• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Classics
  • Areas of interest Archaeology, Classics and Ancient History, History, Philosophy, European Studies

The Greek and Roman gods are perhaps one of the best-known elements of Classical culture. And yet there is no ancient Greek word for religion. Can we speak, then, of ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ in a Greek and Roman context, or are these concepts misnomers when applied to pagan religion? This course not only teaches students about religious practice in the Greek, Roman and Byzantine worlds, but encourages deep reflections about what it means to ‘believe in the god(s)’ within and throughout the religious transformations that accompanied the historical period c. 800 BCE-600 CE. The development of new cults, the deification of kings and emperors, and the rise of monotheistic religions like Christianity all attest to the complex and shifting nature of the ancient religious landscape. Within this, was there room for religious dissent? How accommodating were official state religions to variety, change and localism? How do our concepts of ‘agnostic’ and ‘atheist’ map onto the lived religious experiences of ancient Greeks and Romans? Students of this course will learn about how the concepts of faith and belief in Classical antiquity intersected with other key elements of ancient society and culture including politics, art, architecture, science and philosophy.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1.  comprehend the significance of shifting belief systems in ancient Greece and Rome across a broad historical period;

  2. think critically about concepts such as faith, belief, atheism, and religion in ancient Greece and Rome and how they relate to other elements of these societies and cultures;
  3. analyse and evaluate primary historical sources and modern scholarship;

  4. conduct scholarly research and construct logical arguments based on that research; and

  5. express ideas and arguments clearly in oral and written modes. 

Indicative Assessment

  1. Tutorial Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

  2. Tutorial Presentation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

  3.  Source Analysis (750 words) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

  4.  Research Project Plan and Bibliography (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

  5. Independent Research Project (3,000 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures (delivered in weekly 2-hour blocks) and 12 hours of tutorials (delivered in weekly 1-hour blocks).

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed a minimum of 12 units of ANCH, CLAS, GREK, LATN, or HIST courses.

Prescribed Texts

Not required. Readings will be made available through Wattle.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8445 21 Jul 2025 28 Jul 2025 31 Aug 2025 24 Oct 2025 In Person N/A

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