Dickson College, Semester 2, 2013

Term 3
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10
Term 4
Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16

Class Files

Unit Outline
BSSS Policy and Procedures
CLIO Learning Materials online. Athens to Alexander.
This link provides teachers and students with study material for "Athens to Alexander" and an outline of the Unit content.

Athens to Alexander on ClioMinoan Religion and the Ancient Greeks
Tom Hermes, 2011

Landscape and Destiny in Asia Minor
Frazer Brown, ANU, 2011

Slavery in Ancient Greece
Ursula Cliff, 2009

The Treatment of Athenian Slaves
Cait Smith, 2011

The Nature of Athenian Democracy
Nick Ewbank, 2009

The Greek Victory at Marathon
Emily Hood, 1995

The Persian Wars
Frazer Brown, 2009

The Graeco-Persian Wars Compared
James Batchelor, 2009

The Origins of the Peloponnesian War
Robert Joseph, 2009

Plato’s Critique of Democracy
Tom Hermes, 2011

Alexander's Macedonian Army
Lachlan McColl, 2007
Important DatesTuesday, 27th August - In class essay.
Friday, 30th August - Draft for research essay due (if you are going to submit it, this is optional.)
Friday, 13th September - Research essay due.
Tuesday 29th November - Document TestThursday 21st November - Oral presentations to be viewed (please see the presentation schedule to the right)

Essay Resources Page Username and password required: email Jason.Abela@ed.act.edu.au


Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Greece
Guide to Grammar & Writing
DC Library
DC Library History Page
Online Etymology Dictionary
Forvo: the pronunciation guide
The complete guide to Harvard Referencing
Textual references
Reference generator - Harvard system
Inserting quotes into essays
How to write a bibliography
See the PPT on annotated bibliographies
A Guide to Citing Sources in Classics
The Persian Wars, Donald Kagan
Themistocles, Jona Lendering
The Decree of Themistocles
The Troezen Decree
Introduction to Ancient Greek History, Donald Kagan, Open Yale Courses
Real Clear History
BBC History
Critics and Critiques of Athenian Democracy, Paul Cartledge
How ‘Great’ Was Alexander?, Professor Ian Worthington (University of Missouri-Columbia)
Alexander the Great Exhibition, ABC Radio National Breakfast
Alexander the Great - 2000 Years of Treasures
He Found the Real Alexander, Peter Green, New York Review of Books, November 22, 2012

TeacherName: Jason Abela
Staffroom: Humanities - N39
Email: Jason.Abela@ed.act.edu.au
Phone: 6205 6481

Twitter: @Kipchaq (I shall tweet any changes to the CLIO page, and other info about the course)

Week 1 (22 - 25 July)

We started out the lesson with a brief introduction, then I got you to fill out a short questionnaire so I could get an idea of what you already knew about the topic and what you wanted to know. Then we listened to an episode of the Late Night Live ABC radio show, called The Dark Side of Democracy's Birthplace, which gave us a bit of an overview of the development of democracy in Athens.

Today I finished off my introductory presentation, then responded to your questionnaires from the previous day. I noted that a few of you had a bit of a misunderstanding of Greek xenophobia - remember, it is not racism like we have in the modern day, there was no concept that people with different skin colours had smaller brains for example, it was just a concept of regional cultural superiority. There were also quite a few requests to cover some Greek mythology. I will endeavour to incorporate as much of this into the lessons as I can. After this you read through some excerpts from Pamela Bradley's Ancient Greece Using Evidence.

Bradley 1 - 11.pdf
Bradley 12 - 13.pdf

The purpose of this was, firstly, to learn a bit more about the physical and political geography of Greece, and secondly to give you a chance to continue practicing pulling out information from a secondary source. Using the source you wrote notes on the following:

- Landform (characteristics and effects)
- The sea (characteristics and effects)
- Climate (characteristics and effects)
- The Dark Ages (1100-800 BCE)
- The polis
- Features which unified the Greeks

After lunch we discussed what you had learnt. Then we went into a bit more depth about the aspects of Athenian democracy, and the great questions that the Ancient Greeks wrestled with surrounding the nature of democracy, equality and political participation. You had a chance to reflect on what democracy meant to you, and to comment on the virtues and faults of modern democracy versus the Athenian conception of it.

Today we began watching The Ancient Greeks: Crucible of Civilisation, Episode 1 - Revolution (available on YouTube), in order to get a better idea of how democracy came to be in Athens. We didn't get through it all, so we will conclude it next week.

