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Ancient History

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Portraits of the Middle Ages and Renaissance: The Life and Achievements of 6 Outstanding Personalities

The Middle Ages and Renaissance saw profound and glorious developments in literature, art and music. This course examines the life and achievement of six outstanding figures of the period: Hildegard of Bingen (writer, composer mystic), Thomas Becket (clerk, chancellor, archbishop and saint), Geoffrey Chaucer (poet and diplomat), Leonardo da Vinci (... [More]

The Mycenaeans: Bronze Age Ancestors of the Ancient Greeks

The Mycenaeans – the heroes of Greek mythology – created a rich and complex civilisation. Archaeology has revealed many of their monuments, including the palaces which were the centres of artistic, economic and political life. Gain a broad outline of Mycenaean culture, from the Mycenaeans' arrival in Greece to the final collapse of their... [More]

Alexander the Great

The mystique of Alexander the Great is timeless. Ideas and images about this young, handsome, Macedonian have haunted historians from both East and West for over 2000 years. Why is this so? What has been the ongoing significance of this short, violent life? During this course we will seek to discover what if any, were his lasting accomplishments.... [More]

The Sacred Way: Women's Mysteries In The Ancient World

This course explores the lives of women in ancient times through their religious beliefs and rituals, many of which have survived to the present day. It examines the close association of religion with fertility and reveals that religion was often the means by which women could realize their talents and express their deepest needs, in addition to... [More]

Ancient and Medieval Culture in South Italy and Sicily

The ancient and medieval culture of Southern Italy and Sicily was one of the most colourful and continuously creative in history, lasting for a good 2000 years. The authors present a course of historical narrative interwoven with surveys of the cultural achievement in all fields of endeavour, from poetry, art and craft, to science and philosophy,... [More]

The Fall of the Roman Empire and the Birth of Europe

For over 400 years, Germanic barbarians roamed across Western Europe and broke up the decrepit Roman Empire. In these convulsions, new nations were born and Christianity began its ascent as the dominant religious power. We follow the tracks of the major tribes and the outstanding personalities, down to Charlemagne and the idea of a new Empire being... [More]

Life and Literature in the Roman World: From Cicero to Prudentius

The literature of Ancient Rome has had an enduring influence on Western Civilization. This course focuses on twelve outstanding Roman writers, from the first century BC to the fourth century AD: Cicero, Caesar, Catullus, Sallust, Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, Ovid, Petronius, Tacitus, Pliny and Prudentius. Looking through the eyes of politicians,... [More]