Ancient History

Rationale/Aims

The Ancient History curriculum enables students to study life in early civilisations based on the analysis and interpretation of physical and written remains. The ancient period, as defined in this curriculum, extends from the development of early human communities to the end of late antiquity AD 650, with a particular focus on the ancient societies of Europe, the Near East and Asia.

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Structure of Ancient History

In Ancient History, students study the key institutions, structures and features of ancient societies and develop a broader and deeper comprehension of the origins, impact and legacy of ideas, beliefs and values of the ancient world.

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Links to Foundation to Year 10

The Ancient History curriculum continues to develop student learning in history through the same strands used in the Foundation to Year 10 history curriculum, although the historical knowledge and understanding strand includes a wider range of concepts and contexts for historical study.

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Representation of General capabilities

The seven general capabilities of Literacy, Numeracy, Information and Communication technology (ICT) capability, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding, and Intercultural understanding are identified where they offer opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning.

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Representation of Cross-curriculum priorities

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures is addressed in this subject through the investigation of sites of significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the preservation and conservation of those sites.

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Achievement standards

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Unit 3: People, Power and Authority

Unit 3: People, Power and Authority Description

This unit involves an investigation of ONE ancient society across a broad historical period, with a particular emphasis on the nature and exercise of power and authority in that society. Students also study ONE individual who had a significant impact on their times, either within the chosen society or another society. This unit requires a greater focus on a range of written source material and an evaluation of the significance of the selected individual.

Students examine the nature of power and authority in the society and the ways in which it was demonstrated through political, military, religious and economic features. This study requires a focus on the reasons for continuity and change. The detailed study of an individual who had a significant impact on their times develops students’ understanding of the importance of human agency, as demonstrated by the possible motivations and actions of individuals. Students develop their skills of historical analysis with an emphasis on the identification and evaluation of different perspectives and interpretations of the past and on an understanding of the issue of contestability in history. The key conceptual understandings of this unit include: causation, change and continuity, perspectives, interpretations and contestability.


Unit 3: People, Power and Authority Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students:

  • understand the nature and extent of change and continuity within the historical period
  • understand developments in power and authority over time and the role and impact of a significant individual on society
  • apply key concepts as part of a historical inquiry, including evidence, cause and effect, change and continuity, perspectives, interpretations and contestability
  • analyse and evaluate interpretations and communicate historical argument using a range of evidence.

Unit 3: People, Power and Authority Content Descriptions

Historical Skills

All the following skills will be studied during this unit.

Chronology, terms and concepts

Identify links between events to understand the nature and significance of causation, change and continuity over time (ACHAH145)

Use historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts to demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding (ACHAH146)

Historical questions and research

Formulate, test and modify propositions to investigate historical issues (ACHAH147)

Frame questions to guide inquiry and develop a coherent research plan for inquiry (ACHAH148)

Identify, locate and organise relevant information from a range of primary and secondary sources (ACHAH149)

Identify and practise ethical scholarship when conducting research (ACHAH150)

Analysis and use of sources

Identify the origin, purpose and context of historical sources  (ACHAH151)

Analyse, interpret and synthesise evidence from different types of sources to develop and sustain a historical argument (ACHAH152)

Evaluate the reliability, usefulness and contestability of sources to develop informed judgements that support a historical argument (ACHAH153)

Perspectives and interpretations

Analyse and account for the different perspectives of individuals and groups in the past (ACHAH154)

Evaluate critically different historical interpretations of the past, how they evolved, and how they are shaped by the historian’s perspective (ACHAH155)

Evaluate contested views about the past to understand the provisional nature of historical knowledge and to arrive at reasoned and supported conclusions (ACHAH156)

Explanation and communication

Develop texts that integrate appropriate evidence from a range of sources to explain the past and to support and refute arguments (ACHAH157)

Communicate historical understanding by selecting and using text forms appropriate to the purpose and audience (ACHAH158)

Apply appropriate referencing techniques accurately and consistently (ACHAH159)

Historical knowledge and understanding

Students will study ONE of the following societies:

  1. New Kingdom Egypt to the death of Horemheb
  2. Persia, 560 – 330 BC
  3. Archaic Greece, 900 – 600 BC
  4. Athens, 490 – 445 BC
  5. Rome, 133 – 63 BC
  6. Rome, 63 BC – AD 14
  7. Later Han and the Three Kingdoms, AD 180 – 280

