This is a one-unit general introductory survey (Group 1) course principally designed for ucl students in History, Ancient History, Classics, and Ancient World




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HIST6105: THE ROMAN EMPIRE FROM AUGUSTUS TO THEODOSIUS I


Outline


This is a one-unit general introductory survey (Group 1) course principally designed for UCL students in History, Ancient History, Classics, and Ancient World Studies. There are no specific prerequisites for the course in either skills or knowledge and it may be taken in any year of the BA degree.


The course serves to main outlines of the social, political, economic, and religious history of the Roman world under the rule of the emperors from the creation of the new régime by Augustus to the establishment of Christianity and the separation of the eastern and western empires, that is approximately from 31 BC to AD 410. The familiar modern idea of the Roman empire derives from accounts of the lives and deaths of Emperors, their wives, their freedmen and courtiers; this is not an accident because ancient writers themselves focus mostly on the court life of Rome and on the making of policy by Senate and Emperor. The challenge to the student of this period is to try to correct this imbalance in the source material by making use of the plentiful but scattered evidence about life in the cities of the Empire and about the lives of those who lived below the level of the ruling élite in Rome.


The main themes to be studied are: the nature and limitations of the historical tradition and the other sources of information for Roman life in this period; the system of imperial government created by Augustus; the changing relationships between Rome and the provinces, including the gradual extension of citizen rights throughout the Empire; the development of an imperial economy and the reasons for its failure to develop further; the nature of town-life and the degree of Romanization in the eastern and western provinces; social and religious change, before and after the troubles of the mid-third century AD; the causes and extent of the transformation of the empire in the fourth century AD as marked by the rise of Christianity, the marginalization of pagan religion, the weakening of frontiers and the introduction of invaders, settlers and mercenaries from outside the empire’s boundaries; the reasons for the collapse of the western and the survival of the eastern imperial systems.


The teaching is by weekly lectures and tutorial (discussion) classes, each of one hour’s duration.


As an introductory survey this course naturally complements other Group 1 courses, specifically filling the period between HIST 6107 (The Roman Republic) and HIST 6201 (Europe in the Early Middle Ages) and provides the background for those Further (Group 2, Group 4) or Special (Group 3) Subject courses that require a foundation in Roman imperial history. The lectures and classes for HIST 6105 are designed to be complementary and, taken together, will provide a basic coverage of the relevant historical topic. The examination paper in the summer term will reflect the different subjects covered in both the lectures and the classes.

Objectives of this Course (Learning Outcomes)


Successful completion of the course will contribute to acquisition and development of both knowledge and skills:


Knowledge

 of the general outline of the political, social, economic, and religious history of an alien and pre-industrial society (the Roman empire)

 of the nature of the evidence for analysing and understanding that society

 of modern scholarly judgements on the nature of that society


Skills (subject specific)

 analysis and evaluation of historical source material

 exercise of historical judgement (i.e. application of appropriate methodology and critical evaluation of scholarship by logical argument) to arrive at informed explanations and interpretations of complex data


Skills (transferable)

 clarity, fluency, and coherence in written and oral expression

 recall and deployment of information in oral presentation, written coursework, and timed examination to establish conclusions

 working with others (in tutorial classes)

 independent research in contributing to team effort and own coursework


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