29739 - Social History of the Ancient World (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student will have a sound knowledge of the social history of the ancient world. He can identify the different groups of classical societies, with special attention to the genesis and historical development of the social structure of the ancient world. He can define a research problem relevant for the historical reconstructon and he will be able to identify and use sources of information effectively. He can support accurately his conclusions and he is able communicate effectively in oral and written form.

Course contents

The course is divided in two parts: a first introductory part in which the main methodological problems of the social history of antiquity will be quickly outlined and the types of ancient documentation relevant to the discipline will be reviewed; the second part will be dedicated to the theme Intermediate bodies in ancient society and will therefore dwell on those social groups between the family and the city and were held together by ties of kinship, legal status, economic or religious nature, examining some of these groupings in the Greek and in the roman world as case studies.

The lessons will address the following topics:

  1. Problems and limits of the study of the social history of the ancient world.
  2. The sources for the study of ancient society.
  3. The definition of intermediate bodies and their social function
  4. The intermediate bodies of a family nature: phratry, gens.
  5. Intermediate bodies of a legal nature: metoikoi, incolae
  6. Intermediate bodies of an economic nature: collegia
  7. The intermediate bodies of a religious nature: technitai of Dionysus, Augustales

For attending students the course also includes the writing of a short essay (5-10 pages) on one of the topics dealt with in the lessons or in any case related to the social history of the ancient world, to be agreed with the teacher. The essay must be delivered at least one week before the exam call. The writing of the essay will be set up in a special seminar, which will touch on the following topics:

  1. The general characteristics of a scientific paper.
  2. The retrieval of the modern bibliography.
  3. The retrieval of ancient documentation.
  4. The analysis of the modern bibliography.
  5. The drafting of the paper in written form.

During the seminar we will see in particular which are the tools (both the tools in the traditional paper format and the new digital tools) for a research in the field of the Social History of the ancient world.

Readings/Bibliography

For attending students:

1. About the specific theme of the course: notes of the lessons, which will also be published in the form of slides; specific bibliography will be indicated during the lessons themselves or in individual interviews with the students.

2. For a general overview of the theme of the course, we suggest consulting:

  • G. Alföldy, Storia sociale dell'antica Roma, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1984 (or later editions); the text is available at the library of the Department of History, Culture and Civilisation - Ancient History Section (via Zamboni 38, 2nd floor) under the signatures ESAMI CONS 0070, ESAMI PRES 0010, ESAMI PRES 0010 bis (old edition) and under the signatures ESAMI CONS 0069 and ESAMI PRES 0023 (new edition).
  • F. Gschnitzer, Storia sociale dell'antica Grecia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1988 (or later editions); the text is available in the same library under the signatures ESAMI CONS 0071, ESAMI PRES 0011 and ESAMI PRES 0011a.

This bibliography is useful for a better understanding of the topics that will be dealt with in class, but it will not be the subject of the final examination for attending students.

3. For the editing of the in-depth essay: specific bibliography on the chosen topic, which will also be in the foreign languages most used by the scientific community, and which will be identified by the students themselves, thanks to the bibliographic tools we will discuss in the seminar.

For non attending students, a careful study of:

  • G. Alföldy, Storia sociale dell'antica Roma, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1984 (or later editions); the text is available at the library of the Department of History, Culture and Civilisation - Ancient History Section (via Zamboni 38, 2nd floor) under the signatures ESAMI CONS 0070, ESAMI PRES 0010, ESAMI PRES 0010 bis (old edition) and under the signatures ESAMI CONS 0069 and ESAMI PRES 0023 (new edition).
  • F. Gschnitzer, Storia sociale dell'antica Grecia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1988 (or later editions); the text is available in the same library under the signatures ESAMI CONS 0071, ESAMI PRES 0011 and ESAMI PRES 0011a.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures on the general themes of the social history of the ancient world and the role of intermediate bodies in Greek and Roman society, in which the students will be actively involved, in particular in the reading of the numerous ancient testimonies that will be recalled in the lecture.

Lessons of a seminar nature for the setting up of the essay.

Assessment methods

The assessment, in the traditional form of the oral interview, is intended to verify:

  • For all the students, a good ability to expound in oral form the themes of the social history of the ancient world, in particular the ability to synthesize and logically organize the arguments and the mastery of an appropriate vocabulary.
  • For attending students, an in-depth knowledge of the subject developed in class, the intermediate bodies in ancient society, in the more general framework of the problems of the discipline;
  • For the attending students too, a critical approach to ancient documentation and the interpretations that have been given by modern bibliography;
  • Again for the attending students, the ability to use the main tools (both traditional paper tools and new digital tools) of the research and the ability to display the results of a research in written form; also for the written essay, in addition to the correctness and completeness of the contents, the logical organization of the arguments and the use of a vocabulary and style appropriate to the discipline will be evaluated.
  • For non attending students, a thorough knowledge of the main problems of the social history of the ancient world.

For each of the above criteria, the following scale of evaluation can be proposed, with voting correspondence in thirtieths:

  • Excellent (30 cum laude)
  • Very Good (28-30)
  • Good (25-27)
  • Satisfactory (22-24)
  • Sufficient (18-21)

The assessment of the individual parameters will contribute to the determination of the final grade. In the evaluation of the students attending the lessons, constancy and active participation in the lessons will also be taken into account.

In particular, the exam, which lasts 25-30 minutes, will be held for attending students in general:

  • two questions on as many aspects dealt with in class (based on the notes taken in class and the slides projected in class).
  • a discussion of the essay.

For non attending students the exam, always in the form of an oral interview of about 25-30 minutes, generally includes three questions, trying to cover the object of study in a balanced way:

  • one or two questions on the society of the Greek world (based on F. Gschnitzer, Storia sociale dell’antica Grecia, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1988);
  • one or two questions on the society of the Roman world (based on G. Alföldy, Storia sociale dell'antica Roma, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1984).

Teaching tools

Power Point slides, which will be projected during the lessons and will also be made available on the course website in the platform Insegnamenti on line (https://iol.unibo.it/).

Office hours

See the website of Alessandro Cristofori