AND

Students study ONE of the following individuals:

  • Akhenaten
  • Augustus
  • Caesar
  • Cicero
  • Cimon
  • Darius I
  • Hatshepsut
  • Liu Bei
  • Livia
  • Pericles
  • Solon
  • Sulla
  • Themistocles
  • Thutmose III
  • Zhuge Liang
  • Xerxes

Students study ONE of the following societies which is to be taught with the requisite historical skills described at the start of this unit:

New Kingdom Egypt to the death of Horemheb

Background for the period (approximately 10 percent of the teaching time for this topic)

The historical and geographical context, including an overview of Old and Middle Kingdom developments, the significance of the Second Intermediate Period; Upper and Lower Egypt, the territorial boundaries of Egypt (ACHAH160)

The nature of power and authority at the beginning of the New Kingdom, including the social and political structure (role and status of pharaoh/royalty, nobility, scribes, artisans, agricultural workers; the nature and impact of Hyksos rule); religion (significance of the pharaoh as god-king, Son of Re, Lord of the Two Lands, Upholder of Maat, the role and importance of Amun); the economy and civil administration (importance of the Nile, agriculture and other natural resources; role and status of the vizier); and the bureaucracy (methods of taxation, commerce and trade) (ACHAH161)

Power and authority – change and development

The role of 17th dynasty rulers, including queens, in the expulsion of the Hyksos and the establishment of the 18th dynasty (ACHAH162)

The consolidation of the 18th dynasty in relation to the role and growing status of the Amun cult and Egyptian queens who took the title ‘God’s Wife of Amun’ (ACHAH163)

The religious, political and economic importance of pharaonic building programs, including the cult temples of Luxor and Karnak; the royal mortuary temples (western Thebes); the tomb builders’ village, Deir el Medina; the significance of Theban festivals (ACHAH164)

Conquest and expansion in Nubia and Syria-Palestine, the iconography of the ‘warrior pharaoh’, and the nature of Egyptian imperialism (ACHAH165)

The development and importance of the military in the expulsion of the Hyksos and in the expansion and maintenance of the Egyptian empire and the evidence provided by the military careers of at least TWO key individuals, for example Ahmose son of Ebana and Ahmose Pennekhbet (ACHAH166)

The nature of the empire and its impact on economic development, including the significance of booty, tribute and trade (ACHAH167)

The nature and impact of the Amarna revolution (ACHAH168)

The nature and significance of the Restoration of Amun and other gods under Tutankhamun and Horemheb (ACHAH169)

The changing nature of Egypt’s relations (for example warfare and diplomacy) with other powers, in particular the Mitanni and Hittites (ACHAH170)

Persia 560 – 330 BC

Background for the period (approximately 10 percent of the teaching time for this topic)

The historical and geographical context, including Persian origins, neighbouring countries (ACHAH171)

The nature of power and authority at the beginning of the period, including the social and political structure of Persian society (the role of king and court, the ‘bandaka’, the role of the family, tribal, and clan systems, royal women, commoners, subject peoples); religion (worship of the god Ahuramazda, the relationship of the king to Ahuramazda); the role of the priesthood and the nature of ritual (the Magi, fire altars, royal funerary customs, the significance of Zoroaster as a prophet); the economy (the nature and importance of agriculture, tribute and trade, Corvée obligations); and the military (the role and composition of the Persian army, the leadership structure and the role of the royal family) (ACHAH172)

Power and authority – change and development

The reasons for the establishment of the Achaemenid dynasty under Cyrus II and its consolidation under Cambyses, Darius and Xerxes (ACHAH173)

Issues related to dynastic succession, the iconography of Achaemenid kingship, and the role and importance of the bureaucracy (arstibara, vacabara, hazarapatish)  (ACHAH174)

The nature and importance of the imperial administration, including the role of the king, the military, the satrapy system, legal structures and laws; taxation; the development of coinage, weights and measures; the importance of communication and transport, for example the Royal Road; and the role of foreign workers, crafts and industry in Achaemenid building programs (ACHAH175)

The nature and extent of imperial expansion, warfare, conquest and diplomacy, including the suppression of revolts for example in Babylon and Egypt, the invasions of Greece and the nature of Persian imperialism (ACHAH176)

