Ucl history department

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HIST1001: From the Ancient Near East to the

Twenty-First Century (Part 1)

HIST1004: Ancient and Medieval History

Dr Adam I.P. Smith (course coordinator)

Dr R. W. Benet Salway

Prof. David L. d’Avray

Dr Peter Schröder

Autumn Term 2011



The Lecture Core Course

Course coordinator 2011-12: Dr Adam Smith


This course offers an introduction to history from the earliest states to the contemporary world. Its enormous chronological, geographical and thematic range cannot of course be fully covered in a mere forty lectures, and students are required to acquire much of their historical knowledge and understanding through independent reading of the bibliography provided. The actual lectures will not present a comprehensive survey but aim for a more in-depth coverage of topics of central importance, which will be approached through a number of select sources which are provided in the course hand-out. For convenience, the course has been divided into four sections (Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern & Contemporary) but many historical themes will recur in several or all of these sections, and it is part of the course’s purpose to encourage long-term historical thinking. The first two sections of the course (Ancient and Medieval) also constitute HIST1004: Ancient and Medieval History.


This is a lecture-only course. Lectures take place on Tuesdays, 10-11 and Fridays, 11-12. In term 1 the Tuesday lectures will be in the Main Lecture Theatre of Bentham House (Faculty of Laws, corner of Endsleigh Street and Endsleigh Gardens), the Friday lectures in ground floor Lecture Theatre, Institute of Archaeology (31-34 Gordon Square)

In order to discuss matters relating to the course face-to-face with one of the tutors, it is always possible to visit them during their advertised office hours, or to make an appointment.

  • Ancient History: Dr Benet Salway, room B20, History Dept. (r.salway@ucl.ac.uk)

  • Medieval History: Prof. David d’Avray, room 413, History Dept. (d.d’avray@ucl.ac.uk)

  • Early Modern History: Dr Peter Schröder, room 410, History Dept. (p.schroeder@ucl.ac.uk)

  • Modern History: Dr Adam Smith, room 409, History Dept. (a.i.p.smith@ucl.ac.uk)


Attendance at all lectures is compulsory. A register will be passed round at each lecture, and a signature on this register is the only acceptable evidence of attendance. If you cannot attend a lecture for medical or other valid reasons, please inform Britta Schilling in the Academic Office immediately (in advance of the class if at all possible). She may be reached at b.schilling@ucl.ac.uk or 020 7679 7124.

The absolute minimum attendance requirement for this course is 85%, which means that even students with valid reasons for absence will not be allowed to miss more than 6 of the 40 lectures (3 of the 20 lectures for students taking HIST1004). Students who fail to attend satisfactorily will be de-registered from the course. Anyone who misses two lectures without (valid) explanation will be required to see the Departmental Tutor.


Assessment of this course comprises two elements: four 30-minute in-class tests (two for HIST1004), sat at the end of each ten lecture block (altogether worth 50%); and one 90-minute (60 minute for HIST1004) prior disclosure examination in the summer term only (also worth 50%). In each in-class test students will be required to write a historical commentary under examination conditions on one of the passages (‘gobbets’) discussed in the lectures. In the examination in the summer students will be required, under supervised and timed conditions, to write an essay question chosen from a list disclosed in advance (see below). In order to pass the course, students must pass both the gobbet and essay elements of assessment.

Prior disclosure examination questions

Please choose from one of the questions below the topic of your timed examination essay in the summer term. In writing this essay students registered for HIST1001 will be expected to use material from at least three of the four periods (Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern), students registered for HIST1004 material from both periods (Ancient and Medieval). Do your background reading and take notes in lectures with these questions in mind.

  1. What are 'empires' and how have they changed through time?

  2. In what circumstances do ethnic and/or linguistic identities become important?

  3. How have political leaders sought to legitimise their power?

  4. Is there a relationship between the economic base of a society and its political structure?

  5. Is it possible to separate religion and politics?

  6. Has the Lecture Core Course been simply a history of 'dead white men'?

  7. Where have new ideas come from and how have they spread?

  8. Account for the rise and fall of 'great powers'.

  9. How have the meanings of freedom and slavery changed through time?

  10. Analyse the genesis of representative government.

  11. Explain the role of universities in European Culture.

  12. Is there Nationalism before Industrialisation?

  13. How far and how has Europe been held together by institutions?

  14. Is ‘Europe’ useful as a conceptual tool for historians?

  15. 'Inessentials aside, the history of Europe is the history of the West’. Discuss.

  16. 'Disjuncture, rather than continuity, characterises the history of marriage.' Discuss.

  17. 'Common Law is the principle common factor in the institutional history of English-speaking regions.' Discuss

  18. How have the concepts of subject and citizen been understood?

  19. Discuss the concept of monarchy.

  20. Write a review article discussing any three highly regarded general historical books. You must select books that enable you to discuss at least three of the following periods: ancient, medieval, early modern, modern.


Students are expected to spend about 6 hours a week reading in preparation for this course. A bibliography is provided for each section and each lecture, including some recommended short textbooks. The ‘gobbet’ questions will test your understanding and knowledge of the sources discussed in class, and the more broadly themed essay questions, your understanding and knowledge of the textbooks: to do well on either type of assessment, you will need to read a substantial part of the bibliography; it is not enough to rely on lecture notes!

Learning Support – online and on shelf

Supplementary materials for the lectures are made available online in UCLs ‘Virtual Learning Environment’, known as Moodle. You can log in to Moodle using your UCL userid and password at www.ucl.ac.uk/moodle. The ‘enrolment key’ (password) for this course is ‘pizza’. To get books and consult reference works, remember to use the University of London’s Senate House Libraries as well as UCL. Libraries such as the British Library or the School of Oriental and African Studies (for the ancient near east), Institute of Classical Studies (for Greece and Rome), and Institute of Historical Research (for medieval to modern) are a fall-back when you cannot find a book in the SHL or UCL. A basic orientation to the material covered by the entire course can be found in a handy (if very superficial form) in F. Fernández-Armesto, The World: A History (International edition, Pearson Education, 2011).

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