History of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Domitian - CL734

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Spring 6 15 (7.5) DR M Wibier checkmark-circle


This module examines in detail the history of the Roman Empire from the commencement of the Principate of Augustus in 30 BC to the death of the Emperor Domitian in AD 96. It will also provide 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 from the ancient sources, historical, literary and documentary, and will be introduced to the inscriptional 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 Tacitus, Pliny and Suetonius, and will be introduced to the inscriptional and documentary evidence for imperial history.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20


Also available at Level 5 under code CL587

Method of assessment

Critical Source analysis (800 words) – 25%
Short Popularising Assessment (800 words) – 25%
Essay (1,500 words) – 50%

Indicative reading

Indicative list, current at time of publication.

Alston, R.A. (1998) Aspects of Roman History AD 14-96, Abingdon: Routledge.
Garnsey, P. & Saller, R. (2015) The Roman Empire, 2nd edition, London: Bloomsbury.
Lewis, N. & Reinhold, M. (1990) Roman civilisation: A Sourcebook, Vol II: The Empire, 3rd edition, 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: Blackwells.
Sherk R.L. (1988) The Roman Empire: Augustus to Hadrian, Cambridge: CUP.
Wells, C.M. (1992) The Roman Empire, 2nd edition, London: Fontana.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module Level 6 students will be able to:

Articulate the main events, issues and themes in the history of the Roman Empire from the commencement of the Principate of Augustus to the death of the Emperor Domitian in AD 96 and to critically evaluate their significance.
Demonstrate an ability to devise arguments to evaluate the functioning of the complex processes relating to administrative, constitutional, social, economic and religious change in the Roman Empire during this period.
Critically evaluate historical interpretations of 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.
Evaluate the use of the relevant different kinds of evidence (official, literary, visual and archaeological) and show critical awareness of the use of key documents, and have developed an ability to use the different categories of evidence to critique the investigation of historical problems in the history of the Roman Empire.
Construct historical arguments, orally and in writing, which demonstrate analytical ability, independence of thought and knowledge of the ancient sources, literary and otherwise and be able to critically evaluate their own arguments developed from these sources.
Be familiar with the ancient sources, historical, literary, documentary, and inscriptional evidence and be aware of the limits of our knowledge in the development of academic argumentation;


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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