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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Roman Imperial Monuments (PGHC11143)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on the 'official art' of the Roman empire through the study of a selection of the large monuments erected by and to commemorate the achievements of Roman emperors from Augustus to Constantine, both in Rome and elsewhere in the empire. The design, iconography of the decoration and the impact on the intended audience is considered for each monument.
Course description The course examines the various monuments erected by emperors or in their honour, from the point of view of their architectural forms, locations, and decorative schemes. In each case the 'message' intended is considered in relation to contemporary concerns and their audience(s). The monuments include: the Ara Pacis Augustae; the Ara Pietatis; the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius; the arches of Titus, Septimius Severus and Constantine at Rome; the Tropaeum Traiani at Adamklissi and Arch of Septimius Severus at Lepcis Magna. In each case the emperor's policies and interests (as revealed, for example, by coin designs) are considered alongside the iconography of the monuments, illustrating developments and changes over time: some themes such as the celebration of victory remain constant, but others such as the succession and harmony in the imperial household fluctuate. The ways in which messages are geared to different audiences (Romans, provincials, the army, for example) also play an important part in the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
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 their essay(s) and contribution to discussion in class a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning representative examples of Roman imperial monuments
  2. Demonstrate in their essay(s) and contribution to discussion in class an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the meaning of key motifs and themes in relation to the policies and concerns of the relevant emperors whose monuments are studied
  3. Demonstrate in their essay(s) and contribution to discussion in class an ability to understand and apply specialised research skills, techniques and practices considered in the course such as the orderly description and analysis of monuments, with the recognition and interpretation of commonly used motifs
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in their essay(s) and contributions to class discussion by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course;
  5. Demonstrate in their essay(s) and contribution to discussion in class originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy.
Reading List
E. Angelicoussis, "The Panel Reliefs of Marcus Aurelius", Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archaologischen Instituts. Römische Abteilung 1984 pp.142-205.

B. Berenson, The Arch of Constantine and the Decline of Form 1954.

R. Brilliant, The Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum (Memoirs of the American Academy at Rome) XXIX 1967.

I.M.Ferris, Hate and War: the Column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome, Stroud 2009

N. Hannestad, Roman Art and Imperial Policy Aarhus 1986

V. Huet, "Stories one might tell of Roman art: reading Trajan's column and the Tiberius cup", ch. 1 in J. Elsner, ed. Art and Text in Roman Culture 1996.

D.E.E. Kleiner, "The Great Friezes of the Ara Pacis Augustae", in Mélanges de l'École de France en Rome, Antiquité 1978, pp. 753-85

A.M. Leander Touati, The Great Trajanic Frieze: The Study of a Monument and of the Mechanism of Message Transmission in Roman Art 1987

M.S. Pond Rotham, "The Thematic Organisation of the Panel Reliefs on the Arch of Galerius" American Journal of Archaeology 1977 pp. 417-54.

M. Torelli, Typology and Structure of Roman Historical Reliefs 1982

K. Zachos, "The tropaeum of Augustus at Nikopolis" in Journal of Roman Archaeology 16 2003, pp. 64-92.

P. Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus 1988/1990
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsRoman Imperial Monuments
Course organiserDr Glenys Davies
Tel: (0131 6)50 3592
Course secretaryMr Gordon Littlejohn
Tel: (0131 6)50 3782
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