The importance of building programs as expressions of power, and the achievements of the Achaemenid dynasty in art and architecture; the royal capitals at Pasargadae, Susa, and Persepolis (ACHAH177)

The impact of the religious policies of Persian kings within Persia and the empire, including Bel-Marduk, Hebrew beliefs and Egyptian gods (ACHAH178)

The status of conquered powers within the empire and treatment of subject peoples, including Babylonians, Egyptians and Jews (ACHAH179)

Reasons for the decline and collapse of the Persian Empire including Alexander the Great’s invasion and the death of Darius III (ACHAH180)

Archaic Greece 900 – 600 BC

Background for the period (approximately 10 percent of the teaching time for this topic)

The historical and geographical context, including the emergence from the ‘Dark Ages’, the influence of geography on Greek political and economic development; the concept of ‘polis’ (origins of key city-states: Athens, Thebes, Megara, Corinth and Sparta); Sparta’s Dorian origins (nature and influence of Homeric Bronze Age tradition on Sparta’s early development), and Athens’ Ionian origins; the ‘displacement’ of the Ionians and settlement of Ionia (ACHAH181)

The nature of power and authority at the beginning of the period, including the social structure (role and status of the family ‘oikos’, tribe, nobles, farmers, peasants, craftsmen); Greek religion (the nature of Hesiod’s cosmogony; Olympian gods); the emergence of the Athenian polis (hereditary kingship, the role of clans and phratriae); the emergence of the Spartan polis and role of kings (ACHAH182)

Power and authority – change and development

The development of the Athenian polis, including the transition from monarchic to oligarchic rule; the role of polemarch, basileus, archons, thesmothetae, Areopagus, Ecclesia, and legal structures, for example Draco’s codification of laws  (ACHAH183)

The political, economic and cultural influence of Ionia on Athenian development (ACHAH184)

Spartan expansion into Laconia and the impact of the Messenian Wars and the Lycurgan reforms on the development of the Spartan polis, including the structure and function of the dual kingship, ephors, Gerousia and Assembly (ACHAH185)

Causes of colonisation, including the importance of agriculture and land ownership, the custom of primogeniture (ACHAH186)

The political, social and economic impact of colonisation and trade on Greek poleis, including the role of the trireme and the emergence of a merchant class (ACHAH187)

The impact of colonisation on relations with other powers, including trade and cultural contact with Near-Eastern neighbours; the importance of the Phoenician alphabet  (ACHAH188)

The causes of tyranny, the nature and impact of tyrants, for example Pheidon (Argos), Cleisthenes (Sicyon), Cypselus and Periander (Corinth), as well as their success in maintaining power (ACHAH189)

The emergence of Pan-Hellenic sites for example Dodona and Delphi; the importance of omens and oracles for example Zeus and Apollo at Delphi; the religious and political significance of the Pan-Hellenic Games, including Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean Games (ACHAH190)

The nature and significance of technological innovation in pottery and monumental architecture (ACHAH191)

Athens 490 – 445 BC

Background for the period (approximately 10 percent of the teaching time for this topic)

The chronological and geographical context of Athens in 490 BC, including Cleisthene’s democracy, the Spartan and Persian attempts to interfere in Athenian domestic affairs prior to 490BC, the Athenian response, and the Ionian Revolt (ACHAH192)

The nature of power and authority in Athens in 490 BC, including key political concepts (demos, polis, oligarchy, democracy, ostracism); key social groups (Solon’s pentacosiomedimni, hippeis, zeugitae, thetes, slaves, metics and women); and Athenian government, including Cleisthene’s reforms (ACHAH193)

Power and authority – change and development

The causes, course and consequences of conflict with Persia in 490 BC with particular reference to the Ionian Revolt, Marathon, role of Xanthippus and Miltiades (ACHAH194)

The development of Athens’ domestic politics for example the use of ostracisms in the 480s, the ascendency of Themistocles, the construction of the fleet, and the enhancement of the position of strategoi (ACHAH195)

The Persian Wars 481-478 BC, including the Battle of Salamis, the formation of the Hellenic League, Spartan hegemony and the role of Leonidas, Themistocles, Pausanias, and the significance of the increased prestige of Athens (ACHAH196)

The reasons for the formation of the Delian League, including the aims, structure and naval superiority of Athens  (ACHAH197)

