CLAS 2031 - Afterlife and Underworld in Antiquity

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

In this course we study the myths and rituals dealing with the process of death and the passage to the afterlife from Pharonic Egypt to Christian Rome, from mummification to resurrection. We review popular ideas, stories and philosophical theories about the afterlife and the nature of the underworld, asking what sort of punishments and rewards applied and whether these notions evolved across time. In the last written assignment some modern cinematic treatments of "journeys to the underworld" (katabases) are also studied.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CLAS 2031
    Course Afterlife and Underworld in Antiquity
    Coordinating Unit Classics
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Prerequisites 12 units of undergraduate study (preferably including one from CLAS 1001, CLAS 1002, CLAS 1003 or CLAS 1004)
    Incompatible CLAS 2020 or CLAS 3020
    Course Description In this course we study the myths and rituals dealing with the process of death and the passage to the afterlife from Pharonic Egypt to Christian Rome, from mummification to resurrection. We review popular ideas, stories and philosophical theories about the afterlife and the nature of the underworld, asking what sort of punishments and rewards applied and whether these notions evolved across time. In the last written assignment some modern cinematic treatments of "journeys to the underworld" (katabases) are also studied.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Han Baltussen

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the origins, nature and evolution of  ideas about the afterlife in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome and early Christianity
    2 Develop a deeper understanding of the importance of specific themes, in particular descents into the underworld as reflected in modern cinematic treatments
    3 Develop a critical understanding of the key questions, interpretations and scholarship concerning the literary and historical evidence for the evolution of ancient ideas about the afterlife
    4 Offer a clear, literate and logical exposition of ideas in independently researched written work, based on suitable primary and secondary sources, reflected in appropriate referencing
    5 Explore, articulate and debate their views in small-group seminars
    6 Relate the development of ancient ideas about the afterlife to modern social, cultural and ethical perspectives which express universal notions concerning the human condition
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3, 4
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 5
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    A course reader with primary and secondary readings will be available from the University's Image and Copy Centre (at cost).
    Recommended Resources
    Useful readings for orientation are:

    A.E. Bernstein, The Formation of Hell. Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds (Cornell Press 1993)
    V. Hope, Roman Death. The Dying and the Dead in Ancient Rome (Continuum 2006)
    K. Hopkins, Death and Renewal (Cambridge 1983)
    Online Learning
    Powerpoints from the lectures will be placed up on MyUni after each lecture has been delivered. Lecture recordings will be available.

    Students are expected to consult the announcements board at least twice a week and must closely read all emails sent via MyUni. The readings for each tutorial topic will be placed on MyUni or directions will be supplied about how to access them. Guidelines to formatting footnotes and bibliography are placed on MyUni. Students are expected to read and consult these.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The format of the course consists of one lecture a week supported by intensive seminars which discuss two topics related to the lecture (and each other).
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    1 x 1-hour lecture (or equivalent) per week 12 hours per semester
    1 x 2-hour tutorial (or equivalent) per week 24 hours per semester
    5 hours reading per week 60 hours per semester
    3.5 hours written work per week 42 hours per semester
    1.5 hours revision per week 18 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester
    NB: some variation is possible for those doing the academic journal (up to 30 minutes/week), but that is compensated by not sitting the exam (2 hours)
    Learning Activities Summary
    Schedule
    Week 1 Overview: Heaven and Hell & Issues in Thanatology
    Week 2 Underworlds in Homer and Virgil
    Week 3 Underworlds in Homer and Virgil continued
    Week 4 Shamans & Underworlds: Orpheus, Heracles, Theseus
    Week 5 Greek philosophers on the afterlife
    Week 6 Aristophanes and Apuleius
    Week 7 Roman Perspectives on the afterlife
    Week 8 Roman Gladiators (doco) / Judaic background to martyrdom
    Week 9 Early Christian views on the afterlife
    Week 10 Screening of film excerpts
    Week 11 Screening: Images of death
    Week 12 Review and Exam tips
    This is subject to change.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome
    5 x tutorial summaries and presentation Formative and Summative 10% 1-6
    1000 word paper Formative and Summative 20% 1-6
    2000 word essay Formative and Summative 30% 1-6
    Exam* Formative and Summative 40% 1-6
    *This may be replaced with a 2500 word academic journal.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The choice between exam and academic journal is up to the student, but it is important to realise that the writing of the journal has to start in week 1. There is an opt-out in week 7-8, when the number of students sitting the exam has to be reported to the exam office. Students who have been writing the journal can at that point go back to sitting the exam by contacting the course coordinator when (s)he requests expressions of interest for exam participation.
    Assessment Detail
    Available on enrolment.
    Submission
    Essays need to be handed in before or at the seminar of your choice. The work requires a signed cover sheet available from the School of Humanities office (it is a legal document related to plagiarism).
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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