ATS3350 - From Alexander to Kleopatra: The rise and fall of the Hellenistic world - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Centre for Ancient Cultures

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Andrew Connor


Dr Andrew Connor

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.




Alexander the Great expanded Macedonia from a small north Aegean kingdom to a huge territory stretching from the Danube to the Himalayas. After Alexander's death, that empire disintegrated into a series of warring kingdoms, initially ruled by Alexander's generals. Egypt, ruled by Ptolemy and his successors, became the centre of one of the most enduring of these Hellenistic kingdoms, lasting for nearly three centuries until the reign of Kleopatra VII, who struggled in vain to preserve her kingdom in the face of Roman expansion. This unit focuses on the world created by Alexander and the Ptolemies. Themes include the nature of Alexander's rule and that of the Ptolemies, the heterogeneous culture that developed as a result of Greco-Macedonian occupation, the problems faced by Kleopatra and her Ptolemaic predecessors with the growing threat of Roman power, the rivalry between and among ruling dynasties, and the ways in which the indigenous Egyptian culture flourished and adapted to the profound changes it experienced. This unit analyses archaeological, literary, and documentary sources to provide an interdisciplinary study of a time of unprecedented change in the ancient world.


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. discuss the nature of the rise of the Macedonian kingdom under Philip II and Alexander the Great, and the subsequent wars of succession;
  2. explain the political situation in the eastern Mediterranean region from the late fourth century BCE to the first century CE;
  3. analyse the literary, intellectual, and political culture emerging across the "Hellenistic" world;
  4. evaluate the complex and changing nature of Egyptian culture as a result of the introduction of Hellenism and the development of the Ptolemaic state;
  5. critically appraise ancient sources and modern scholarship and combine a variety of types of evidence in the analysis of ancient cultures;
  6. use independent and group research skills to prepare and present a group project and an individual research project.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study