This module examines in detail the history of the Roman Empire from the death of the last Flavian emperor (96 CE) to Constantine's establishment as sole emperor in 324 CE. It thus provides both a survey of a major period of Roman imperial history and an opportunity to study in greater depth the administrative, social, economic and religious developments of this period. Students will read widely in the ancient sources (historical, literary and documentary) and will be introduced to the inscriptional, numismatic, and papyrological evidence for imperial history. This module will concentrate on the main administrative, social, economic and religious developments throughout the period rather than on the details of political and military history.
Students will read widely in the major ancient sources, including Pliny, Dio Cassius, Herodian, and the Historia Augusta. Students will also get experience in working with the documentary evidence for imperial history, including inscriptions, coins, papyri, as well as legal sources.
Total Contact Hours: 20
Method of assessment
• Short Critical Assessment (1,000 words) – 25%
• Short Popularising Assessment (500 words) – 15%
• Essay (2,500 words) – 60%
Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)
Ando, C. (2012). Imperial Rome: The Critical Century (AD 193-284). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
Bowman, A., P. Garnsey & D. Rathbone (eds.) (2008). The Cambridge Ancient History. Volume 11: The High Empire, AD 70-192, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Garnsey, P. & Saller, R. (2015). The Roman Empire, 2nd edition, London: University of California Press
Harries, J. (2012). Imperial Rome (AD 284-363): The New Empire. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
Lenski, N. (2011). The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine, revised edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Lewis, N. & M. Reinhold. (1990). Roman Civilisation: A Sourcebook, Vol II: The Empire, (3rd ed.) New York: Harper & Row
Millar, F. (1981). The Roman Empire and its Neighbours, (2nd ed.) London: Duckworth
Potter, D.S. (2010). A Companion to the Roman Empire, Oxford: Blackwell
See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
- Articulate the main events, issues and themes in the history of the Roman Empire from the end of the Flavian Period (96 CE) until Constantine's establishment as sole emperor (324 CE);
- Demonstrate knowledge and significant understanding of the complex processes relating to administrative, constitutional, social, economic and religious change in the Roman Empire during this period;
- Examine special features of the period such as the evolution of the imperial bureaucracy and the working of the mechanism of patronage, both in the centre and the provinces;
- Demonstrate critical understanding of the relevant different kinds of evidence (official, literary, visual and archaeological) and be able to show familiarity with the key documents, and have an understanding of the uses of the different categories of evidence in the investigation of historical problems;
- Construct historical arguments that will demonstrate a confident analytical ability, independence of thought and knowledge of the ancient sources, literary and otherwise;
- Demonstrate knowledge of the ancient sources, historical, literary and documentary, and a cogent understanding of the inscriptional, numismatic and papyrological evidence for imperial history.
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- The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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