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CLAS241 Alexander the Great

A study of the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great, exploring in particular the military, political and social issues of his reign and campaigns.

Alexander the Great was one of the most influential generals in Western history, conquering vast portions of the Mediterranean world and beyond. Yet even now he remains an elusive figure: he was both a founder and a sacker of cities; he spread Greek culture, but also adopted Persian customs and married a foreign princess; he was worshipped as a god, but was also a victim of human vices; he was a remarkable general, yet led his men into a desert where they died by the thousands. This paper explores the achievements and paradoxes of this fascinating historical figure.

Paper title Alexander the Great
Paper code CLAS241
Subject Classical Studies
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $868.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,656.70

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(18 CLAS, GREK or LATN points) or 54 points
CLAS 334
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Paper Structure
Internal Assessment 40%
Suitable for all people interested in history, historiography and ancient personalities
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Associate Professor Pat Wheatley
Teaching Arrangements
This paper consists of two lectures per week and one tutorial per fortnight.
Arrian, Alexander the Great trans. M. Hammond (Oxford World's Classics 2013)

Plutarch, The Age of Alexander trans. I. Scott-Kilvert (Harmondsworth, Penguin 2011)

Quintus Curtius Rufus, the History of Alexander (tr.) J. C. Yardley, with introductions and notes by W. Heckel (Penguin Books, 1984; reprint 2004)

A.B. Bosworth, Conquest and Empire: The Reign of Alexander the Great (Cambridge University Press, 1988, paperback; repr. Canto 1993)
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork, critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • To investigate the nature of ancient history and the methods and sub-disciplines used to analyse it
  • To analyse and understand how Greek and Eastern cultures interacted when brought into confrontation by Alexander's expedition

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 15:00-15:50 9-13, 15-22
Wednesday 15:00-15:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Thursday 11:00-11:50 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21
T2 Thursday 14:00-14:50 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21
T3 Thursday 16:00-16:50 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21