University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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Ancient History

Ancient History is taught by the Department of Classics and Ancient History within the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI).

The department of Classics and Ancient History offers three separate majors in ancient world studies: Ancient History, which has a history-centred disciplinary approach to the ancient world; and Latin and Ancient Greek, language-based majors which allow for progression from complete beginners to an advanced mastery of the language and literature. Students are encouraged to supplement the focus of their particular major by drawing on the wide range of units of study available within the department (and in related departments, such as Archaeology and Philosophy) to build an Arts degree with a deep, cross-disciplinary grounding in the ancient world.

In Ancient History we teach the discipline of history and use it to offer undergraduate and postgraduate students at all levels a wide range of units on the ancient Greek, Roman and early post-Roman and Byzantine civilisations. We look at the evidence for this world: literature; documents on stone, metal, clay, wood or papyrus; coins; visual images and material sources. We use various historical approaches to try to recover the past in a way that is meaningful to the present.

Ancient History units can be combined with other units in History (which is a separate subject area) to make up a major in History.

Qualifying for honours
If you are considering an honours year in Ancient History, it is best to seek early advice on all the pathways open to you and the skills you will need to do your best. Our formal prerequisites are a credit or better average in 36 senior credit points of ANHS including ANHS2612 (or equivalent) AND 12 senior credit points (or equivalent) of GRKA or LATN.

Students are also encouraged to enrol in at least one unit at ANHS3600 level. The Honours Coordinator can advise you on acceptable equivalents to our standard requirements.

Ancient History at honours level requires you to have learned at least the basics of the ancient language most relevant to your thesis topic. Normally students are expected to have successfully completed two semesters of Introductory Latin or Ancient Greek or its equivalent

Note that you can still pick up your ancient language as senior units via the units in Reading Greek (GRKA2620 and 2621) or Reading Latin (LATN2620 and 2621).

Undertaking Honours
An extra year of Ancient History allows students to specialise in a particular field and to write a major piece of research. The honours year can be the culmination of your study of Ancient History or a pathway to further research in our postgraduate program. It develops worthwhile transferable skills of analysis and critical argumentation. Our program consists of two seminars and a thesis of 20,000 words on a topic decided by you in consultation with your supervisor.

Full details of the program, its prerequisites and its relationship to other majors taught by the department may be found on the department's website at

Cross-listing (units of study from other subject areas)
Up to two units may be cross-listed towards an Ancient History major from other senior units offered by Classics and Ancient History and other departments. Please check the cross-listing schedule located on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences website.

Contact/further information
Enquiries should be directed in the first instance to the school office, phone +61 2 9351 2862. Further information about units of study may be sought from coordinators. For their names, phone numbers and office numbers, see: