FIL4561 – Ancient Philosophy and its Key Concepts

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course is centered around certain philosophical works, periods and/or ideas in the history of philosophy from its inception in roughly 600 BC up until approximately 700 AD (through overlapping seminars with FIL4560). The focus of the course and authors who will be studied in it will vary from semester to semester. In addition, the course gives an introduction to the foundational philosophical concepts in ancient philosophy and the Latin and Greek terms that were used to express them. Interpretive methods and challenges will also be addressed, and students will be introduced to the most important online and library resources for the study of ancient philosophy.

Learning outcome

When you have completed this course, you will:

  • have a thorough understanding of the text(s) and author(s) that were included in the reading list
  • be able to discuss the course's philosophical theme in an independent and critical way, drawing both primary and secondary sources
  • be able to take a stand on the philosophical theme in a relatively independent manner

You will also be able to:

  • translate and interpret central conceptual terminology in ancient philosophy from both Greek and Latin
  • understand the most important translational and interpretive questions connected to these concepts
  • discuss the historical development of translations of philosophical vocabulary (for example, from Greek to Latin to English)
  • use lexicons, sources, textual apparatus and online resources in ancient philosophy


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with FIL4560 – History of Philosophy up to 1600


A part of the teaching (12 sessions) take place together with FIL4560. In addition 7 sessions are offered only for the students following FIL4561.

Active participation is expected in discussions as well as a regular presence at the seminars.

The course has the following compulsury tuition avtivities:

  • Active participation in Canvas.You must post a question to the text/part of the text which we will go through in next week's seminar a minimum 8 out of 12 times. You only post questions for the seminars that are together with FIL4560. More information will be given at the seminar.This activity will only be valid for one semester.

How to apply for valid absence from obligatory activity / mandatory presence



The exam consists of two separate parts, a term paper of approximately 10 pages based on the content of FIL4560, and a 4-hour written school exam. The term paper counts 60% towards the final grade, and the take home exam counts 40%.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn

The course is only offered as long as there are students at the programme option Ancient philosophy.


Every autumn

It will only be possible to take the exam as long as the course itself is offered.

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)