Week 2 (29 July - 1 August)MondayFirst I handed out the unit outline, and extended my apologies for not having the assignment sheets yet, but I promise they will be ready soon! We finished watching Revolution (available on YouTube) today. After a bit of a discussion on the video, we read through an article, The Nature of Athenian Democracy (which is from CLIO, available here), and you took notes on the distinguishing features of Athens' style of democratic government. We finished off the lesson by discussing what you had learnt from this article. Next lesson we will start on the Persian Wars!

Today we started learning about the Persian Wars. I began with a presentation on this, then after lunch we had a look at a map of the Persian Empire, and some notes on key events in the Anatolian, Mesopotamian and Persian Plateau regions. To finish off the lesson we read through some sources on Pheidippides, the supposed Marathon runner, and did an analysis on them with OMAD BOOTLACE.

ThursdayToday we were responding to the sources on Pheidippides that you analysed on Tuesday. The point of this was for you to draw a conclusion and put forth an opinion on what you think the reality of the famed 'Marathon run' is. Remember, there is no such thing as a fact! The best we can do is come to a conclusion based on historical evidence, and as you will find, there is almost always a lot of controversy surrounding the interpretation of evidence, even with events that happened a week ago, yet alone over two thousand years ago!

To do this we went to the computer labs so that you could type up your responses, then post them on the discussion forum of this class page (the link to that is the small speech bubble button at the top right of the page, but you can also get to it from here.) If you don't have a CLIO account, I can now set you up with one, but until then you can use the guest account, just make sure you sign your name at the end. If you need the guest account login, just shoot me an email and I'll give it to you.

Most of you didn't get enough time to finish, but don't stress, I've booked the library for next lesson so you can finish that off, then have a bit of time to work on your assignment (which I handed out the sheet for this lesson).

Week 3 (5th - 9th August)MondayClass was cancelled today as I had to supervise AST trials. Sorry about that!
We spent the double in the library as some of the Year 12s were still doing ASTs. This afforded us a chance to finish off posting our Pheidippides discussions on here, and then to work on your assignments.
To conclude on Pheidippides and the story of the Marathon run, I gave you my opinion on the various sources and what really happened. Afterwards we read through two other opinions on this, and I got you to write a conclusion as to which one you agreed with and why. We discussed this as a class, and there was unanimous agreement with Jona Lendering's assertion that Herodotus' account makes the most sense.
I also handed out the In Class Essay notice today. Remember that the questions covered will only be on what we've covered in class! As long as you have everything I've given you (and if you don't, it's all available here), you will have the ability to do do well.

Week 4 (12th to 16th August)
In class essay was held today.

Today we watched the second episode of The Greeks: Crucible of Civilisation (available here), which covered the Persian Wars and Athens subsequent rise to prominence as leader of the Delian League. After lunch we discussed the documentary, then we read an extract on Themistokles from Lendering's book and wrote an informal biography, based on that and what we had learnt from the documentary.

School closed due to moderation day.

Week 5 (19th to 23rd August)


Previously we have covered Athenian democracy, but today we took an in depth look at the way in which it functioned, and the various offices that were filled by Athenian citizens. Tomorrow we will take a look at an excerpt from Aristophanes' Archanians to get an idea of what it might have really been like in the Assembly.



We started out by reading the excerpt from Archanians and tried to decipher it. As we discovered, the Ancient Greeks are difficult to understand without significant context! We went through it as a class, discussing the major themes inherent in the excerpt, which included:
  • People trying to avoid their duty to participate in the assembly.
  • The Prytanes being more interested in jockeying for position and prominence than doing their job.
  • The Ambassadors being pompous, vainglorious and Persianised.
  • The Assembly being chaotic, ineffective and unwilling to commit to action.
  • Many of the debates were personal attacks, rather than actually arguing over the substance of someone's position.
We drew some conclusions based on this, and what we'd learnt about prior to this, as to what it would've really been like in the Assembly. Next I asked you to extend this empathetic thinking to the case of Themistocles, when he tried to convince the Assembly to spend Athens' mining money on building a navy, and you listed as many for and against points as you could. After lunch you were all assigned a persona, given time to come up with some points for debate, and then we held our own assembly! Graham and Conor were kind enough to come in as our neutral Athenians, and after the debate had concluded a vote was held. As it was in history, the vote went in favour of building the navy, though both teams did a truly excellent job and really got into it, especially the nature of the debates being personal (poor Themistocles had to fend off accusations of being a closet Persian!).

