Dr Sara Pienaar, lecturer and broadcaster

Crimea has been part of both the Mediterranean and the Asian worlds for more than 2500 years. Its strategic position on the Black Sea, temperate climate, natural beauty and plentiful resources have attracted conquerors, settlers and traders, Greeks, Romans, Tatars, Turks, Russians and many others over the centuries, all adding to its rich and varied culture. More recently, royalty and the rich built palaces and fashionable resorts there, while artists and writers drew inspiration from its natural beauty and exotic past. The twentieth century was marked by tragedy and crisis and Crimea’s disputed status since the Russian-backed coup of 2014 is but the latest chapter in its long and complex history. This course traces that history and seeks to explain why Crimea has played a part
in the world so disproportionate to its size.



  1. From the Greeks to the first Russian conquest
  2. Tsars, poets and commissars
  3. A poisoned chalice – the last 75 years


Recommended reading

Ascherson, N., 1995. Black Sea. London, Jonathan Cape; New York, Hill & Wang.

Figes, O.,2010. Crimea: The Last Crusade. London: Allen Lane.

Reid, A., 1997. Borderland: A Journey through the History of Ukraine.  London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson.



Date: Monday 13–Wednesday 15 January
Time: 3.00 pm 
COURSE FEES: Full R354 Staff & Students R177
Venue: LT1 Kramer Law Building UCT