The City

The City
The City
An Itinerary from Classical Past to Future

Classical Greece is considered to be the influential culture which is linked with the foundation of modern Western culture and stands as the substructure of Western civilization. A great number of ideas and practices that were conceived and elaborated during the Classical era, continue to play an important role in modern life. Vases, sculptures, written sources and other archaeological finds were the ultimate source that provided all the stages of their life and a fully detailed description of the ancient Greek citizen and that seems to be just one out of many reasons to find the ancient Greek culture so mesmerizing.

This online course aims to acquaint participants with the "core" of classical civilization, which is the foundation of western culture, through monuments by introducing the concepts of the ideal citizen, democracy, and philosophical thought as reflected theoretically and practically in ancient Greek religion.

Through the course, the participant can familiarize with the development and structure of ancient Greek life in coherent units, namely the city-state, with the birth of democracy and how it was applied to the existing regime and at last with the creation of classical civilization. All of the above will be analyzed further and in detail in this online course part of the Arts and Culture category. After successfully completing the lessons, the participant will receive a training certificate.

Professor emer. of Classical Archaeology
Professor emer. of Classical Archaeology
Professor of Classics, Director of the Agora Excavations
Doctor of Archaeology

This programme is addressed to anyone with an interest in archaeology and particularly in the formation of the ancient Greek city-state.    

How modern is our past? What was the ancient Greek city-state and what is its legacy? Where was democracy born? Are ancient Greek myths fairy tales or there is a grain of truth in them? Why did theatre resonate so much with people, and still does? Where are the best places in Greece to get to know the character and spirit of ancient civilization?The programme "An Itinerary from Classical Past to Future: The City" aims to introduce, through the major Greek monuments, the developement and structure of ancient Greek life in coherent units, namely the city-state, the developement of democracy in theory and in practice, and the creation of classical civilization. It also analyses ancient Greek religion, which played a major role in everyday life.

An Itinerary from Past to Future: The city

Lesson 1 Why is the Classical modern and useful ?

In this lesson, issues of use and value of the Classical Greek legacy in contemporary life are addressed. The impact of the Classical Greek legacy on modern society is assessed in terms of its usefulness, its dynamics and its misuse. A great number of ideas and practices conceived and elaborated in Ancient Greece continue to play an important role in modern life. Classical antiquity remains on the other hand active in modern life as a fund of human experience and inspiration. There is an interactive approach of modern writers, poets, artists, actors, cinematographers, sportsmen and others to the Classical heritage, who reform or study inherited images and ideas of the past and use them as vehicles with which to express modern experiences and quests. A characteristic case is the tradition of ancient Greek theatre as space and function.

Lesson 2 The Greek city – state. Development and Structure
The Greek city-state was a singular political structure and became the nucleus of ancient Greek life. There were hundreds of city-states in Ancient Greece and its colonies. They consisted of an urban center with a more or less restricted rural area around it. Despite of differences, life in all city states was based on an essential common principle: Their citizens were all active in common affairs and at the same time responsible of the fate of their city. It is the function of this principle that led to the birth of democracy in Greece. In this lesson students will study the major institutions of the Greek city-states, the state sanctuaries, the Agora (center of political life), the Council, the Assembly of citizen, the courts, the various officers, the army, but also the alliances, leagues and hegemonies of city-states. Many of these institutions were inherited to the modern world.

Lesson 3 The Greek city – state. City planning and architecture
The urban center of the city-state was the theatre of common life in Ancient Greece. Space was foreseen in every city for the veneration of the patron gods of the city and for political and economic activity. Special buildings were developed for the meetings of deputies or the citizen, for archives, for sports and so on. Many of these structures became typical for the housing of democratic institutions, as for example the parliament buildings, the theaters and the stadia. Since the 7th century BC an urban planning concept, which organised the layout of cities into a system of separate public and private space traversed by straight roads and streets, developed gradually in Greece, especially in colonies, where the city was organized from its beginning. The roads and streets intersected each other at right angles, creating equal plots for private dwelling. So town planning came to reflect the feeling of equity in the Greek city. The more complex town planning of Hellenistic cities is also discussed.

Lesson 4   Greek Mythology: Gods and Heroes
Religion had a decisive role in Greek political life. All decisions for common activity and life were taken in the name of the gods. Each city had one or more patron gods. Also heroes, immortalized men of divine ancestry, played an important role in the life of city-states. They were also thought as protecting cities or different places in Greece. Gods and heroes were often used in the political propaganda of the city-states. Theseus for example expressed the identity of the Athenians and Heracles did the same for Dorians. This lesson examines myths of gods and heroes related to the identity and the policy of Greek cities. The mythical characters of Greek mythology continue to be used broadly as symbols of ideas and actions in our days: Best example Europe on the Bull as symbol of the European Union.