Initial campaigns under Cimon to 461BC and their significance for Athenian power internally and externally, including Sparta’s response to the growth of Athenian power (ACHAH198)

The rise in thetic power in Athens and the reasons for Ephialtes’ reforms to the political institutions of the Areopagus, Boule, Ecclesia and Heliaea (ACHAH199)

Athens’ changing foreign policy in 461BC, its alliances with Megara and Thessaly, the First Peloponnesian War, the Athenian Land Empire, and Cimon’s possible recall (ACHAH200)

The significance of Athens’ leadership of the Delian League, the transformation of the League to an empire, and the methods of control used by Athens to 445BC (ACHAH201)

The beginnings of Periclean Athens, including democratic reforms and the building program (ACHAH202)

Rome 133 – 63BC

Background for the period (approximately 10 percent of the teaching time for this topic)

The historical and geographical context, including the location of Rome and the geographical extent of Roman territory, and neighbouring kingdoms and societies  (ACHAH203)

The nature of power and authority in Rome in 133 BC, including the social structures of Roman society (the nobility, equestrians, slaves, freedmen, socii, patron-client relations and family structures; the distinction between citizens and non-citizens; the political structures (consuls, senate, tribunate, assemblies and provincial administration); the economy, (agriculture, the land tenure system, trade, slavery, provinces and taxation); the military organisation; and religious practices (omens, oracles, religious festivals, triumphs and games) (ACHAH204)

Power and authority – change and development

Reasons for the reforms of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, the methods used by the Gracchi, and the political, economic and social impact of the reforms (ACHAH205)

The tribunate and growing tensions between the optimates and populares between 133-63BC (ACHAH206)

The reasons for Marius’ first consulship, his command against Jurgurtha, the significance of his subsequent consulships and extraordinary commands against the Teutones and Cimbri (ACHAH207)

The military reforms of Marius, the growth of client armies and their impact on Roman politics and society to 63BC (ACHAH208)

The origins and key events of the Italian Wars and the subsequent changes to citizenship (ACHAH209)

The reasons for Sulla’s March on Rome, the Civil War, Sulla’s dictatorship and the effectiveness of the so-called ‘Sullan Restoration’ on the powers of the tribunate and Senate (ACHAH210)

The reasons for, and nature of, the extraordinary commands of Pompey up to 63BC and their impact on the Roman Republic, including the commands against Lepidus and Sertorius, the lex Gabinia and lex Manilia (ACHAH211)

The significance of Cicero’s consulship, the Catiline Conspiracy and the Concordia Ordinum (ACHAH212)

The role and impact of violence in Roman politics, including the use of the Senatus Consultum Ultimum, and Civil War (ACHAH213)

Rome 63BC – 14AD

Background for the period (approximately 10 percent of the teaching time for this topic)

The historical and geographical context, including the location of Rome and the geographical extent of Roman territory, and neighbouring kingdoms and societies (ACHAH214)

The nature of power and authority in Rome in 63BC, including the social structure of Roman society (the nobility, equestrians, slaves, freedmen, patron-client relations, and family structures, including ‘pater familias’); political structures (the senate, assemblies of the people, the magistrates of the people, the provincial administration, and the use of the Senatus Consultum Ultimum); the economy (agriculture, trade, slavery, provinces, taxation and Pompey’s Eastern Settlement); military organisation (client armies); religious practices (omens, oracles, religious festivals, triumphs and games) (ACHAH215)

Power and authority – change and development

The reasons for the formation of the ‘First Triumvirate’ of Caesar, Crassus and Pompey, including tensions between the optimates and populares (ACHAH216)

Caesar’s first consulship, his legislative program, and his acquisition of the Gallic Command (ACHAH217)

The reasons for the breakdown of the ‘First Triumvirate’ and the key events of the Civil War, including Caesar versus Pompey and the optimates; battles of Pharsalus, Thapsus and Munda (ACHAH218)

Caesar’s dictatorship, including his constitutional position, reform program and the reasons for his assassination  (ACHAH219)

The reasons for the formation of the ‘Second Triumvirate’ of Antony, Lepidus and Octavian (ACHAH220)

The nature of the tensions and rivalry between Octavian and Mark Anthony, the breakdown of the ‘Second Triumvirate’, Cleopatra and the significance of the Battle of Actium (ACHAH221)

