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Unit information: Historical Survey: Ancient Rome in 2020/21

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Unit name Historical Survey: Ancient Rome
Unit code CLAS10036
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Edwin Shaw
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit will provide a survey of Ancient Roman History, from the origins of the city (8th century BC) to the Flavian dynasty (AD 100). It will focus on broad questions of colonialism, imperialism, and civic identity by reviewing Rome’s changing political infrastructure alongside its expansion through the Italian peninsula and across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The unit will develop students’ skills of researching ancient history through primary sources, and of building up a body of knowledge about different historical periods.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate familiarity with, and be able to access, discipline-specific resources such as encyclopaedias and historical reference works, and primary sources for different historical periods.
  2. select, appropriately contextualise, and interpret primary sources to explicate historical events;
  3. discuss the range and diversity of political and cultural practices in Rome, through the regal, republican, and imperial periods;
  4. discuss the inter-relation of different Roman political institutions, and Roman imperialist conquest abroad;
  5. demonstrate skills of written academic expression at a standard appropriate to level C.

Teaching details

This unit will involve a combination of independent investigative activities, long- and short-form lectures, and discussion. Students will be expected to engage with materials and participate on a weekly basis. Feedback will be provided for both formative and summative assessments, and this will be supported by meetings with tutors.

Assessment Details

500 word poster with 100 word written comparison of sources (formative). [ILOs 1, 2, 5]. 2. 1,500 word essay (summative) (100%). [ILOs 1-5].

Reading and References

Alston, Richard. 2015. Rome’s Revolution: death of the Republic, and birth of the Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cornell, T.J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome. Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars. London: Routledge.

Flower, Harriet. ed. 2004. The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Flower, Harriet. 2010. Roman Republics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.