Preliminary Examination in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History

A

The subjects of the examination shall be under the supervision of the Board of the Faculty of Classics.

B

[For students starting before MT 2015: Every candidate shall offer four papers [of three hours each] as follows:

  • I. Aristocracy and democracy in the Greek world, 550-450 BC

    The paper studies the history and archaeology of the changing culture of the Greek polis states between the aristocracies in the later sixth century and the emergence of the new demos culture in the first half of the fifth century. Areas of emphasis will include: aristocracy, tyranny, and the history of the interacting archaic states; Achaemenids and the Greek collision with Persia; competing models of social and political culture after the Persian invasion; the archaeology of sanctuaries and cities; and the visual revolution in art and representation.

  • II. Republic to Empire: Rome, 50 BC to AD 50

    The paper studies the impact of the first emperors on the history and archaeology of Rome and its subject states in the period from Late Republic to Early Empire. Areas of emphasis will include: Roman political culture from the Republican war-lords to Augustan princeps ; emperor, senate, and the evolving administration; the Julio-Claudian dynasty and court culture: wallpainting, marbles, gardens and suburban parks; municipal culture: houses, tombs, and freedman art; land and countryside: estates, vici, and centuriated settlement; manufacture, trade, and natural resources; the archaeology of the frontier armies; traditional religion and emperor cult.

  • III, IV. Two papers from the following groups, provided that not more than one paper may be chosen from any one group:

    • A. Special subjects in archaeology:

      • 1. Homeric archaeology and early Greece, 1550-700 BC

        Evidence on the composition and history of the poems provided by extant archaeological remains, with special emphasis on burial practices, architecture, metals, and the world outside the Aegean. An overall knowledge will be required of the archaeological evidence for the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age of the Aegean from 1550 BC to 700 BC. The examination will consist of one picture question and three essay questions.

      • 2. Greek vases

        The study of the general history of Greek decorated pottery from c.800 bc to c.300 bc, including study of the Attic black-figure and red-figure styles and of South Italian Greek vase painting. Knowledge will be required of the techniques used in making Greek pottery and in drawing on vases, also of the ancient names for vases and the shapes to which they refer. Candidates should in addition study the subjects of the paintings and their treatment by painters as compared with their treatment by writers and should be familiar with actual vases, for example those in the Ashmolean Museum. The examination will consist of one picture question and three essay questions.

      • 3. Greek sculpture, c.600-300 BC

        The major monuments of archaic and classical Greek sculpture—their context and purpose as well as their subjects, styles, and techniques. Candidates will be expected to show some knowledge of the external documentary evidence, such as literary and epigraphic texts, on which the framework of the subject depends, and to be acquainted with the major sculptures of the period represented in the Ashmolean Cast Gallery. The examination will consist of one picture question and three essay questions.

      • 4. Roman architecture

        The subject comprises the study of Roman architecture from the Republic to the Tetrarchy in Italy and in the provinces, looking at public buildings, private housing, and imperial palaces. Particular attention is paid to developments in building materials and techniques, the evolution of architectural styles and ideas, and the ways in which different provinces show variations on a common theme as Roman influences interacted with local culture. The examination will consist of one picture question and three essay questions.

    • B. Special subjects in Ancient History:

      Note: All texts are studied in translation (see Course Handbook for details of the prescribed translation).

      • 1. Thucydides and the west

        The prescribed text is Thucydides VI and VII. Compulsory passages for comment will be set from these books (from S. Lattimore (ed), The Peloponnesian War (Indianapolis, Hackett, 1998). Candidates will also be expected to be familiar with Plutarch, Nicias.

      • 2. Aristophanes' political comedy

        The prescribed plays are Knights, Wasps and Lysistrata. Compulsory passages for comment will be set from Wasps and Knights. Candidates will also be expected to be familiar with Lysistrata and the 'Old Oligarch '.

      • 3. Cicero and Catiline

        The prescribed texts are Sallust, Catiline: Cicero, In Catilinam I-IV, Pro Sulla ; Asconius, In orationem in toga candida (in Asconius, Commentaries on Five Speeches of Cicero, ed. S. Squires, Bristol Classical Press, 1990). Compulsory passages for comment will be set from these.

      • 4. Tacitus and Tiberius

        The prescribed text is Tacitus, Annals I and III. Compulsory passages for comment will be set from these books (see Course Handbook for details of the prescribed text). Candidates will also be expected to be familiar with Annals II and IV-VI.

    • C. Ancient languages:

      • 1. Beginning Ancient Greek

        (This subject is not available to candidates with a qualification in ancient Greek above GCSE-level or equivalent.)

