Underworld and Afterlife

Subject ANCW30011 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 29 hours: A 1.5-hour lecture per week for 12 weeks and eleven 1-hour tutorials scheduled across the semester
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Assoc Prof Parshia Lee-Stecum


Email: ppls@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

The journey to the underworld, the existence of an afterlife, the survival of the bereaved, the mummification of the dead, the sacrifice of virgins, communicating with ghosts - the ancient world blossomed with myths and rituals associated with all these things. This subject focuses on these topics in the literature and material culture of antiquity, including the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer, Greek tragedy, Roman epic, epitaphs commemorating the deceased, and archaeological evidence from funerary and other ritual contexts. On completion of this subject students should have an understanding of ancient myths and death-rituals, have assessed critically the relevant literary and material sources, and have learned the major scholarly approaches to death, bereavement and the afterlife in the ancient world.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • have acquired an understanding of the myths and rituals dealt with in the subject, have assessed critically the relevant literary and material evidence discussed;
  • have shown an understanding of the major and scholarly approaches to the subject matter treated in the subject.
  • A 500 word document analysis due in week 5 (15%)
  • A 2000 word research essay due in week 8 (45%)
  • A 1500 word take home examination due during the end of semester examination period (40%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

The Egyptian Book of the Dead, trans R Faulkner (Chronicle Books, 2nd ed)

The Epic of Gilgamesh, trans A George (Penguin Classics)

Euripides, Orestes and Other Plays, trans P Vellacott (Penguin Classics)

Subject readings will be available online

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • be skilled in critical thinking and analysis.
  • possess effective written communication skills.
  • have an understanding of social, ethical and cultural context.

Links to further information: http://shaps.unimelb.edu.au/classics-archaeology
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Ancient Greek
Ancient World Studies
Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Major
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Classical Studies and Archaeology
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Classical Studies and Archaeology
Related Breadth Track(s): Ancient Egypt and the Near East

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