Today we spent the lesson in the library so you could have a chance to work on your assignments.

Week 6 (26th - 30th August)

We've spent a lot of time looking at Athens, so today we took a closer look at Sparta. In order to do this we read through the most complete account on the Spartan way of life, Plutarch's Instituta Laconica. Afterwards we discussed the key features of Spartan society, as described by Plutarch, then we made a table in our book to compare and contrast Spartan society to what we've previously learnt of Athenian society.

In class essay.

I was away today. You were asked to research a city state and post your research on the CLIO discussion forum.

Week 7 (2nd - 6th September)

Today we took a look at the factors that led up to the Peloponnesian Wars. We also discussed the transition from the Mycenaean Age to the Archaic Age of Greece. This is related to the Peloponnesian Wars as the philosophies and ideas that developed during the Archaic Age led to the bipolar spheres of Athens and Sparta.

To get a good understanding of the Peloponnesian Wars from a Greek perspective, we read an excerpt from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, focusing on the plague of Athens. Afterwards we discussed the profound effects this had on the Athenians, then we discussed Thucydides' writing style, comparing and contrasting with Herodotus.

The Year 12s had their AST on Tuesday, and today it was the Year 11s' turn, so we repeated the last lesson

Week 8 (9th - 13th September)

It was time for another debate today! This time you formed small groups and were given a sheet of information on one of the Ancient Greek city states. After having some time to formulate a position on joining either the Delian or Peloponnesian League (or neither), I addressed the class as Athens and Sparta trying to get you to join their leagues. Finally, each city state declared their intentions. It was interesting to see that each city, except Argos, chose just as they did historically!

We spent the double in the library for people to finish off their assignments today.

To finish off the Peloponnesian Wars, we watched the third and final part of the Crucible of Civilization documentary that we had watched in previous lessons (available on YouTube).

Week 9 (16th - 20th September)

We started a new topic today! We're moving from our political and military focus, on to social and cultural history of Archaic Greece. I gave an introductory presentation on the origins of Greek theatre, then we read a document on this and you answered the following questions:
  1. Explain, in your own words, the choric dithyramb.
  2. Evaluate the importance of Thespis in the origins of theatre.
  3. How did the increase in the number of actors allow increased complexity in the drama?
  4. Explain the tetralogy and its elements.

To get a good idea of what Greek theatre was like, we read most of Lysistrata during the double today (available on the Gutenberg Project). As we read we did summaries of each section (sections aren't actually marked in the Gutenberg version, so we just decided when there was a transition and wrote a summary up to that point). Afterwards we discussed it and then answered the following questions:
  1. What is the play about?
  2. What is the purpose of the play?
  3. Are the characters believable? Why/why not?
  4. Is the play entertaining? Why/why not?
  5. Do you think it would have been popular in Athens? Why/why not?
  6. How does the play compare to modern plays/movies? What is different? What is similar?
  7. Is the play still relevant today? Why/why not?

Following on from Tuesday's lesson, we discussed the play Lysistrata, then I got you all to write a review of the play in your books. After this we read an excerpt from a book by Sarah Ruden, which analyses what the play tells us about the status of Greek women.

Week 10 (23rd - 27th September)

Moving on to a new play today, we delved into the world of the Satyr plays and read through some of Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus (available online at The Internet Classics Archive). We discussed the image of Prometheus in this play, and decided that it was a positive image, one of a noble God who sacrificed for Humanity and was punished for it. In order to compare this representation to the traditional tales of Hellenicism, we started reading Hesiod's Theogony (a collection of oral tales from the Greek Dark Ages that had been codified later in the Archaic Age, available online at Sacred Texts). We didn't get enough time to finish this, so we'll continue next lesson.

We finished reading parts of the Theogony today, in particular reading the section on Prometheus. We noted how it was a much more negative portrayal than found in Prometheus Bound. Zeus appears to be revered as being just and fair in the Theogony, punishing a deceitful and villainous Prometheus that is not a very sympathetic character. We discussed how this was a reflection of the changing times (aristocracy being the norm in the Dark Ages, and thus respecting authority unquestionably was valued, whereas the democratic norm in the Archaic Age meant that it was ok to question whether or not those in power were just). Afterwards I gave a presentation on the Greek pantheon, giving a broad overview of the primary Gods and a summary of the Hellenic creation myths.

