceptional circumstances substitute one module drawn from another MA programme offered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in place of AHY7003.
Part-time students will take AHY7000 and AHY7001 in their first year, AHY7002 and AHY7003 in their second, and the dissertation in their third (submitting the latter by the 1st of May in their final year).