Ancient and Classical Worlds Summer Programme

2016 Ancient 200x155 72dpi

9 – 22 July 2017

We are now in the process of planning next summer’s programme. 2017 information will be available in November.The following Information relates to 2016 and will give you a general idea about what we offer.

Programme Director: Dr Jan Parker

This programme offers a rich selection of courses on a range of past cultures and civilisations taught by leading experts. Whether you are drawn by history or architecture, archaeology or literature, warfare or medicine, the programme will allow you an unrivalled chance to immerse yourself in the latest thinking on antiquity.

Academic programme

  • Four special subject courses
    (two per week)
  • Plenary course AE0:
    Discovery and Exploration
  • Evening talks

Special subject courses

You choose two courses per week, each has five sessions. Courses are led by recognised experts from the University and other British universities.

Week 1:

11.15am – 12.45pm

Aa1 - Athens and Sparta: rivals for Greek domination
Aa2 - The ancient and enduring Maya
Aa3 - The Ancient Egyptian Empire: treasures, treaties and conquests
Aa4 - Love and death: Greek and Roman poetry

2.00pm – 3.30pm

Ea1 - Writing history: masters and commanders
Ea2 - An introduction to Ancient Greek philosophy
Ea3 - "Ra has placed the king on his throne forever": Ancient Egyptian religion
Ea4 - From shards to scrolls: how the Old Testament came to be written

Week 2:

11.15am – 12.45pm

Ab1 - City of Athens
Ab2 - The Roman Empire - This course is now full
Ab3 - In the land of the Minotaur: exploring the Minoan civilisation
Ab4 - Greek drama in performance

2.00pm – 3.30pm

Eb1 - Culture and religion in Etruria and Rome
Eb2 - An age of heroes? The archaeology of the Homeric Epics
Eb3 - Exploring Ancient and Classical worlds - Cambridge Collections
Eb4 - The wonders of Ancient Greek technology

Plenary lectures

You attend the series of daily plenary lectures. Course Directors and leading specialists associated with the University give lectures on subjects from Mesopotamia to Maya, Egypt to Troy, Etruria to Rome, and beyond, exploring the same 'wonders' of art, ideas, culture and conquest that inspired Herodotus. Invited speakers include:

Professor Roel Sterckx: China's First Emperor uncovered
Professor Barry Strauss:
Discovering the truth about the death of Julius Caesar
Dr Anastasia Christophilopoulou: Exploring images of women in the Ancient World
Dr Nigel Spivey: Discovering ancient Romans: Etruscan and Roman portraits
Dr Jan Parker: Exploring Greek ideas: the way words work
Dr James Lin: Exploring Ancient China and its trade routes under the Han Dynasty
Dr Yağmur Heffron: Trade and exploration: Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East
Dr Nigel Strudwick: Trade and exploration in Ancient Egypt
Dr Toby Wilkinson: Discovering Akhnaten

Evening and afternoon talks

Invited speakers and members of the University will give a varied programme, covering a wide range of subjects. Planned talks include:

Professor Paul Cartledge: Debate: 'This House believes that Alexander the Great's Reputation has been exaggerated'?/ Alexander the - not so - Great
Dr Lucilla Burn:
Celebrating 200 years: the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1816-2016
Sir Tony Brenton:
The idea of inevitability: did the Russian revolution have to happen?
Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill:
New light on Rome
Dr Fred Parker: When fair is foul: an introduction to Macbeth
Prof Chris Lintott:
I want to believe: an astronomer's view of aliens
Professor Paul Cartledge:
The roots of democracy
Professor Roel Sterckx:
Food and philosophy in Ancient China 
Professor Lord Rowan Williams:
Antigone, Ancient and Modern: from Sophocles to Anouilh and beyond

A typical day

On each weekday morning you attend a plenary lecture, followed by a class from your Aa or Ab special subject course. In the afternoons you attend a class from your Ea or Eb special subject course. Subject specific and joint evening lectures are offered in the evenings.

College accommodation

Accommodation is available for participants who want to stay in a Cambridge College. Please see the accommodation options and accommodation fees available for this programme.

Non-residential attendance is also available if participants prefer to find their own lodgings.

Information for applicants

Programme calendar (pdf version, 32KB)
Who can apply
How to apply (pdf version, 90KB)
What happens next?
Tuition and accommodation fees (pdf versions, 46KB and 42KB)
Language requirements
Visa guidance
Booking terms and conditions


The quickest way to apply is by using our secure online booking system. You can also apply by downloading an application form (pdf) and sending it by post or fax.