After lunch we moved on to Oedipus Rex (available online at Vancouver Island University). We read three excerpts, which can be found by looking for the numbers in the square brackets, [150] (from the Chorus) - [460] (to Teiresias exiting), [960] (from Oedipus) - [1070] (to Jocasta exiting), and [1300] (from Oedipus) to the end. We discussed its similarities with broader Greek mythology, and it was pointed out that just like Zeus killing his father, Kronos, Oedipus also was prophesised to and did kill his father. We also discussed the tale of hubris that it tells (trying to escape the will of the Gods and avoid fulfilling the prophesy), and how it shows the way the Greeks viewed the Gods as capricious and even perhaps sadistic.

We've read great deal lately, and you've all persevered well through some very thick and difficult to understand Greek classics. So in order to take a bit of a break, I've decided we'll watch a movie. It's not Hercules, as it is far too inaccurate (sorry Emily!), but the modern movie Troy is, despite its Hollywood flair, fairly true to the original Homeric epic, The Illiad. We started watching that today but didn't get through it, so we'll finish off next term. I also handed out the assignment sheet for next term's oral presentation.

Have a wonderful holiday everyone, see you next term!

Week 11 (14th - 18th October)

Welcome back everyone, hope you had a great holiday!

We continued watching Troy today, and I gave you a sheet with some questions to answer on the movie. It's a long movie, so we'll finish it off over the double tomorrow!

Continued watching Troy. We discussed some of the similarities between the fate of Hector (who dared to defy Apollo's prophesy to attach the Greeks, even though it resulted in a crushing defeat for the Trojans) and Oedipus. Once again, this shows that the Greek Gods were capricious and cruel, and would turn against their subjects on a whim. Remember that Troy was supposed to be beloved by Apollo, and he had guarded it for years, yet all of a sudden he doesn't seem interested in them any more! Still not finished yet (it's a long movie!) so we'll watch the last little bit next lesson.

We finally finished watching Troy today! Afterwards we discussed the answers to some of the questions you were working on, then we held a big dis

Week 12 (21st - 25th October)

We spent the lesson in the library to work on our oral presentations today.

We have moved on to our final topic for the semester now, the Macedonian conquests and the subsequent Hellenic period. I started with a presentation giving a broad overview of Greek history from the end of the Peloponnesian Wars, up to the death of Alexander. Afterwards we read about Demosthenes, whom was Phillip's (Alexander's father) most vocal opponent, launching several speeches attacking his conquests and rousing the Athenians to resist. As we found out, Demosthenes succeeded, but Phillip defeated the Greeks anyway. Demosthenes ended up committing suicide. We learnt more about this enigmatic figure by reading a short biography on him. Afterwards we read some extracts from the first Phillipic, and discussed what it meant first in pairs, then as a class.

Now that we have a broad understanding of the period, it's time to get down to the details. To begin, we looked at a text discussing the early years of Alexander, and discussed the image we get of the man. People suggested that he seemed charismatic, adventurous, bold, a natural leader yet also brash, arrogant and impetuous. After this we watched a summary of the Battle of Chaeronea (available on YouTube), which we didn't get time to do last lesson. We discussed in particular the revolutionary tactics, particularly the feint (luring the enemy into making a move that will expose them to attack), that Phillip used to win the battle. Next we watched a summary of the Battle on the River Granicus, Alexander's first battle against the Persians upon landing in Anatolia (available on YouTube). Finally, we discussed how Alexander developed Phillip's tactics further, making use of an aggressive and risky feint, but one that ultimately led to the Persians quitting the field after minimal Macedonian casualties.

Week 13 (28th October - 1st November)

In order to look a bit closer at the tactics of Alexander, we watched a documentary (available on YouTube) on the battle that won Alexander the Persian Empire (the Battle of Guagamela). It is a little overdramatised, but it does give an excellent account of the battle and the tactics used to triumph over a numerically superior Persian force.

Document test was held today.

We spent the lesson in the library to give you time to work on your oral presentations.

Week 14 (4th - 8th November)

It's time to take a look at the lasting effects of Alexander's empire during the Hellenistic Period. To start off I gave a presentation, giving a broad overview of the split of the Empire and the achievements over the period. Following on from this we read a document on the Diadochi Wars (successor wars) that gave a bit more detail on the events of the tumultuous period following Alexander's death.

