2 How to explore the Classical world
It’s time to get a little closer to our topic: the Classical world. You will start off with an activity in the format used throughout the Open University course from which this OpenLearn course is derived.
Although some of what is noted in the attached video footage is only dealt with in detail within the OU course, viewing it should prepare you for your work in this course. It should also whet your appetite for further studies in this fascinating area!
Watch the video clips below.
Click below to view part 1 of the course introduction.
Click below to view part 2 of the course introduction.
The video introduction should have spoken for itself, but it’s worth drawing out a couple of general points that have come up (both relating to the theme of the past in the present):
The video brings out what you were probably already aware of: the remains of the Classical world are substantial and varied. They are to be found in different parts of the modern world. The remains also come from a range of periods, spanning well over a thousand years. Evidence from the Classical world takes many different forms: stones, bones, words, images and ideas, to name just a few. We are rather fortunate in this respect; anyone wishing to explore the Classical world is almost spoilt for choice. This variety will be discussed further in the next section.
Then there is the challenge of moving from the present day to what the Classical world may have been like back then. The Parthenon has survived up to the present day, but it is partly in ruins now, and is a tourist attraction rather than a place of worship. How do we get from there to the society that built it? This move from the Classical world that endures today, to the Classical world that once was, is one you will have to make throughout this course. Section 2.2 will lay the foundations by discussing the sources of evidence for the Classical world that we have at our disposal.