Skip to main content

The Invisible Greeks: The Forgotten Lives of an Ancient People

This course is currently unavailable for booking

There are currently no upcoming dates available for this course. Be the first to know when new dates are announced by joining the mailing list.

The study of ancient Greece has a tendency to prioritise stories of conquest and expansion that have largely been derived from the accounts and material evidence left by the Greek male elite.

Yet Greek poleis were centres of diversity. This module seeks to find the voices of the marginalised within ancient Greece and its empire. With a large percentage of ancient evidence descending from the Greek male elite, the module will consider the obstacles that must be navigated in order to access the multifaceted lives of women, slaves, foreigners, the poor and criminals.

This exploration will be framed via an awareness of how modern debate, such as feminism and postcolonial theory, has influenced ancient history as a discipline. Using a variety of sources, the module will ask questions such as: are mythical tales of monstrous women, such as the Medusa, helpful for an understanding of Greek gender ideals?

What were Greek attitudes towards foreigners, and did attitudes change over time? This will lead to the final topic that will consider the exciting new developments within ancient history, such as the study of the disabled and new finds from Troy.

This course is for anyone with an interest in ancient history and the enthusiasm to take that interest further. It operates as part of the Exploring the Past Pathway, and will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and skills that will help you to study other courses on the pathway.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through nine 2-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates. Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Introduction: looking for lost lives in ancient Greece
  • Women in the Classical Period
  • Women in the Hellenistic Period
  • Children
  • Slaves
  • Foreigners
  • The poor and criminals
  • Sex, prostitution and homosexuality
  • New areas of research into life in ancient Greece.

Coursework and assessment

This module will be assessed by two short assignments, comprising around 1500 words in total.

Reading suggestions

  • O. Bobou. Children in the Hellenistic World: statues and representation (Oxford, 2015)
  • B. Goff (ed.). Classics and Colonialism (London, 2005)
  • M. R. Lefkowitz and M. B. Fant. Women’s Life in Greece and Rome: a source book in translation (London, 2005)
  • S. Pomeroy. Families in Classical and Hellenistic Greece: representations and realities (Oxford and New York, 1997)
  • M. L. Rose. The Staff of Oedipus: Transforming Disability in Ancient Greece (Ann Arbor, 2003)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.