Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.


Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Sean Corner


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 710

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26546

Office Hours: MW 11.30-12.30

Course Objectives:

We will survey the history of ancient Greece and Rome from the Bronze Age (c.1500 BCE) to the fall of Rome (476 CE), examining the course of military and political events and the development of culture and society.  We will also consider the evidence from which we reconstruct this history: what kinds of evidence (literary, archaeological, etc.) exist and the problems and possibilities of its interpretation.  In addition to gaining knowledge of the history of ancient Greece and Rome and learning to assess and interpret evidence, you will, over the course of a series of assignments, gain skills in library research and academic writing.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


R.W. Winks and S.P. Mattern-Parkes, The Ancient Mediterranean World (Oxford, 2004) (This is sold with Classics: A Very Short Introduction, which is not used in the course, but comes free with the textbook)

C. Eilers and S. Corner, Readings in Ancient History (Custom Courseware)



D. Hacker and N. Somers, A Pocket Style Manual: sixth edition (Bedford/St. Martin’s,



Readings from the textbook (Winks and Mattern-Parkes) are listed in the course schedule below, assigned in preparation for lecture.  Note for reference throughout the course: lists of dates on pp. 56 and 120 and maps on pp. 60-61, 104, and 148.

Readings for each tutorial are contained in the Readings in Ancient History courseware. The materials for the assignments, including the essay, will be posted on Avenue.

The style manual (containing guidance on grammar, good style, and proper citation) is not required, but will be useful to you for reference when writing the essay for this class and throughout your university career.

Method of Assessment:

The instructor will give two lectures a week.  In addition to these lectures, students will attend a tutorial, led by a teaching assistant, once a week.  It is absolutely necessary that you attend tutorials as well as lectures, having done all preparatory reading.  15% of your final grade will be based on attendance of and participation in tutorials, in addition to which a significant portion of the final exam will be devoted to material covered only in the tutorials.

In preparation for each tutorial (except Academic Writing), you are required to take an online quiz (on Avenue), consisting of questions about the tutorial readings.  You will be able to complete the quiz up to one hour before the time of your tutorial but not thereafter.

In the first part of the term, you will write three small assignments.  Instructions and materials for the assignments will be posted on Avenue.

In the second part of the term, you will write an essay of 6-8 typed, double-spaced pages.  The essay is worth 20% of your final mark and your grade will depend on its clarity and quality as a written argument as well as on the information and ideas it contains.  It should develop one central argument, set out in your introduction (thesis statement).  This argument should be developed clearly and consistently in the body of the paper.  Each paragraph should deal with one main claim or idea and each step of the argument should build logically to the next.  Your argument should be rooted in analysis of the primary sources (the ancient evidence) and engagement with contemporary scholarship (secondary sources).  Remember, sources don’t speak for themselves.  If you tell us something about a source you should explain what the significance of this is.  Any quotation or reference to a source (primary or secondary) must be accompanied by citation.  Any factual claim should be supported by citation of a source unless it is general knowledge (lectures can be considered general knowledge in this case) and similarly, unless it is general knowledge, you must acknowledge by citation the source from which you take any idea.  Your essay must include a bibliography listing all works cited.  Not to cite your sources is to commit plagiarism and will result in a failing grade.

Instructions and materials for the essay will be posted on Avenue.

The final exam, which the registrar will schedule during the examination period, will be based on the material covered throughout the course, including in tutorials.



Passage for comment exercise 10%

Academic writing exercise 10%

Library exercise 10%

Essay 20%

Quizzes 10% (1% each)

Tutorial participation 15%

Final exam 25%


Due dates may be found in the course schedule below.

Assignments will receive a letter grade based on the grading system outlined in the current Undergraduate Calendar.  Late assignments will be penalized by a deduction of one-third of a letter grade per day that it is late: that is, a B becomes a B- if one day late, a C+ if two days late, a C if three days late, etc.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:






Each week (except as noted below), an online quiz is to be completed on Avenue no later than 1 hour before your tutorial.


Mon. Jan. 5



No tutorial (and therefore no quiz)


Wed. Jan. 7

Aegean Bronze Age: read Winks pp. 1-53



Mon. Jan. 12

Dark Age: read Winks pp. 54-74


Greece in the Heroic & Dark Ages (quiz)

Wed. Jan. 14

Archaic Age



Mon. Jan. 19



Tyranny, Oligarchy, Democracy (quiz)


Wed. Jan. 21


Sixth-century Athens


Mon. Jan. 26

Persian Wars: read Winks pp. 74-89



Athens & Sparta (quiz)

Passage for Comment assignment due in tutorial


Wed. Jan. 28




Mon. Feb. 2

Peloponnesian War


The Peloponnesian War (quiz)

Wed. Feb. 4

Fourth-century Greece: read Winks pp. 89-101



Mon. Feb. 9

The Rise of Macedon


Academic Writing (no quiz)

Academic Writing assignment due in tutorial


Wed. Feb. 11




Reading Week




Mon. Feb. 23


The Hellenistic World: read Winks pp. 101-117


The Hellenistic World (quiz)

Library assignment due in tutorial


Wed. Feb. 25


The Hellenistic World 2



Mon. Mar. 2

Early Rome: read Winks pp. 118-133

Roman Expansion (quiz)



Wed. Mar. 4

Roman Expansion



Mon. Mar. 9

The Late Republic 1: read Winks 133-145


The Gracchi (quiz)


Wed. Mar. 11

The Late Republic 2



Mon. Mar. 16

The Civil Wars


The Augustan Reorganization (quiz)


Wed. Mar. 18

The Julio-Claudians 1: read Winks pp. 145-177



Mon. Mar. 23

The Julio-Claudians 2

Essay due in lecture


The Julio-Claudians (quiz)


Wed. Mar. 25

The Flavians & ‘Antonines’



Mon. Mar. 30

The Third-century Crisis: read Winks pp. 177-195


Roman Religion (quiz)


Wed. Apr. 1

The Tetrarchy: read Winks pp. 195-218



Mon. Apr. 6

The Fall of the Western Empire




Wed. Apr. 8

Discussion of Final Exam