We spent the double in the library to give you time to work on your oral presentations.

Following on from the previous lecture, we took a look specifically at the art and sculpture of the Hellenistic period. We then analysed what these pieces told us about the Hellenistic period, discussing themes such as the pathos (raw, evocative, negative emotion), the lack of hero worship, realistic and gritty depictions etc.

Week 15 (11th - 15th November)

Approaching the end now! To start off we finished off the worksheet on Hellenistic art, then we moved on to taking a look at Strabo's Geographica. Strabo was a Greek living in Italy during Roman Times. He wrote his book after travelling the Ancient World, and provided many detailed descriptions about its geography, both physical and political. He spends a bit of time in this passage describing Egypt under the Ptolemies, and the importance of the city Alexandria.

We spent the double in the library to give you time to work on your oral presentations.

We were lucky enough to have our lovely student teacher, Jess, prepare a lesson for today. Jess has been a Uni lecturer specialising in Classics, so this was a real treat! She gave us a fascinating look at Olympia and her representations in both ancient and modern times, relating this to what it tells us about how Hellenistic women are viewed. We also briefly looked at an excerpt from Plutarch's account of Cleopatra, again analysing this for how the women are represented, and contrasting this to the status of women in Classical Greece. We didn't get time to finish this source off, so we'll look at that again next week.

Week 16 (18th - 19th November)

To wrap up the course, we took a closer look at the Ptolemies and the end of the Hellenistic period. We started with the account of Ptolemy II Philaedelphius' coronation, and noted the themes of decadence and foreignness. We then finished reading Plutarch's account of Cleopatra, and noticed that there were similar themes.

We then discussed how the end of the Hellenistic period is inextricably linked with the rise of the Roman Empire. We discussed how Rome had expanded rapidly, and through a series of events had come to dominate the Mediterranean. This started with the sack of Carthage in 146 BCE ending Rome's major rival. Then the King of Pergamon bequeathed his realm to Rome upon his death in 133 BCE, and by 100 BCE the Seleucids were a rump state not extending beyond Syria. With the Greek city states firmly under thumb, the Hellenistic world was in a sorry state, but Mithridates, King of Pontus, rallied the Greeks to rise up against Rome, triggering the three Mithridatic Wars from 88 - 63 BCE. The Romans won, annexed Pontus and most of Asia Minor, and dissolved the Seleucid Kingdom, turning Syria into a Roman province. The last great Hellenistic kingdom was Ptolemaic Egypt, which evenutally fell to the Romans under Augustus (Octavian) in 30 BCE, marking once and for all the end of the Hellenic period.

The narrative of this fall is told brilliantly through the HBO series Rome, which is both highly entertaining and reasonably accurate historically. We watched a few clips from this:
  • Antony and Cleopatra meeting in Rome to discuss an agreement for the imporation of grain from Egypt - The primary theme we discussed here was in relation to Cleopatra's request of legitimising Caesar's illegitimate son through her. We discussed how this was a huge issue for Augustus, who was Caesar's adopted son, and couldn't possibly allow Caesar's actual flesh and blood son to be considered legitimate, as this would challenge his own claim to be the rightful heir of Caesar.
  • Meeting of the Second Triumvirate to discuss dividing Rome - We discussed how Rome was effectively ruled by a Triumvirate of three prominent and influential Roman figures, Marc Antony, Augustus (Octavian), and Lepidus. Here they are discussing how to jointly rule Rome by dividing its territories in three. Marc Antony wants the East, including Egypt and Anatolia, and we discussed how this shows that the East was still the most important part. The Romans were wanting to promote Roman culture as supreme and influential, but they were still living in the shadow of the Greeks whose influence and culture remained strong.
  • Augustus' Propaganda - This scene shows one of Augustus' men spreading propaganda against Marc Antony. This was in the lead up to the confrontation between Augustus and Marc Antony. We discussed in particular how the weapon Augustus uses against Marc Antony is his perceived foreignness, accusing him of adopting Greek/Egyptian customs and dress.
  • Deaths of Mark Antony & Cleopatra - And finally we look at the end of the Ptolemies and the Hellenistic period. Augustus' and Marc Antony's forces clashed on the Mediterannean just north of Egypt, and despite Egypt's superior navy, the Romans won. They then landed in Alexandria and routed the Egyptian army. Facing capture, Marc Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. The way in which this happened is unknown, as we have several conflicting accounts, so this representation is just one attestation to how it occured.