        Candidates will be required to show knowledge of some of the main grammatical structures of ancient Greek and of a small basic vocabulary. The paper will consist of prepared and unprepared translations, with grammatical questions on the prepared texts.

      • 2. Beginning Latin

        (This subject is not available to candidates with a qualification in Latin above GCSE-level or equivalent.)

        Candidates will be required to show knowledge of some of the main grammatical structures of Latin and of a small basic vocabulary. The paper will consist of prepared and unprepared translations, with grammatical questions on the prepared texts.

      • 3. Intermediate Ancient Greek

        (This subject is not available to candidates with a qualification in ancient Greek above AS-level or equivalent.)

        Candidates will be required to show an intermediate level knowledge of Greek grammar and vocabulary. A detailed specification and prescribed texts for the paper will be published in the Classical Archaeology and Ancient History Prelims handbook not later than Monday of Week 0 of the Michaelmas Term preceding the examination.

      • 4. Intermediate Latin

        (This subject is not available to candidates with a qualification in Latin above AS-level or equivalent.)

        Candidates will be required to show an intermediate level knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary (including all syntax and morphology). A detailed specification and prescribed texts for the paper will be published in the Classical Archaeology and Ancient History Prelims handbook not later than Monday of Week 0 of the Michaelmas Term preceding the examination.

      • 5. Advanced Ancient Greek

      • This paper is designed for those with AS or A2 level Greek. Candidates will be expected to show an advanced level of knowledge of Greek grammar and vocabulary (including all syntax and morphology, as laid out in Abbot and Mansfield, Primer of Greek Accidence).

      • There will be one three-hour paper comprising passages for translation from set texts, grammatical questions on the prepared texts and unseen translation. A detailed specification and prescribed texts for the paper will be published in the Classical Archaeology and Ancient History Prelims course handbook not later than Monday of Week 0 of the Michaelmas Term preceding the examination.

      • 6. Advanced Latin

      • This paper is designed for those with AS or A2 level Latin. Candidates will be expected to show an advanced level of knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary (including all syntax and morphology, as laid out in Kennedy’s Revised Latin Primer).

        There will be one three-hour paper comprising passages for translation from set texts, grammatical questions on the prepared texts and unseen translation. A detailed specification and prescribed texts for the paper will be published in the Classical Archaeology and Ancient History Prelims course handbook not later than Monday of Week 0 of the Michaelmas Term preceding the examination.

  • The Examiners may award a distinction to any candidate of special merit who has satisfied the Examiners in all papers at a single examination.

    Candidates who fail one or two of papers I, II, III, and IV above may resit only that subject or subjects at a subsequent examination; candidates who fail three or four papers will be required to resit all four papers at a subsequent examination.]

  • [For students starting from MT 2015: Every candidate shall offer four papers, as follows:

    • I.  Aristocracy and democracy in the Greek world, 550-450 BC

    • II. Republic to Empire: Rome, 50 BC to AD 50

    • III., IV. Two papers chosen from the following groups. No more than one paper may be chosen from each of groups A, B, and C.

      • A. Special subjects in archaeology:

        • 1. Homeric archaeology and early Greece, 1550-700 BC
          2. Greek vases
          3. Greek sculpture, c.600-300 BC
          4. Roman architecture

      • B. Special subjects in Ancient History:

        • 1. Thucydides and the west
          2. Aristophanes' political comedy
          3. Cicero and Catiline
          4. Tacitus and Tiberius

      • C. Ancient languages:

        • 1. Beginning Ancient Greek (not available to candidates with a qualification in ancient Greek above GCSE or equivalent)

        • 2. Beginning Latin (not available to candidates with a qualification in Latin above GCSE or equivalent)

        • 3. Intermediate Ancient Greek (not available to candidates with a qualification in ancient Greek above AS level or equivalent)

        • 4. Intermediate Latin (not available to candidates with a qualification in Latin above AS level or equivalent)

        • 5. Advanced Ancient Greek

        • 6. Advanced Latin

  • Each paper will be assessed by means of a three-hour written examination. Detailed specifications for each paper, including prescribed texts where applicable, will be published in the CAAH Prelims course handbook no later than Monday of Week 0 of Michaelmas Term in the calendar year preceding the examination.

    The Examiners may award a distinction to any candidate of special merit who has satisfied the Examiners in all papers at a single examination.

    Candidates who fail one or two of papers I, II, III, and IV above may resit only that subject or subjects at a subsequent examination; candidates who fail three or four papers will be required to resit all four papers at a subsequent examination.]