Lesson 5  Meaning and Values of private life through ages
This unit examines various aspects of the daily lives of ancient Greeks, namely all stages of their lives, birth, childhood, adulthood, marriage, old age, death, as well as ways of making a living in antiquity. The study of  the finds of antiquity that come to light, we know customs and traditions that have been preserved and consolidated in the Greek world over the years. Specifically, vases, sculptures, written sources and other archaeological finds outline the profile of the ancient Greek husband, family man, citizen, and therefore the profile of ancient Greek society. The unit also examines how many of the lifestyles of ancient Greeks survive with stunning continuity in modern society.

Case Studies 

This section discusses the study of five archaeological sites that combine the image of the ancient city, of temples and theaters in Ancient Greece. On the basis of texts and audiovisual material (videos + photos), the reader is guided to the area: following an electronic tour he learns more on each monument but also gets an overview of the historical context of the site. Participants can, also, watch interviews with professors and experts in the field of archaeology, that animate the excavation and the subsequent restoration of the archaeological sites. These case studies provide participants with the practical knowledge complementary to the theoretical aspects already explored in previous units. In that way, participants feel part of this archaeological journey.

Lesson 1 Athens
These are applicable in Athens, considering separately the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and the site of Sounion in Attica.

Lesson 2  Epidavros 
The following case study is Ancient Epidavros, the sacred space of the Healing God Asclepius and finally the Ancient Messene.

Lesson 3 Ancient Olympia and Ancient Elis
Subsequent study area is Ancient Olympia, Ancient Elis, under control of which stood the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, where the Olympic Games took place.

Lesson 4 Ancient Messene  
The final case study is Ancient Messene one of the best preserved examples of an ancient Greek city.


Αssessment for this programme is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. 

Online and distance training learning at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens offers a new way of combining innovative learning and training techniques with interaction with your tutor and fellow trainees from around the world.

The e-learning course is implemented via a user-friendly educational platform adjusted to the Distance Learning Principles. Courses are structured as weekly online meetings; interaction with the course tutor and other trainees takes place in a digital learning environment. The courses are designed to fit around your schedule; you access the course whenever it is convenient for you, however within the given deadlines.

The whole world becomes your classroom as e-learning can be done on laptops, tablets and phones as a very mobile method. Learning can be done on the train, on a plane or even during your trip to Greece!

The educational platform is a portal that offers access to electronic educational material based on modern distance learning technologies. The computer based nature of training means new technology is being introduced all the time to help trainees engage and learn in a tailored way that will meet their needs. E-learners have access to the educational platform with their personal code number in order to browse all relevant training material and interact with their instructors.

Moreover, an online communication system through own personal e-mail account is available in order to make the process easier and more interactive. Trainees can contact directly their tutors or the administration office of the course and share any concerns or anxieties related to the course in order to make the most of their experience.

Every week e-learners are provided with the relevant material, delivered either in the form of video-lectures, text notes and relevant presentations or as a combination of them. The educational material of the course is uploaded gradually, per educational unit. During the course, important info for the smooth conduct of the educational process, such as timetables for the submission of the exercises are announced on the Announcement section of the platform.

For successful completion of the course the e-learner should have fulfill her/his academic obligations, meaning should have submitted all corresponding assessment exercises and have achieved at least an average of 50% grade in the corresponding tests for each module. The score scale ranges from 0 to 100%. Finally, if the total score on one or more lessons of the course does not exceed 50%, trainees can ask for reassessment.

During the course trainees will be attending a training experience designed by academics and lecturers from the National University of Athens as well as from other Universities, Research Institutes and Cultural organizations around Greece.

Interactivity, flexibility and our long tradition guarantee that learning with us offers a successful and rewarding experience. Finally, access to a large variety of material and online resources available in each unit aims to excite your curiosity and guide you in exploring further your favourite topic. Part of the online material can be downloaded providing the chance to quickly refresh your memory after the completion of the course.

When will I receive the Certificate?

The Certificate will be sent to you electronically 30 working days upon completion, if you have no remaining academic or financial obligations. The Certificate will be also sent to you through traditional post services. Upon request the Certificate can be sent with the use of courier services. In this case, the relative cost should be covered by your side.