Ancient World

Ancient World

Ancient World at Cambridge

There are several Triposes which can involve study of the Ancient World at Cambridge.

In Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, the route provides scope for the study of a wide range of archaeological material from all over the world.  An option to study Egyptology and Assyriology (including the languages), is also offered as part of this course.

In Classics, the study of the Classical (Greek and Roman) Ancient World forms the whole degree. In the first two years, all aspects of these worlds are studied, including languages, literature, history, art and archaeology (including Minoan and Mycenaean archaeology), philosophy and linguistics. In the final year (Part II) students may specialise in one or more of these areas. The flexibility of the Tripos system also allows for students to take Part I Archaeology and Anthropology (in one year) with Part II Classics (in two years) if the interests of such students are primarily in the art, archaeology and history of the Greek and Roman worlds.

In Theology, the study of the Ancient World forms a large part of the degree, with study of one of Greek, Hebrew, Arabic or Sanskrit.

In Modern and Medieval Languages, it is possible to take Latin or Greek with a modern language. The Classical language is taught in the Faculty of Classics along with some other elements of the Classics course, relevant to the specific language being taken.

It is also possible to study some Classical papers in the History and Philosophy Triposes. In both these subjects, some in-house papers concern the Classical World and some optional papers are borrowed from Classics at Part II.


The Ancient World Option at Fitzwilliam College

Several students in the past few years have taken what we at Fitzwilliam call the Ancient World Option. The flexibility of the Tripos system allows for students to take Part I Archaeology (in one year) with Part II Classics (in two years) if the interests of such students are primarily in the art, archaeology and history of the Greek and Roman worlds, and we are keen to encourage this.

Part I Archaeology introduces students to the theory, method and practice of archaeology, as well as the study of archaeological material from all over the world. Other options within the Part I are Egyptology, Assyriology and the study of the associated languages. Students can also choose to do papers in Biological Anthropology and in Social Anthropology. This first year of the degree provides a very good platform for the more in-depth study of Classical archaeology and ancient history in Part II Classics.

The students then switch into Part II Classics (over two years, rather than the usual one year). In the past, students have taken papers , for example, on Minoan and Mycenaean archaeology, the archaeology of the Roman empire, Living in Athens, Roman Religion, the history of the Later Roman Empire and Classical art. Students taking this degree route do four papers and a 10,000 word dissertation over the two years, and many have chosen to incorporate their first year study of Ancient Egypt (for example) into their dissertation topics. In the past, some students have also requested to learn some Ancient Greek so that they can study the Linear B tablets, and the two-year Part II gives the flexibility for such arrangements.

At Fitzwilliam, we encourage this combination of Part I Archaeology and Part II Classics, and it has been proven to work well. To apply for the Fitzwilliam Ancient World Option, apply for Archaeology, but indicate on your application (in the Supplementary Personal Statement in the SAQ) that you intend to change to Part II Classics (Ancient World Option). Contact Dr Sara Owen (admissions@fitz.cam.ac.uk) for further details.