josefnicholson
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Yo, so I’m starting an Ancient History degree in September this year and just wanted some advice on what to read before I go? I just want to be as prepared as other starting as I have no classical education prior to my arrival.
Thanks
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schnauz
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(Original post by josefnicholson)
Yo, so I’m starting an Ancient History degree in September this year and just wanted some advice on what to read before I go? I just want to be as prepared as other starting as I have no classical education prior to my arrival.
Thanks
Anything by Peter Jones is easygoing but informative. If you’re planning to do Latin or Greek, his language guides are also good to get started on.

You could also watch DVDs of modern adaptations of Greek plays. I recommend Euripides.
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josefnicholson
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(Original post by schnauz)
Anything by Peter Jones is easygoing but informative. If you’re planning to do Latin or Greek, his language guides are also good to get started on.

You could also watch DVDs of modern adaptations of Greek plays. I recommend Euripides.
Thank you !
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artful_lounger
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Are you taking any classical language(s)? If so it might be worth doing a little preliminary work on those over the summer (the department will probably tell you if you should though, and may be able to make recommendations otherwise; for ancient Greek at least it might be worth learning the alphabet since it's different). The Greek/Latin to GCSE books by John Taylor (et al) seem quite commonly used for both degree level study from scratch as well as preparation for GCSEs, so could be worth starting on (?) if you can find them in your local library or get a cheap copy, maybe. You could also/instead attend a summer school (e.g. the JACT one) in the/a language(s) if you are going to be taking one, possibly.

However unless the uni contacts you to provide some required (or recommended) reading or preparatory work for the summer period, it's really just anything you are interested in. You could read some of the commonly studied texts (literary or historical, or possibly philosophical if you wanted) in translation, to whet your appetite. If you can, visit some museums to see if any of the material culture from some specific period or region strikes you, and then use that as a starting point to look a bit further into that period (or region).

You don't have to restrict yourself to just the historical texts and you could look at the literature and/or philosophy of the period, and maybe secondary writing on the archaeology/art history/material & visual culture of the period/region to provide more cultural context for the history side of things (and vice versa!). Obviously though if you're more focused on the ancient history aspect then you may be less interested in the literary works (although these can provide context for historical reading).
Last edited by artful_lounger; 1 year ago
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josefnicholson
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Hi yes I will be taking both! Thank you so much for such a comprehensive response and I will certainly search for the starters books you mentioned - I unfortunately have no prior knowledge of either language. I do need to go visir the British Museum over the summer! I still can’t believe I haven’t been there, and as you said it seems as a fantastic way to spark more specific interest. Thank you so much !
(Original post by artful_lounger)
Are you taking any classical language(s)? If so it might be worth doing a little preliminary work on those over the summer (the department will probably tell you if you should though, and may be able to make recommendations otherwise; for ancient Greek at least it might be worth learning the alphabet since it's different). The Greek/Latin to GCSE books by John Taylor (et al) seem quite commonly used for both degree level study from scratch as well as preparation for GCSEs, so could be worth starting on (?) if you can find them in your local library or get a cheap copy, maybe. You could also/instead attend a summer school (e.g. the JACT one) in the/a language(s) if you are going to be taking one, possibly.

However unless the uni contacts you to provide some required (or recommended) reading or preparatory work for the summer period, it's really just anything you are interested in. You could read some of the commonly studied texts (literary or historical, or possibly philosophical if you wanted) in translation, to whet your appetite. If you can, visit some museums to see if any of the material culture from some specific period or region strikes you, and then use that as a starting point to look a bit further into that period (or region).

You don't have to restrict yourself to just the historical texts and you could look at the literature and/or philosophy of the period, and maybe secondary writing on the archaeology/art history/material & visual culture of the period/region to provide more cultural context for the history side of things (and vice versa!). Obviously though if you're more focused on the ancient history aspect then you may be less interested in the literary works (although these can provide context for historical reading).
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by josefnicholson)
Hi yes I will be taking both! Thank you so much for such a comprehensive response and I will certainly search for the starters books you mentioned - I unfortunately have no prior knowledge of either language. I do need to go visir the British Museum over the summer! I still can’t believe I haven’t been there, and as you said it seems as a fantastic way to spark more specific interest. Thank you so much !
Caveat emptor, I have not used those (or any, that I know the name of...I don't know what the Latin book we used in Latin club at school was called) language texts, I just noted them as they seem to crop up a lot as resources used by unis (and schools). The Reading Latin books by JACT (by Peter Jones as mentioned above) are apparently good, but the corresponding Reading Greek books published by the same seem universally reviled. So do have a look around online at reviews and opinions on them (but don't get too hung up on those, just bear them in mind...especially if you would be spending your own money on something! I'd suggest trying libraries in the first instance though).

If you have any local museums or history/archaeology associations etc, they might also have some stuff of interest relating to e.g. Roman Britain as well. If you do visit London, the V&A might also have some classical era content of interest, and UCL might have some relevant museums (such as the Petrie Museum of Egyptology, which may have some content from periods where Egypt had more extensive relations with Greece and/or Rome).
Last edited by artful_lounger; 1 year ago
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