Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit





Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent of lectures and tutorials

Unit rationale, description and aim

The ancient Greeks have left a large legacy on the development of western civilization. This unit will examine different types of evidence to survey the history of the Greek city states with a particular emphasis upon Athens and Sparta, examining their early independent affairs and their subsequent inter-dependence and rivalry that culminated in the surrender of Athens to Sparta in 404 BC. Subject areas to be studied include the development of social and political systems in Sparta and Athens in the seventh and sixth centuries BC, the Persian Wars, the growth of Athenian influence through the Delian League and the Peloponnesian War and its repercussions.
The aim of this unit, is to develop a student's understanding of the importance of the world of the ancient Greeks in its historical context and to explore how the development of the Greek city-states had a lasting impact on the course of world history.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Discuss theoretical and factual knowledge of the history of ancient Greece and an awareness of historical debates surrounding it (GA4, GA6) 

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written and/or oral form, in a style appropriate to a specified audience (GA9)

LO3 - Locate, use and appropriately reference a variety of primary and secondary materials relevant to the history of Ancient Greece to develop an evidence-based historical narrative or argument (GA3, GA8, G10) 

LO4 - Apply critical reading skills to your understanding of the history of ancient Greece and the methods that historians have used to research it (GA4, GA5) 

LO5 - Interpret and reflect on key historical debates relating to real-world situations/case studies in ancient Greece (GA3-6). 

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:  

  • The concept of the Greek City State 
  • The development of the social and political systems in Sparta and Athens 
  • The City States and the Persian Wars 
  • The growth of Athenian influence through the Delian league  
  • The reasons for the Peloponnesian War  
  • The Peloponnesian War and its repercussions. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This 10 credit-point unit is taught in a face-to-face mode. The two-hour lectures provide students with content which will help inform their understanding of primary and secondary sources related to the unit’s content, and the one-hour tutorials provide an opportunity for a variety of active learning experiences. Engaging students in active learning gives them the opportunity to work through the challenges that historians grapple with when studying ancient sources, and this will allow students to develop practical skills and learn how to apply them to a study of ancient history.  

Students in this unit will be encouraged to: develop specific skills in locating, reading and analysing sources; consider different approaches to the past and the dynamics of historical and historiographical debate; and employ active research techniques into their own research and analysis. This unit introduces students to strategies that will help them to: (a) understand and interpret the history of a particular country (or countries); (b) take a thematic approach to the study of the past.  

This unit has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as lectures, tutorials, reading, reflection, discussion, film screenings, skills workshops, and assignments etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to: essays, examinations, student presentations or case studies.  

In the History discipline, second year units are designed to include a selection of the following assessment tasks: 

  • Active research tasks that require students to find and use primary and secondary sources 
  • Digital search techniques for online archives and/or digital newspaper databases 
  • ‘Hands on’ historical methods such as oral history, using material objects/archaeological evidence, textual and visual analysis, etc. 
  • Research essay/challenge  
  • Book review 
  • In-class debates or team challenges 
  • Forums/blogs/online discussion 
  • Short answer responses 
  • Short quizzes/in-class tests 
  • Tutorial-based assignments/presentations 

The Skills/Knowledge Development Assignment requires students to focus on learning and correctly applying some key discipline and content specific terminology. This is particularly important in ancient history because students are often introduced to words and concepts with which they are unfamiliar. In completing this assignment students will demonstrate their ability to correctly apply ideas and knowledge relevant to the unit content (LO1) and to express this clearly for an academic audience (LO2). The Active Research Task gives student the opportunity to apply research techniques developed in tutorials, and key content and skills developed in the first assessment to investigate a research question and present their findings in the form of an evidence-based narrative or argument. The Summative/Analytical Task asks students to reflect on the unit as a whole and draw together themes, ideas and information in response to a specific question or questions. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Skills/Knowledge Development Assignment:  The key purpose of this task is for students to develop skills in locating and understanding primary and secondary sources on Ancient Greece, and to discuss the relevant content and terminology within them. Skills developed in this task will help prepare students for the research task.  


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA6, GA9 

Active research task: The key purpose of this task is for students to demonstrate research, writing and analytical skills to produce an evidence-based argument that demonstrates critical reading skills and an awareness of historical debates on a topic relating to the unit content.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Summative/Analytical Task (s): This task assesses how well students can draw together knowledge and skills developed in the unit to provide sound historical analysis of one or more of the unit’s key themes. The lecturer may designate this task to be in the form of short answer responses, test/s, take-home exam, exam, reflective essay/poster or simulation exercise. 


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

Bury J.B. and R. Meiggs. A History of Greece, Palgrave. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 1977. 

Ehrenberg, V. From Solon to Socrates: Greek History and Civilization During the Sixth and Fifth Centuries BC. Routledge: London and New York, 2006. 

Fornara, C.W. Archaic Times to the End of the Peloponnesian War. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1993. 

Hanson, V.D. Hoplites: The Classical Greek Battle Experience, Routledge: London and New York, 2004. 

Hanson, V.D. A War like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans fought the Peloponnesian War. Random House: New York, 2011. 

Meiggs, R. The Athenian Empire. Clarendon Press Oxford, UK, 1972.  

Osborne, R. Greece in the Making. Routledge: London and New York, 1996.  

van Wees, H. Greek Warfare: Myths and Realities. Duckworth: London, 2004.  

Warry, J. Warfare in the Classical World. University of Oklahoma Press: Oklahoma, 1980.  

Hall, Edith. Introducing the Ancient Greeks. Random House: New York, 2015. 


Course Identifier    BACHELOR OF ARTS 

Originally approved at Faculty of Education and Arts Board on 16 July 2014 

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