History of the Roman Empire from Trajan to Constantine - CLAS7660

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


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.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Total Private Study Hours: 130
Total Study Hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
• Material Source Podcast (Max. 3.5 minutes) – 15%
• Short Critical Assessment (1,000 words) – 25%
• Research Paper (2,000 words) – 60%

Reassessment methods:
• 100% Coursework (3,000 words)

Indicative reading

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.

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 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);
2 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the complex processes relating to administrative, constitutional, social, economic and religious change in the Roman Empire during this period;
3 Critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data pertaining to 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;
4 Have coherent and detailed knowledge of the key evidence for this period (literary, epigraphic, numismatic, papyrological, visual, archaeological), demonstrate an ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis of the relevant different kinds of evidence, and be able to use evidence and discipline-specific ideas and techniques to devise and sustain historical arguments and/or to solve historical problems;
5 Demonstrate a conceptual understanding that enables the students to describe, comment, and critically engage with current research on the basis of evidence-based historical arguments;

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate the skills necessary for documentary and textual analysis;
2 Demonstrate the ability to manage their own learning;
3 Communicate information, ideas, problems, and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;
5 Demonstrate an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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