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

Undergraduate Course: Custodians of Empire: The Praetorian Guard (ANHI10034)

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 examine the praetorian guard from its establishment to its demise in AD 312, considering aspects as diverse as the physical make-up of the unit and the political influence that it had in Rome.

Course description The praetorian guard was an elite Roman military force, in existence for over three hundred years. Adapted from a republican institution by Augustus, it was in essence the personal army of the emperor, and, within a very short time, was also responsible for specialised military tasks and for various administrative duties in Rome. Topics to be considered include the background to the praetorians; their role as bodyguard; their use in civic duties in the capital (e.g. policing the games); and finally the more nefarious duties to which they were assigned on behalf of the emperor (e.g. spying and executions).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Ancient History 2a: Past and Present in the Ancient World (ANHI08014)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Passing Ancient History 2a (ANHI08014) is compulsory, unless at the discretion of the Course Organiser.
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) 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, by way of written examination and course work as well as in class discussion, an understanding of the military and political character of the praetorian guard throughout the period of the Empire;
  2. demonstrate, by way of written examination and course work as well as in class discussion, an understanding of the ways in which the guard interacted with various institutions in Rome and beyond;
  3. demonstrate, by way of written examination and course work as well as in class discussion, an understanding of the interaction of various sources of evidence (literary, epigraphic and archaeological) in the construction of an historical understanding of the guard.
Reading List
* Austin, N.J.E. & N.B. Rankov (1995) Exploratio: Military and Political Intelligence in the Roman World from the Second Punic War to the Battle of Adrianople. London
* Berriman, A. et al (2001) 'A very Roman coup: the hidden war of imperial succession, AD 96-8', Historia 50.3: 312-331
* Bingham, S.J. (2013) The Praetorian Guard: A History of Rome's Elite Special Forces. London
* Bingham, S.J. (2003) 'Life on an island', Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History 11: 376-400
* Bingham, S.J. (1999) 'Security at the games in the early imperial period' EMC 18.3: 369-379
* Coulston, J. (2000) ' "Armed and belted men": the soldiery in imperial Rome', in J. Coulston and H. Dodge (eds.), Ancient Rome: the Archaeology of the Eternal City. Oxford: 76-118
* Durry, M. (1938) Les Cohortes Prétoriennes. Paris
* Le Bohec, Y. (1994) The Imperial Roman Army. Batsford
* Passerini, A.(1939) Le Coorti Pretorie. Rome
* Speidel, M.P. (1994) Riding for Caesar. London

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements In order for a student from outwith Classics to be enrolled, contact must be made with a Classics Secretary on 50 3580 for approval to be obtained.
KeywordsPraetorian Guard
Course organiserDr Sandra Bingham
Tel: (0131 6)50 6689
Course secretaryMiss Stephanie Blakey
Tel: (0131 6)68 8261
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