The purpose and nature of the 1st and 2nd Settlements of Augustus, subsequent developments, and their impact in consolidating his authority (ACHAH222)

The reasons for the reforms of Augustus and their political, social, military, cultural and economic impact on the Roman Republic (ACHAH223)

The role and impact of violence in Roman politics, including the use of client armies and civil war (ACHAH224)

The nature and objectives of Augustus’ foreign policy (ACHAH225)

Later Han and the Three Kingdom, AD 180 – 280

Background for the period (approximately 10 percent of the teaching time for this topic)

The historical and geographical context in AD 180, the geographical extent of the Chinese state, the location of the capital Luoyang, including the significance of the plagues (ACHAH226)

The nature of power and authority in China in AD 180, including the social structure of Late Han society (emperor, nobility, eunuchs, commoners, the significance of imperial marriage); political structures (emperor, ministers, the court, kings, provincial administration); the economy (agriculture, coinage, taxation of land, labour, property); popular religion (Daoism); the nature of military forces (limits of conscription standing armies, local levies, non-Chinese auxiliaries, private retainers,, development of warlord armies) (ACHAH227)

Power and authority – change and development

Zhang Jue and The Way of Great Peace campaign, the Yellow Turban Rebellion of AD 184 and its suppression; the north-western rebellion in the Liang province: the consequent social and economic disruption  (ACHAH228)

The reasons for the power struggle between the palace eunuchs, Confucianists and imperial relatives by marriage; AD 189: the death of Emperor Ling; the assassination of He Jin; the massacre of the Eunuchs and the seizure of power of warlord Dong Zhou (ACHAH229)

The rise of military leaders and local warlords, the puppet reign of Emperor Xian, and the downfall of the Han dynasty (ACHAH230)

Cao Cao’s military success at Guandu (AD 200) and his consolidation of power in northern China, the alliance of Sun Quan and Liu Bei, and the Battle of Red Cliffs (AD 208)  (ACHAH231)

The abdication of Emperor Xian and the establishment of Cao Pi as Emperor of Wei in AD 220, Liu Bei as Emperor of Shu-Han and Sun Quan as Emperor of Wu (ACHAH232)

The rivalry between Wu and Shu, Liu Bei’s victory at Ding Jun mountain and the capture of Hanzhong (AD 219), seizure of Jin province on the middle Yangtse by Wu (AD 219); Zhuge Liang’s Southern Expedition and the re-establishment of an alliance between the Wu and Shu kingdoms (AD 223) (ACHAH233)

Stability and prosperity in the state of Wu under Sun Quan, including conquest and colonisation in south China, and economic development including trade with South-East Asia (ACHAH234)

The power of the Sima clan in Wei, the overthrow of Cao Shuang and the abdication of Cao Huan to Sima Yan in AD 264, the proclamation of the Jin Dynasty in northern China (ACHAH235)

The decline of Shu after the death of Zhuge Liang, culminating in the invasion by Wei and the surrender of Liu Shan in AD 263  (ACHAH236)

The succession problems of the state of Wu and the surrender of of Sun Hao to Jin in AD 280 (ACHAH237)

The extent of Chinese territorial expansion by AD 280, the external threats, the evidence for Roman-Chinese relations (ACHAH238)

Students will study ONE of the individuals (listed above) and will investigate, applying requisite historical skills, the following:

Their background and rise to prominence, including:

family background and status  (ACHAH239)

key events in their rise to prominence  (ACHAH240)

significant influences on early development (ACHAH241)

The career of the individual, including:

change of role, position, status over time (ACHAH242)

possible motivations for actions (ACHAH243)

methods used to achieve aims (ACHAH244)

relationships with groups and other individuals  (ACHAH245)

significant events in the career of the individual  (ACHAH246)

manner and impact of death (ACHAH247)

The impact and legacy of the individual, including:

assessment of their life and career (ACHAH248)

the influence of the individual on their time  (ACHAH249)

their longer-term impact and legacy. (ACHAH250)

Changing perspectives and interpretations of the individual, including:

depictions of the individual during their lifetime (ACHAH251)

udgments of the individual by other individuals and groups during their lifetime (ACHAH252)

interpretations of the individual after their death (for example, in writings, images, films). (ACHAH253)