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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Ancient History

Undergraduate Course: Dress and Society in the Ancient World (ANHI10045)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will introduce students to the way dress reflected a multitude of identities (e.g. gender, ethnicity, wealth and legal status) in the Roman Empire, and will show how dress behaviour can be analysed to answer social and cultural-historical questions.
Course description In the ancient world, public display and recognition of status were an essential part of having status. Much of ancient clothing was designed to reveal the social status of its wearer, particularly for freeborn men. In typical Greek and Roman fashion, the more distinguished the wearer, the more the dress was distinctively marked, while the dress of the lowest classes was often not marked at all. In this course, students will be studying ancient society through the lens of dress studies. Students will use mainly written and pictorial primary sources and will analyse debates and developments surrounding dress in modern classical and anthropological scholarship to gain a fuller understanding of both ancient society and social status in the ancient world, as well as about the different dress types in use in antiquity.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Pass in a 1st or 2nd Level course in Ancient History, Classical Art and Archaeology, or Archaeology.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics related subject matter(at least 2 of which should be in Ancient History or Classical Art/Archaeology) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, in class discussion, coursework and examination as required, an understanding of the wide variety of dress styles worn in the various parts of the Roman Empire, including the ability not just to describe, but to analyse dress behaviour and what it tells us about the wearer in terms of individual and group identity;
  2. demonstrate, in class discussion, coursework and examination as required, an understanding of the uses of evidence of dress behaviour for ancient historians, particularly in the realm of social and cultural structures and processes, as well as familiarity with comparable examples from the modern period and the advantages and disadvantages of the comparative approach to classical study;
  3. demonstrate, in class discussion, coursework and examination as required, an understanding of the variety of identity groups an inhabitant of the Roman Empire could belong to;
  4. demonstrate, in class discussion, coursework and examination as required, an understanding of the specific challenges presented by the nature of specific types of sources and the quantities in which they are available, as well as the ability to compare the different source types (esp. written, pictorial and artefactual) and to make informed decisions about their use;
  5. demonstrate, in class discussion, coursework and examination as required, the ability to gather material independently on a given topic and organise it into a coherent data set.
Reading List
Bonfante, L. Etruscan Dress. Baltimore, 2003.
Brooke, I. Costume In Greek Classic Drama. London, 1962.
Croom, A.T. Roman Clothing and Fashion. Stroud and Charleston, 2000.
Llewellyn-Jones, L., and S. Blundell, edd., Women's Dress in the Ancient Greek World. London, Swansea, and Oakville, 2002.
Olson, K. Dress and the Roman Woman: Self-Presentation and Society. London and New York, 2008.
Sebesta, J.L. and L. Bonfante, L., edd., The World of Roman Costume. Madison, 1994.
Sichel, M. Costume of the Classical World. London, 1980.
Stone, L.M. Costume in Aristophanic Comedy. New York, 1981.
Symons, D.J. Costume of Ancient Greece. London, 1987.
Symons, D.J. Costume of Ancient Rome. London, 1987.
Wilson, L.M. The Clothing of the Ancient Romans. Baltimore, 1938.
Wilson, L.M. The Roman Toga. Baltimore, 1924.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements In order for a student from outwith Classics to be enrolled on this course, contact must be made with a Course Secretary on 50 3580 in order for approval to be obtained.
KeywordsDress / Ancient World
Course organiserDr Ulrike Roth
Tel: (0131 6)50 3586
Course secretaryMs Elaine Hutchison
Tel: (0131 6)50 3582
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