DSCY10050 War: Ancient and modern

Academic Year 2019/2020

War is as old as mankind, but it has changed its character over the centuries. This module will introduce students to the changing character of war from ancient times to the present, highlighting the latest research results on a large variety of conflicts and themes: wars, piracy and civil wars in the ancient world, the Viking conquests in Europe, the Crusades, the Wars of Religion, the Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century and the American Civil War to the total wars of the 20th century. The module takes an inter-disciplinary perspective on war, combining insights from history, classics, politics , medicine and sociology. Together, faculty from these diverse disciplines will introduce some of the latest cutting edge research on violence and gender, medical responses to the outbreaks of war and the ‘new wars’ on terror in today’s Middle East.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students:
1. will be able to critique texts on war drawing on the methods used by historians, sociologists, and political scientists, among others;
2. understand the major historical changes in the nature and context of war since the earliest times of human history;
3. will appreciate a variety of analytic techniques used by researchers investigating human conflict;
4. will have improved their academic writing skills.

Indicative Module Content:

Week 1
Robert Gerwarth (Director, UCD Centre for War Studies), Introduction
Chiara Tedaldi (School of History), How to write History essays

Week 2
Christopher Farrell (School of Classics), Warfare in Ancient Greece: From Citizen Soldiers to Hellenistic Kingdoms

Week 3
Alexander Thein (School of Classics), The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

Week 4
Mairin McCarron (School of History), The Vikings: A World of Warriors?

Week 5
Edward Coleman (School of History), The Crusades

Week 6
Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin (School of History), From the Wars of Religion to Napoleon’s Revolutionary Wars

Week 7
Jennifer Wellington (School of History), Total Wars: From Crimea to the Second World War


Week 9
Catherine Cox, War, what is it good for? War and Medicine in the Modern Period

Week 10
David Kerr, European Art and Literature in the Age of Total Wars, 1914-1945

Week 11
(School of Sociology), Why Are Wars so Gendered?

Week 12
Hussein Omar (School of History), Contemporary Conflict in the Middle East

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Students will learn through a combination of lectures, group discussions, and the completion of dedicated assignments such as book reviews and research essays. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.  
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: 1,000 word book review Week 5 n/a Graded No


Assignment: 2,000 word research essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat Within Two Trimesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback is offered by email or in person after each written assignment.

Name Role
Dr Chiara Tedaldi Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr Peter Crooks Subject Extern Examiner
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.  
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Mon 18:00 - 19:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Spring: All Weeks Mon 18:00 - 19:50