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

Postgraduate Course: Roman villas (PGHC11366)

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 will provide an in-depth examination of Roman villas in different rural landscapes across the west of the empire. Villas facilitated essential agricultural production for the Roman world, but also functioned as luxury rural retreats for the urban elite. We will examine villas in the literary and archaeological records, and consider such issues as the definition of a 'villa', the architectural typology of villas, their ownership and function, and how they contributed to the Roman economy.
Course description From the Republican period through Late Antiquity, villas were a common feature of the rural Roman world, particularly in the West. These estates, often owned by elite Romans, were characteristically comprised of luxurious houses replete with mosaics, painted walls, and other works of art, alongside substantial tracts of land devoted to large-scale agricultural production. Villas are therefore important in both social and economic terms; they were the embodiment of the interrelated aspects of otium and negotium, a view that is evidenced both by ancient literary texts and the archaeological record. This course draws on archaeological and historical material to investigate the function of villas in the Roman world addressing issues such the initial development of villa estates within Italy, the spread of villas throughout the provinces, the labour requirements and labour force of villas, the productive impact of villas and their place within the Roman economy, and the role of luxury and leisure in the Roman villa.
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 coursework, seminar discussion and presentation a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the history and archaeology of Roman villas
  2. Demonstrate in coursework, seminar discussion and presentation an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the development and function of Roman villas, primary source materials concerning ancient textual sources related to villa life and the archaeological evidence of villas, and conceptual discussions about the interrelated facets of society and economy
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in coursework, seminar discussion and presentation by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate in coursework, seminar discussion and presentation 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
Becker, J.A. and N. Terrenato, 2012. Roman republican villas: architecture, context, and ideology (Michigan)

D'Arms, J.H., 1970. Romans on the Bay of Naples: a social and cultural study of the villas and their owners, from 150 B.C. to A.D. 400 (Harvard)

Ellis, S.P., 2000. Roman Housing (Duckworth)

Johnston, D., 1983. Roman villas (Shire)

Marzano, A.M., 2007. Roman villas in central Italy: a social and economic history (Brill)

MacKay, A.G., 1975. Houses, villas and palaces in the Roman world (Thames and Hudson)

Painter, K., (ed.), 1980. Roman villas in Italy: recent excavation and research (British Museum)

Percival, J., 1976. The Roman villa: an historical introduction (Batsford)

Smith, J.T., 1997. Roman Villas: a study in social structure (Routledge)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsRoman Villas
Course organiserDr Candace Rice
Course secretaryMr Gordon Littlejohn
Tel: (0131 6)50 3782
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