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

Undergraduate Course: The Roman Games (ANHI10066)

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 survey the Roman games, from their murky origins in the early Republic to their eventual cessation under the Christian emperors of 5th century. Students will learn about the details of Roman hunts and gladiatorial combat and those that fought and competed in the arena. They will study too those that organised and hosted these showcase events, and the phenomenal logistics and infrastructure that enabled them to do so across the Mediterranean.
Course description The course offers focussed study of the development of the games at Rome. Most importantly, students will look at the games as one mechanism by which Rome managed its empire through mobilising local elites and cultural capital. The course will look at both the grand spectacle of the Colosseum's flagship games - and the opportunities they provided for emperors and plebeians alike - as well as the local shows that echoed them throughout the provinces, both of which are representative of many of the key principles and mechanisms of the Roman imperial project.

A typical class schedule may look like this:

Class 1: Introduction: Why the Games?
Class 2: The Games in the Republic
Class 3: The Games under the Emperors: Part 1
Class 4: The Games under the Emperors: Part 2
Class 5: Gladiatorial combat
Class 6: Death and/in Roman society
Class 7: Games and social status
Class 8: Games across the Empire
Class 9: The Games and Roman 'empire'
Class 10: The Games and Christianity
Class 11: Conclusion: Rome and Games.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Ancient History 2a: Past and Present in the Ancient World (ANHI08014) AND Ancient History 2b: Themes and Theories in Ancient History (ANHI08013)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students should have passed 'Ancient History 2A' and 'Ancient History 2B' (or at Course Organiser's discretion).
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 through group discussion, coursework and written examination knowledge and informed understanding of the history, nature and social and political role of the Roman Games;
  2. demonstrate through group discussion, coursework and written examination an appreciation of the range of historical, literary, archaeological, architectural and art historical evidence that reveal the Games to us, and how this diversity allows us to approach the topic from multiple angles
  3. demonstrate through group discussion, coursework and written examination an appreciation of the importance of investigating the nature and origins of ancient evidence and the ability to critically assess it;
  4. demonstrate through group discussion, coursework and written examination knowledge and informed understanding of a range of secondary scholarship relating to the Roman Games, including seminal studies of the last century and cutting edge research;
  5. demonstrate through group discussion, coursework and written examination an appreciation of how to read, judge and use this secondary scholarship in relation to the primary evidence.
Reading List
Chase, R. 2002. Ancient Hellenistic and Roman Amphitheaters, Stadiums, and Theaters: The Way They Look Now. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Edmondson, J.C. 1996. "Dynamic Arenas: Gladiatorial Presentations in the City of Rome and the Construction of Roman Society in the Early Empire," in W. Slater, ed., Roman Theater and Society: 69-112. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Edwards, C. 2007. Death in Ancient Rome. New Haven: Yale University Press (chapter 2).
Futrell, A. 2006. The Roman Games: A Sourcebook. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Futrell, A., 1997. Blood in the Arena: The Spectacle of Roman Power. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Hopkins, K., 1983. Death and Renewal. Sociological Studies in Roman History II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hopkins, K., and M. Beard. 2005. The Colosseum. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Kyle, Donald, 1998. Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome. New York: Routledge.
Plass, Paul, 1995. The Game of Death in Ancient Rome: Arena Sport and Political Suicide. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Potter, D.S., and D. J. Mattingly, eds., 1999. Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Welch, K. 2007. The Roman Amphitheatre from its Origins to the Colosseum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wiedemann, T., 1992. Emperors and Gladiators. New York: Routledge.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsRoman Games
Course organiserDr James Corke-Webster
Tel: (0131 6)50 3579
Course secretary
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