00996 - Greek History

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Ravenna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Cultural Heritage (cod. 9076)

Learning outcomes

The course aims to deliver a basic knowledge of Greek history: its topics, development, main issues, and research methodologies.

Upon completion of the course, the student will possess a critical knowledge of the main themes and events (concerning politics, institutions, culture, religion, and economy), as well as of the fundamental methodologies in historical research and source criticism (especially regarding historiography and epigraphy).

Course contents

This is a blended-learning course: 44 hours of class lectures will deal with fundamental notions of Greek history and with the thematic section.

The student will add 16 hours of online study, carried out autonomously and with the assistance of the lecturer, on the institutional Virtuale platform of the course.

Course structure:

Class lectures (44h):

  1. The origins: history and society in archaic and classical Greece: the main events in Greek history between the 8th and the late 4th cent. BC. A chronological and thematic analysis of the politics, ideologies, culture, society, war, and history of the main poleis and protagonists. The political institutions (esp. of Athens and Sparta) will be analyzed within the study of the notions of democracy and oligarchy.
  2. Alexander the Great and the conquest of the world: this thematic section explores the life and deeds of Alexander III of Macedonia (Alexander the Great): through his life, military campaigns, personal power, friends and enemies, the course will outline one of the most famous, influential, and fascinating personalities in history.
  3. The Hellenism: the world after Alexander: the history of Alexander’s empire after his death and the struggles among his successors; the economic and social dimension of the Hellenic world, until the clash with Rome (323-31 a.C.).

    Online activities (16h, Virtuale platform):

  4. Database of Greek historiography: fundamental notions and critical outline of the main authors, themes, and works of the historiographical genre in the Greek world, from its origins in the late archaic period to the Imperial period.


Mandatory readings:

1) One among the following textbooks of Greek history (1a or 1b):

  • 1a) C. Bearzot, Manuale di storia greca, Bologna: Il Mulino, 2015 (3a ed.), chs. 1-4;
  • 1b) M. Bettalli, A.L. D’Agata, A. Magnetto, Storia Greca, Roma: Carocci, 2021 (3a ed.), chs. 1-23;

2) One among the following (2a or 2b):

  • 2a) A.B. Bosworth, Alessandro Magno. L'uomo e il suo impero, Milano: Rizzoli, 2004.
  • 2b) the following 3:
  • Plutarco, Vite Parallele. Alessandro e Cesare (ed. Milano, BUR, collana Classici greci e latini: any edition): only the parts: Introduzione alla Vita di Alessandro; translated text of the Vita di Alessandro and footnotes;
  • In S. Settis (a c. di), I Greci. Storia cultura arte società, vol. 2, Una storia greca, tomo 3, Trasformazioni, Torino: Einaudi, 1998:
    • E. Borza, “La Macedonia di Filippo e i conflitti con le ‘poleis’”, pp. 21-46.
    • A.B. Bosworth, “Alessandro: l’impero universale e le città greche”, pp. 47-80.

3) F. Muccioli, Storia dell’Ellenismo, Bologna: Il Mulino, 2019, parts 1 e 2.

4) Database of Greek historiography (Virtuale platform: https://virtuale.unibo.it/ ).

5) Class notes and texts discussed in class.

Students with specific interests can propose any variation to the bibliography above, as long as it is relevant to the course.

Optional readings (for non-attending students)

In addition to 1), 2), 3), 4) above, students who do not attend classes will be required to study two of the following (or, alternatively, both 2a and 2b plus one of the following):

  • V. Azoulay, Pericle. La democrazia ateniese alla prova di un grand’uomo, Torino: Einaudi, 2017;
  • M. Bettalli, Mercenari. Il mestiere delle armi nel mondo greco antico, Roma: Carocci, 2013, pp. 1-172;
  • L. Braccesi, F. Raviola, La Magna Grecia, Bologna: Il Mulino, 2008 + M. Dreher, La Sicilia antica, Bologna: Il Mulino, 2010;
  • M. Lupi, Sparta. Storia e rappresentazioni di una città greca, Roma: Carocci, 2017.

NB: non-attending students and students from courses attended in previous years are requested to get in touch with the lecturer at least two weeks in advance before signing up for any exam session, stating their selection from the bibliography above.

Teaching methods

This is a blended-learning course: traditional class lectures will be supported by online activities as per following:

  • Class lectures with PowerPoint and handouts (44 hours, compatibly with the University regulations related to the pandemic)
  • Online didactic activities and resources, carried out autonomously by the student and with the assistance of the lecturer, on the institutional e-learning platform of the course (16 hours).

Assessment methods

Normally, the student will be required to answer and discuss three points:

  • 1 question on the archaic/classical period and/or a related historiographer from the database
  • 1 question on the Hellenistic period and/or a related historiographer from the database
  • 1 question on the section on Alexander and/or a related historiographer from the database
  • (for non-attending students, 1 question on the additional readings)

The assessment consists in an oral examination aimed to assess:

  • the basic knowledge of the course programme;
  • the understanding of issues and topics discussed in class;
  • the familiarity with the historical development of the discipline;
  • the ability to set artefacts/issues in their proper context and to discuss them in a critical perspective;
  • the quality of the oral expression and the competence in logical argumentation.

The final evaluation (in fractions of 30) will follow these guidelines:

  • fail: lacking basic knowledge and ability to provide correct interpretations of the course topics and issues.
  • pass: possess of basic knowledge; mostly correct interpretation, but often lacking precision and independent thought.
  • good: average knowledge; correct interpretation, but somewhat lacking precision and independent thought.
  • excellent: above-average knowledge; correct interpretation displaying precision and independent thought. Excellent oral expression.
  • NB: in order to pass the exam, it is required to answer adequately to all 3 questions.

Teaching tools

  • Database of Greek historiography
  • PowerPoints, PDFs of sources, images and maps.

All materials will be made available to the students during the course through the Unibo Virtuale platform.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Matteo Zaccarini


Quality education Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities Partnerships for the goals

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.