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Study information

Roman History: Problems and Sources

Module titleRoman History: Problems and Sources
Module codeCLA2002
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor Neville Morley (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module you will explore Roman History from the mythologised story of the foundation of the city in 753 BC to the end of the Roman Empire in the West over a thousand years later. In particular, you will focus on the late Republic and Principate, a time of rapid imperial expansion, violent internal conflicts and the emergence of a new political order dominated by autocratic emperors. Within a broadly chronological structure, you will explore a range of important topics and questions concerning the Roman world through critical engagement with a wide variety of ancient material and modern scholarly approaches.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module is designed to:

  • help you gain knowledge and understanding of the grand sweep of ancient Roman history from its earliest times until the end of antiquity
  • provide information about important aspects of – and debates about – political, cultural, social and economic history
  • enable you to develop sophisticated skills of critical analysis and historiographical methods through exposure to a variety of relevant ancient sources and modern scholarly approaches to the subject.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of Roman history and familiarity with the key sources
  • 2. Demonstrate critical awareness of different scholarly approaches to Roman history and key debates in scholarship
  • 3. Analyse the sources for the history of Rome and show a nuanced understanding of the particular challenges they pose

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the full range of approaches to the study of the ancient world (political, cultural, social, economic)
  • 5. Demonstrate advanced academic and library skills specific to Classics and Ancient History
  • 6. Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the ideas and ideologies of Roman society

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Demonstrate the ability to digest and organise diverse information into a strong and coherent argument
  • 8. Demonstrate advanced independent research skills
  • 9. Demonstrate the ability to participate in discussion

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Term 1: Early Rome and the Republic
  • Term 2: The Principate and Later Roman Empire

Lectures will cover a variety of topics within the study of this period and will incorporate an element of discussion. Seminars will be focused on you performing in-depth analysis of ancient material and modern scholarship, with supervision and guidance provided by module tutors.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4422 x 2 hour lectures
Scheduled Teaching and Learning88 x 1 hour seminar
Guided Independent Study248Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral contribution in seminarIn-class1-9Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 1 (24-hour take-home paper)402 hours1-8Mark and written comments
Essay 2 (coursework)302000 words1-8Mark and written comments
Source criticism 1 (coursework)10500 words1-7Mark and written comments
Source criticism 2 (24-hour take-home exam)201 hour1-7Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayssEssay1-8Referral/Deferral period
Source criticismsSource criticisms1-7Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Barchiesi, A. and W. Scheidel (eds.), 2010. The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies (Oxford)
  • Bringmann, K. 2007. A History of the Roman Republic (Cambridge)
  • Cameron, A. 2012. The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity AD 395–700, 2nd ed. (London)
  • Cornell, T. J. 1995. The Beginnings of Rome (London)
  • Flower, H. (ed.), 2004. The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic (Cambridge)
  • Garnsey, P. and R. Saller, 2015. The Roman empire: economy, society and culture, 2nd ed. (Berkeley)
  • Goodman, M. 1997. The Roman World, 44 BC-AD 180 (London)
  • Johnson, S. F. (ed.), 2012. The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity (Oxford)
  • Potter, D.S. (ed.), 2006. A Companion to the Roman Empire (Malden MA)
  • Potter, D.S., 2014. The Roman Empire at Bay AD 180–395, 2nd ed. (London)
  • Rosenstein, N. and R. Morstein-Marx (eds.), 2006. A Companion to the Roman Republic (Malden MA)
  • Rousseau, P. (ed.), 2007. A Companion to Late Antiquity (Chichester)
  • The Cambridge Ancient History, Volumes 7.2-14.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date