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Tutorial Greek: The Athenian Acropolis - Texts, Terms and Topography



This class can be taken in fulfilment of the requirements of both the MA and the Research MA program in Classics and Ancient Civilizations (track Classics), with differential requirements. Good knowledge of Greek is required (BA in Classics). Some familiarity with ancient historical and archaeological discourse (but no specific prior knowledge on the topic) will be expected.


Crowning glory of the classical world; enduring symbol of Greece, Europe and the West at large; but also a point of scholarly and diplomatic contestation and controversy: the Acropolis of Athens is where the very essence of the ‘classical’ is cast in stone. While the modern world is more than ever engaged with the ‘sacred rock’, its associations and appearance in Antiquity itself are still shrouded in mystery. The citadel is associated with a complex and varied ensemble of Greek texts which will be the focus of this (Research) MA Tutorial Greek.

In this course we will delve deep into, primarily, the textual world of the Acropolis through close and deep reading of a selection of longer and shorter passages which deal with the Acropolis, including Herodotus’ Histories, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and Pausanias’ Periegesis, which allow us to learn more about these texts and authors and will reveal stories and myths related to the famous citadel. We will study several inscriptional texts from the Acropolis that relate to and give rise to linguistic questions. And, by necessity, this course has a strong interdisciplinary flavor: where relevant we will reach out to the archaeological situation of the Acropolis itself to explore the vexed relation of the textual world to the material one.

Our 6 meetings in the first part of the semester will consist of a mixture of lectures and readings of primary and secondary literature, which will be chiefly read and prepared independently. In the October exam week, participants will write a written exam on the course material up until that point counting towards 30% of the final mark.

Participants will then start work on a topic of their own choice related to the course (to be approved by the teacher), about which they will give an oral presentation of 30 minutes in class (20% of the final mark) and write a final essay of 4500-5500 words (50% of final mark), due towards the end of the semester.

The 6 meetings in the second part of the course will consist of the students’ presentations. There will be ample room for discussion and students will be asked to end their presentations with a topic for discussion. Every student will also be asked to prepare a brief response (5 minutes) for one presentation of a fellow student. Depending of the number of participants, further lectures and readings may be given on the topic.

After the course, participants will have a wide and deep understanding of the textual world concerning the Acropolis of Athens, and will be able to relate this knowledge to the actual archaeological monument.

Course objectives

At the end of this seminar, the students will:

  • be familiar with recent and ancient scholarship and original source material on the Acropolis;

  • have the skill to read and assess these sources, and understand them within their cultural context, as demonstrated in written examination;

  • possess knowledge of the history of scholarship concerning the Acropolis;

  • be capable of critical assessment of secondary literature;

  • Oral presentation: presenting clearly and on the basis of arguments the results of the student’s research. Effective use of hand-out, illustrations and/or multi-media techniques;

  • Written presentation: setting out research results effectively, clearly and in a well-structured manner. The student will be capable to demonstrate in writing their grasp of critical issues in recent scholarship, and to test and assess recent scholarly contributions by confronting them with the original source material.

Research MA students: Advanced research skills: independent formulation of complex research question, collecting materials (both primary texts and results of earlier research), analyzing results, constructing arguments, and formulating conclusions.
MA students: Research skills as above, but with fewer materials and more help, as specified in the first session of class.


The timetable is available on the Classics and Ancient Civilizations website.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load 10 ec x 28 hours = 280 hours:

  • Class hours: 14 × 2= 28 hours;

  • Preparation examination: 52 hours;

  • Oral presentation: 40 hours;

  • Abstract: 20 hours;

  • Paper (4500-5500 words): 140 hours.

Assessment method

  • Written examination with essay questions (30%);

  • Oral presentation and response (20%);

  • Paper (50%).


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the overall mark is unsatisfactory, the student can either revise the paper or retake the examination (after consultation with the teacher). There is no resit for the oral presentation and response. If the final mark is sufficient, the examination and paper cannot be retaken.

Exam review

Students will be invited to discuss their paper and their results for this seminar (oral presentation, written examination, paper) individually with the teacher, as soon as the results have been published.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Course material;

  • Announcements;

  • Turning in of assignments.

Reading list

Course material will be made available through Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about registration in uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. J.Z. (Janric) van Rookhuijzen


  • The course will be taught in Dutch or English, depending on the first language of participating students.

  • This seminar is offered for 10 ec. If students have a good reason to take this course for 5 ec, they should contact the lecturer. If the request is approved, the assessment method will be adapted to a 5 ec course load.