Stephen Harrison is a Greek historian with a particular interest in kingship, empire, and identity. He came to Swansea in 2016 after completing his PhD at Cambridge; the thesis, entitled Achaemenid Kingship, Alexander the Great, and the Early Seleucids challenges traditional periodization and offers new insights into the representation of monarchy. He is currently preparing a heavily-revised version of the thesis for publication. His research ranges across chronological and geographic boundaries, with a particular focus on cultural interaction. At Swansea, Dr Harrison teaches widely on subjects in Greek and Near-Eastern history, across the Classical and Hellenistic periods.

Teaching

  • CL-M35 Royal Space: The King and His Palace in the Ancient World

    From ancient Assyria and Egypt, to Macedonia and the Hellenistic Far East, this course uses palaces as a window for exploring the development of societies in the First Millennium BC. Beyond simply being the residences of kings, palaces were integral in communication between ruler and subject and their design tells us much about royal ideology. Having examined a broad range of palaces ¿ providing students with an introduction to using archaeological remains for historical analysis along the way ¿ we explore how these palaces were used: how did the function of palaces change over time? What was the role of women within royal space? We then turn to consider the way that palaces were represented in literature, exploring ideas of despotism and tyranny, before thinking about how the re-use of existing palaces could function as a means of cultural interchange. By the end of the module, students will have a comprehensive understanding of the role of the palace within the ancient societies studied.

  • CLD300 Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology Dissertation

    Dissertation module for students doing single honours or joint honours degrees in Classics, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History or Egyptology. The aim is for students to do detailed research, to work on a project for several months and to produce a scholarly study of c. 8000-10000 words. The dissertation topic can be chosen freely, in consultation with a member of academic staff and subject to compatibility with a student's degree scheme and availability of supervisors and library material. This is a chance for students to pursue an area in which they are especially interested, and to deal with it in depth. Students may choose to do museum-based research. There are two preparatory pieces of assessment: an abstract, outline and bibliography, and an analysis of crucial source material and/or secondary literature. Work on the dissertation itself takes up most of the two semesters. Students are expected to do research independently, but there is a series of lectures in the first semester to provide advice on research and scholarly writing, Every student will be assigned a supervisor who will be organising group sessions with his/her supervisees and who will also be available for one-to-one supervision sessions.

  • CLH270 Being Greek: Identity in the Ancient Greek World

    This course aims to help students see the world through ancient Greek eyes, with a focus on examining what it meant to be Greek during the Classical and Hellenistic Periods. We begin by examining how the Greeks thought about the world around them, exploring Greek understanding of geography and non-Greek peoples, before turning to the important concepts of `freedom¿ and `slavery¿, and then to notions of gender and sexuality. Having considered what it means to think like a Greek, we then conclude by exploring what it meant to act like a Greek, looking at religion and key aspects of civic life, such as the gymnasium. Cumulatively, then, this course offers a valuable insight into the Greek psyche, helping students to understand political, social, and cultural identity in the Greek world. 8 of the lectures (2 in weeks 4, 6, 8, and 10) will be taught in a seminar style, with students working in small groups to unpick pre-circulated extracts. These 8 sessions will require a small amount of preparatory reading and will form the basis for on-going assessment.

  • CLH284 Writing Ancient History

    This module examines the writing and study of ancient history. It considers the range of available evidence (historical sources, epigraphy, biography, archaeology, numismatics) as well as modern approaches to the interpretation of the evidence.

  • CLH291 Ancient Macedonia

    This course charts the rise and fall of ancient Macedonia from an obscure kingdom on the fringes of the Greek world to regional superpower. After some background on the early history and geography of Macedonia, we examine the key moments in Macedonian history ¿ the role of the kingdom in the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars, the rise of Macedonia under Philip II, the superpower status won by Alexander, and the demise of the Argead dynasty. We then move into the Hellenistic period, placing Antigonid rule within the wider Mediterranean context, and focusing especially on the reign of Philip V and his conflict with Rome. Finally, we examine the legacy of Macedonia, focusing particularly on the vexed issue of ethnicity which continues to create tension in the Balkans. While the course predominantly follows a chronological structure, thematic sessions covering issues such as kingship, culture, and economics are integrated into the module. Equally, an array of sources are used ¿ from archaeological remains of palaces to epigraphic documents and the speeches of figures such as Demosthenes and Aeschines. Ultimately, then, this course offers a comprehensive overview of all aspects of Macedonian history and society prior to the Roman conquest.

  • CLH370 Being Greek: Identity in the Ancient Greek World

    This course aims to help students see the world through ancient Greek eyes, with a focus on examining what it meant to be Greek during the Classical and Hellenistic Periods. We begin by examining how the Greeks thought about the world around them, exploring Greek understanding of geography and non-Greek peoples, before turning to the important concepts of `freedom¿ and `slavery¿, and then to notions of gender and sexuality. Having considered what it means to think like a Greek, we then conclude by exploring what it meant to act like a Greek, looking at religion and key aspects of civic life, such as the gymnasium. Cumulatively, then, this course offers a valuable insight into the Greek psyche, helping students to understand political, social, and cultural identity in the Greek world. 8 of the lectures (2 in weeks 4, 6, 8, and 10) will be taught in a seminar style, with students working in small groups to unpick pre-circulated extracts. These 8 sessions will require a small amount of preparatory reading and will form the basis for on-going assessment.

  • CLH371 Ancient Macedonia

    This course charts the rise and fall of ancient Macedonia from an obscure kingdom on the fringes of the Greek world to the regional superpower. After some background on the early history and geography of Macedonia, we examine the key moments in Macedonian history ¿ the role of the kingdom in the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars, the rise of Macedonia under Philip II, the superpower status won by Alexander, and the demise of the Argead dynasty. We then move into the Hellenistic period, placing Antigonid rule within the wider Mediterranean context, and focusing especially on the reign of Philip V and his conflict with Rome. Finally, we examine the legacy of Macedonia, focusing particularly on the vexed issue of ethnicity which continues to create tension in the Balkans. While the course predominantly follows a chronological structure, thematic sessions covering issues such as kingship, culture, and economics are integrated into the module. Equally, an array of sources are used ¿ from archaeological remains of palaces to epigraphic documents and the speeches of figures such as Demosthenes and Aeschines. Ultimately, then, this course offers a comprehensive overview of all aspects of Macedonian history and society prior to the Roman conquest.

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Outreach Officer - Department of Classics, Ancient History, and Egyptology

    2017 - Present

  • Employability Officer - Department of Classics, Ancient History, and Egyptology

    2017 - Present

External Responsibilities

  • Council Member, Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

    2017 - Present