Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module CLAS44530: Greek Epigraphy

Department: Classics and Ancient History

CLAS44530: Greek Epigraphy

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • Students with no existing knowledge of Greek should be enrolled on CLAS40430 Ancient Greek for Research.

Excluded Combination of Modules


    • To introduce students to the study of Greek epigraphy.
    • To explore the origins and history of the Greek ‘epigraphic habit’, and the reasons for its varied development in different places and periods.
    • To study a wide range of epigraphic texts, and to analyse both their function in their original context(s) and their utility for modern historians of the Greek world.
    • To enable students to develop the specific skills required to study and (for students with sufficient knowledge of Greek) edit Greek inscriptions.
    • To build students’ confidence in using epigraphic material in their research.


    • The (approximately 100,000) extant inscriptions from the Greek world constitute a rich and exciting source of evidence for the Greek historian, as well as raising important research questions in their own right. In this module, we will explore these questions by studying a wide selection of Greek inscriptions.
    • In doing so, we will be interested in, one the one hand, developing our understanding of each of these manifestations of the ‘epigraphic habit’, and, on the other, exploring the ways in which this epigraphic evidence can illuminate various aspects of Greek political, religious or cultural activity.
    • This module will not only equip students with the skills needed to ask questions with and of inscribed evidence, but will also introduce them to the practical techniques of the epigrapher.

    Learning Outcomes

    Subject-specific Knowledge:
    • Detailed knowledge of a selection of Greek epigraphic texts.
    • Knowledge of a range of current scholarship on those texts.
    • An understanding of the scholarly debates surrounding the nature and function of inscribed writing in the Greek world.
    • Awareness of the way(s) in which inscribed material can contribute to debates on specific questions/problems in Greek history.
    Subject-specific Skills:
    • Familiarity with the editorial and publishing conventions used in epigraphic scholarship.
    • Familiarity with the main <i>corpora<i> (and related publications) of epigraphic texts.
    • An ability to evaluate epigraphic publications critically.
    Key Skills:
    • The ability to assess and compare a range of different arguments and methodologies.
    • The ability to collaborate with your peers in seminar presentations and discussions.
    • The capacity to produce tight, well-evidenced, clearly expressed, and original arguments in both oral and in written form.
    • A capacity to produce independent and convincing interpretations of inscribed texts.

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • Teaching will be by fortnightly seminars organised around specific types of inscription (or places of epigraphic publication).
    • The seminars are fortnightly and two hours long to allow and encourage significant preparation and detailed discussion.
    • Formative assessment will be (i) a transcription and bibliographic exercise; (ii) a short essay (2,000 words).
    • Summative assessment will be (i) a 3,000-word essay on a topic which should be different from the formative essay; (ii) a poster, presenting an edition of/commentary on an inscription (or small group of inscriptions). The choice of text(s) will be informed by the student’s level of Greek, as well as their research interests.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Seminars 8 4 in Michaelmas term, 4 in Epiphany term 2 hours 16
    Practical Session 1 1 in Epiphany term 1 hour 1
    Field Trip 1 1 in Michaelmas term 4 hours 4
    Preparation and Reading 279
    Total 300

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Essay 3,000 words 100% Essay
    Component: Poster Component Weighting: 50%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Poster A1 size 100% Poster

    Formative Assessment:

    • 1 transcription/bibliographic exercise. • 1 essay (2,000 words).

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University