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Ancient Egypt: Amarna and the Boy King View details

Ancient Egypt is known for cultural continuity and traditions that endured for three millennia. One such tradition of a polytheistic approach to religion was challenged in the eighteenth dynasty of the New Kingdom. The pharaoh Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten and established a new form of divine kingship based on the sun-disc the Aten to the exclusion of other gods. This monotheistic revolution was accompanied by a radical change in the style and iconography of Egyptian art and the rapid construction of a new capital at el-Amarna. This course explores the rise and fall of the Amarna period which on the death of Akhenaten was followed by a counter-revolution under the reign of his son Tutankhamun. We evaluate Tutankhamun's reign as well as his death, and now famous burial in KV62 within the Valley of the Kings.

Ancient Egypt: Hieroglyphs for Absolute Beginners View details

Since the decipherment of Hieroglyphs in 1822 the discipline of Egyptology has been transformed, we can read papyri, stela, tomb and temple walls and build a real understanding of Pharaonic Egypt. This course aimed at absolute beginners will introduce Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs from first concepts, discussing core concepts and presenting common signs, and supporting the reading of key pieces of information from ancient sources such as kings and gods names. The course will focus on the material from Chapters 1 and 2 of 'How to read Egyptian Hieroglyphs' by Collier and Manley.

Ancient Egypt: Hieroglyphs for False Beginners View details

This is a hieroglyphs and Middle Egyptian course for those with basic-level prior knowledge whether recent or some time ago. The course will consolidate and advance previous elementary study of the language with a combined focus on characters, grammar and short texts. After a review of previous material studied we will read a selection of short extracts of funerary texts centered around the offering formula and additional tomb scenes, broadly covering the material in chapters 2-3 of Collier and Manley "How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs". This is designed as a direct follow-on to 'Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs for Absolute Beginners' but others with a similar basic-level knowledge are welcome to join.

Ancient Egyptian Tombs of the 1st Millennium BC - Wanstead Woodford Branch View details

In this course will explore a range of lesser-known but fascinating tombs mainly from Ancient Egypt's Late Period and Ptolemaic Period in the 1st Millennium BC. Examples will include the tombs of the South Asasif (where the tutor undertakes fieldwork), the tombs of Harwa and Monutemhat from the North Asasif, the tomb of Petosiris in Tuna el-Gebel and the tomb of Siamun in the Western Desert. These contrasting tombs will be contextualized with their historical periods and tomb scenes will be discussed in collaboration with consideration of art style and iconography and where possible material culture.

Ancient Egypt's Golden Empire from Ahmose to Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Tutankhamum View details

The 18th Dynasty of Egypt's New Kingdom represents the apogee of Ancient Egypt. A period of prosperity, empire and building we will explore this important period of ancient Egyptian history considering its art, buildings and tombs. Some of the best-known pharaohs lived in this dynasty including the female pharaoh Hatshepsut, the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten and the boy-king Tutankhamun and we consider their stories and achivements.

Ancient Greek View details

Have you ever wanted to read the earliest history, philosophy, drama or epic of Europe? Perhaps you would like to read the New Testament in its original language? If so, this course will start you on that journey. Ancient Greek was first written down in its current alphabet in the 8th century BC. It achieved immortality through the literature of Athens, the world's first democracy. After the conquests of Alexander the Great, Greek became the lingua franca of the whole of the eastern Mediterranean world, a status it retained once Alexander's empire was incorporated into the Roman Empire. One consequence of this was the use of Greek in the New Testament. Ancient Greek never died - it simply developed through the ages to become the language spoken in Greece today. Be warned - this course will not help you to have conversations on your Greek holidays (you need a course on modern Greek for that) but you will at least be able to read the station signs before your train has departed!

Ancient History View details

Since 2015 the British Government has placed a statutory duty on bodies receiving public funding to implement its Prevent strategy, an attempt to reduce extremism. Extremism is defined as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.” The WEA promotes these values in its promise to be “democratic, equal, inclusive, accessible.” This course aims to explore these values, however defined, in the context of the classical world. Many of these values were first discussed in Europe by ancient Greeks and Romans. Thus we owe to them the idea of democracy. But Athenian democracy was not only radical - it was radically different from anything we would call a democracy now. By looking at the values of the ancient world, we shall deepen our understanding of modern values and challenge ideas of what principles best generate a healthy society.

Angles, Saxons and Vikings View details

A look at life, power and politics between the Romans and the Normans, a period when the north often had a very distinctive history and culture. We will discuss the wider history and impact of the various invaders and look at their influence on culture and politics, particularly of the region north of the Humber. Were the 'Dark Ages' as gloomy as the name suggests? We will consider the legacy of the period and its possible impact on how the North is seen today.

Anglo Saxon and Norman England - Bromley Branch View details

We will address a number of key questions and seek to answer them using a range of historical sources. Firstly can we know what Anglo-Saxon England was like? Amongst much else we will consider Bede, Beowulf and buildings. Next we ask why the last years of Edward the Confessor’s reign caused a succession crisis? This leads to asking what was the nature and impact of the Norman invasion? Clearly we must then ask how William established control? Castles, resistance and rebellion will all be discussed. We will study the nature of royal power through the Feudal System, land ownership and the law.We will also ask what changed? What didn’t? Here we will look at the Nobility, the Church, and intriguingly the Sheriff and the Forest. We will ask questions of the most famous relic of Norman England, the Domesday Book. The most obvious of these are who, why, when, what and where? Lastly we'll finish with William, his wife, his half-brother and his sons – happy ever after?

Anne Bronte - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Winchester Branch View details

This course offers close study of Anne Bronte and her ground-breaking novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Although it was an instant success when published in 1848, it was seen by some as the most shocking of contemporary Victorian novels as it challenged existing social and legal structures. It is now recognised as one of the first sustained feminist novels. Unfortunately, Anne's early death at the age of twenty-eight cut short the early promise of this talented writer. This course gives an opportunity to explore and evaluate the work and the life of, arguably, the least celebrated of the famous Bronte sisters.