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The body in antiquity

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This free course, The body in antiquity, will introduce you to the concept of the body in Greek and Roman civilisation. In recent years, the body has become a steadily growing field in historical scholarship, and Classical Studies is no exception. It is an aspect of the ancient world that can be explored through a whole host of different types of evidence: art, literature and archaeological artefacts to name but a few. The way that people fulfil their basic bodily needs and engage in their daily activities is embedded in the social world around them. The body is a subject that can reveal fascinating aspects of both Greek and Roman culture it will help you to better understand the diversity of ancient civilisation.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand what makes the study of the ancient body important for our understanding of ancient society
  • understand the meaning and significance of key theoretical approaches to bodies (‘habitus’, ‘cultural scripts’)
  • understand the central role of specific cultural circumstances in the way human societies view and treat the body
  • display knowledge of some diverging ancient and modern approaches to the body.

First Published: 11/05/2015

Updated: 22/05/2019

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