CLAS 3026 - Afterlife and Underworld in Antiquity
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018
General Course Information
Course Code CLAS 3026 Course Afterlife and Underworld in Antiquity Coordinating Unit Classics Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 3 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Prerequisites At least 6 units of Level II undergraduate study Incompatible CLAS 2031 Course Description In this course we study the myths and rituals dealing with the process of death and the passage to the afterlife from Pharaonic 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 Coordinator: Professor Han Baltussen
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes1. 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) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1,2,3,4,5 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
1,2,4 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
4 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
1,4,5 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
6 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
Required ResourcesCourse Reader. Online resources.
Recommended ResourcesTextbook (e-book on library catalogue)
Almond, P.C. (2016) Afterlife: A History of Life after Death (London, England; New York: I.B.Tauris)
Recommended Background Readings that can be found in the BSL include:
Bernstein, A.E. (1993) The Formation of Hell: Death and Retribution in the Ancient and early Christian Worlds.
Garland, R. (1985 or later edn) The Greek Way of Death.
Hope, V. M. (2009) Roman Death: The Dying and the Dead in Ancient Rome.
Vermeulen, E. (1979) Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry.
Online LearningDocumentaries and film materials online; MyUni/Blackboard
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesWorkload
Load per week Total per semester 1x1 hour lectures --> 12 hours 1x2 hour seminar --> 22 hours 6 hours reading --> 60 hours 3.5 hours writing --> 42 hours 2 hours revision --> 20 hours TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours
film & documentary
No information currently available.
Learning Activities Summary
Theme section Topics Details Thanatology (Lecture 1) Defining modern approach to death What is thanatology? Egypt, Mesopotamia “The Resurrection machine”; mythology Pyramids; pursuit of immortality (Gilgamesh) Greece Epic & Comedy; mythology; philosophy Homer; Aristophanes; shamans; Persephone;
Tartarus ; Plato & Epicurus
Rome Gladiators; graves; necropoleis;
inter-cultural contact (Jews)
Virgil; Apuleius; funerals Christianity Resurrection; immortality; the body Martyrs; saints; metaphors of the physical body Film excerpts screening (weeks 5, 9) Descent (katabasis) in modern film
(example of analysis)
(examples only, may change) Fellowship of the Ring;
Harry Potter; Alice in Wonderland; Il Fauno
Documentary (week 3) Artistic representations of death
across cultures and time
“Images of Death” (N. Spivey, BBC)
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome Seminar presentation & lead discussion Formative and summative Individual date (by chosen topic) 10% 2, 3, 4, 5 Reflective summaries on discussion Formative and summative Wk 2-6 10% 1, 3, 4 Research paper Formative and summative Individual date (by chosen topic) 20% 2,4 Cinematic essay on descents Summative Wk 12 20% 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 Written exam OR Academic Journal Summative Formal exam period (AJ week 13) 40% 1,2,3,4,5,6
The workload is calculated as a semester load according to university policy. The requirements for the Academic Journal will be explained in the Course Guide.
No information currently available.
No information currently available.
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.
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