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Unit information: Historical Survey: Ancient Rome in 2019/20

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

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. Sandwell
Open unit status 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 demonstrate familiarity with, and be able to access, discipline-specific resources such as encyclopaedias and historical reference works, and primary sources for different historical periods.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

Lectures and seminars

Assessment Details

1. 600 word commentary on a selection of primary sources relevant to a specific historical topic, with appropriate contextualising. 20% [assessing ILOs 1, 2, 5]

2. 90 minute exam with factual and interpretative components. (80%) [assessing ILOs 1, 3, 4, 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

Millar, Fergus. 1970. The Emperor in the Roman World. London: Duckworth

Mouritsen, Henrik. 2017. Politics in the Roman Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press