Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


10 cp from 100-level units in History or Drama

Teaching organisation

3hrs per week for 12 weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

The use of drama as a medium of not only entertainment, but also of learning and healing, was an integral part of ancient Greek culture as was fundamental to the development of the city-state. This unit will engage with different types of evidence to examine how the ancient Greeks recorded and presented key themes of their culture through the medium of dramatic performance. Students will have the opportunity to examine a variety of ancient Greek plays, both comedy and tragedy, to understand their context as historical documents. Students will participate in performances to gain an understanding of how the ancient Greeks staged these dramatic works. This will enable students to identify the way in which the Greeks used drama as a link between art and contemporary social, political, religious and historical ideas.

The aim of this unit, is to develop a student's understanding of the importance of drama with the social context of the ancient Greek city-state and to explore some of the key themes and issues that these states had in presenting these performances on the stage.

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 Greek drama and an awareness of historical debates surrounding it (GA5-7)

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 Greek drama to develop an evidence-based historical narrative or argument (GA3, GA8, G10)

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

LO5 - Interpret and reflect on key historical debates relating to case studies in ancient Greek drama (GA4, GA5, GA6).

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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 may include:

  • An introduction to Greek drama
  • An introduction to the history and culture of Ancient Greece
  • The staging and development of Greek drama
  • The portrayal of women in ancient Greek comedy and tragedy
  • The depiction of historical events in ancient Greek comedy and tragedy
  • The critique of social issues in ancient Greek comedy and tragedy 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This 10 credit-point unit is taught in a face-to-face mode. The two-hour lectures and one-hour tutorials provide an opportunity for a variety of learning experiences, including active learning tasks which encourage students to test and develop their skills in interpreting ancient Greek drama texts, and collaborative learning activities which prepare them for performing these texts. By encouraging students to relate to these texts as they were intended – as plays to be performed – the unit offers students a dynamic avenue for exploring the specific cultural concerns of ancient Greece, as well as for reflecting on the ways in which people across place and time grapple with the big themes of love, loss and power.

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 (where relevant), 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

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.

The Skills/Knowledge Development Assignment requires students to work collaboratively to demonstrate factual and theoretical knowledge of ancient Greek drama, both in relation to its textual and performative elements, and to communicate this is written and oral form. The Active Research Task asks students to apply their knowledge of a set text or texts to an independent research task which will be presented as an evidence-based narrative or argument. The final assignment requires students to demonstrate an overview critical analysis of course content in response to a set question or questions.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Skills/Knowledge Development Assignment: Requires students to demonstrate their ability to work as a group, understand the key concepts of ancient drama, and have good verbal presentation skills.


LO1, LO2

GA5, 6, 7, 9

Active Research Task: The function of this assessment is to develop skills in critical reading, the use of evidence, and clear communication.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4


Summative/Analytical Task (s): The purpose of this task is for students to demonstrate their knowledge of the topic, critical thinking critically, and clear communication skills.

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


Representative texts and references

Storey, Ian Christopher, and Arlene. Allan. A Guide to Ancient Greek Drama. 2nd ed. Blackwell Guides to Classical Literature. 2014.

Euripides, The Bacchae & Other Plays (London, Penguin Classics, 2006)

Euripides, Medea & Other Plays (London, Penguin Classics, 2000)

Aeschylus, The Persians and Other Plays (London, Penguin Classics, 2010)

Aristophanes, The Birds & Other Plays (London, Penguin Classics, 2004)

Aristophanes. The Frogs and Other Plays (London, Penguin Classics, 2007)

Aristophanes, Lysistrata and Other Plays (London, Penguin Classics, 2003)

Dugdale, E. Greek Theatre in Context (Cambridge, CUP, 2008)

Scodel, R. An Introduction to Greek Tragedy (Cambridge, CUP, 2010)

MacLachlan, Bonnie. Women in Ancient Greece: A Sourcebook. A&C Black, 2012.

Pomeroy, Sarah B., Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan, Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, David W. Tandy, and Georgia Tsouvala. Ancient Greece: a political, social, and cultural history. Vol. 56. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

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