Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


Along with Christianity, the legacy of ancient Greece and Rome was inescapable in Europe and her New World colonies from the end of the Roman Empire until the French Revolution. Referring to the influence and prestige of the Classics, a medieval commentator said that the thinkers of his period were "dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants". Medieval and early modern writers, artists and intellectuals looked back to Greek and Roman figures, such as Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Ovid, Seneca and Boethius, for inspiration and guidance. Yet while venerating the classical past, they continually transformed it to suit new purposes, creating new forms of literature, art and thought out of the old materials. A sound and wide-ranging understanding of medieval and early modern Europe's inheritance from the classical tradition of Greece and Rome, and of its mediations and transformations of that tradition, is central for more advanced (Level 3) study of medieval and early modern literature (including drama), art, culture and intellectual history. This unit introduces students to the main strands of classical tradition and transformation in Europe from 500 to 1800. Through study of this material, students develop understanding of long-term continuities in European culture. They also learn of the significant cultural changes that occurred in Europe through new appropriations, interpretations, translations and rediscoveries of classical material in the medieval and early modern periods.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) understand, describe and analyse significant elements of continuity and change in Western Europe's development of its inheritance from the Classical tradition of Greece and Rome over the period from 500 to 1800; (2) identify key periods of influence of Classical culture in the medieval and early modern periods (e.g. Carolingian, twelfth-century Elizabethan, Italian Renaissance, Baroque, French Neo-classicism); (3) understand and appreciate central characteristics of medieval and early modern reappropriation, reshaping and reinterpretation of classical materials; (4) read and interpret original medieval and early modern literature, documents and artworks in relation to their influence from and transformation of major classical traditions; (5) display familiarity with the major disciplinary approaches (scholarship, theories and methodologies) that underpin the study of medieval and early modern texts and artworks, and their interpretation in the context of the classical tradition; and (6) develop clear and scholarly interpretations from independent research and analysis, using the appropriate discourse conventions of written and oral forms.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) two written assessments—a critical review (25 per cent) and a longer research essay (45 per cent) and (2) tutorial and workshop participation (30 per cent). Participation is assessed on an ongoing basis during the semester based upon the student's engagement with the tutorial/workshops. It is assessed according to quality of preparation, level of contribution to group discussion, and critical engagement with the readings, as well as the student's academic development throughout the semester. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Andrew Lynch
Unit rules
ENGL1001 Journeys: Texts Across Place and Time
or ENGL1114 Romance: Narratives of Imagination
or HIST1001 Old Worlds and New Empires
or HIST1101 Old Worlds and New Empires
or VISA1000 Great Moments in Art
Advisable prior study
units from Classics and Ancient History (including Latin
or Greek) complement this unit very well, as do studies in Art History, European Studies, History
or English, but there are no prerequisites beyond those listed above
Contact hours
lectures: 11 x 1 hour
tutorials: 10 x 1.5 hours
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.