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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Classical Art/Classical Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Roman Propaganda: The Archaeological and Artistic Evidence (CACA10005)

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 is concerned with the "official" or "public" art of the Roman world: the major monuments erected by the emperors in Rome and the provinces; imperial portraits; coins which advertise aspects if imperial policy; minor arts which express imperial ideology. The period covered stretches from the rivalry of aristocratic families in the late Republic to the death of Constantine.
Course description The course begins with a consideration of what we mean by 'propaganda' and the question whether it is appropriate to use it of Roman official art: some scholars would prefer to talk about the "expression of ideology", and others doubt that the emperors used art in such a calculated way that it could be defined as a "propaganda campaign". Throughout the course we shall consider the motivation behind and the effects of this official art: students can decide for themselves whether it really does deserve to be called "propaganda". The course traces the different concerns expressed by and reflected in the art and architecture produced by the various imperial regimes, starting with the first emperor Augustus, who played an important role in exploring and establishing the ways art could be used to advertise the issues and policies of his day. The high visibility of the imperial portrait (both statues and on coins) meant that there was scope for manipulating popular opinion of the emperor through this image, and these changing styles are explored in the course. Victory in warfare was also advertised on many major monuments (best known are the arches of Titus and Septimius Severus and the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius), but administrative policies were also commemorated through the reliefs used on monuments and coin images. The imperial succession was a significant issue for Augustus and many later emperors, and for this reason empresses also appear in portraiture and coins. The course begins and ends with two of the best known Roman monuments: the Ara Pacis of Augustus and the Arch of Constantine.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Classical Art 2A: The Development of Greek and Roman Art (CACA08009)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
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 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, by way of coursework and examination , command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material, especially art historical and other material evidence ;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
S. Dillon and K. E Welch (eds.), Representations of War in Ancient Rome 2006
Jane Evans, The Art of Persuasion. Political Propaganda from Aeneas to Brutus
1992 Ch 2 and 6
Iain Ferris, Hate and War. The Column of Marcus Aurelius Stroud 2009
N. Hannestad, Roman Art and Imperial Policy Aarhus1986
D.E.E. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture 1992
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
C. Rowan, "Imaging the Golden Age: the Coinage of Antoninus Pius". Papers of the British School at Rome LXXXI 2013 pp. 211-246.
R.R.R. Smith, "The imperial reliefs from the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias", in Journal of Roman Studies 1987, pp. 88-138.
" "Similacra gentium: the ethne from the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias" in Journal of Roman Studies 1988 pp. 50-77.
M. Torelli, Typology and Structure of Roman Historical Reliefs 1982
P. Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus 1988/1990
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsRoman Propaganda
Course organiserDr Glenys Davies
Tel: (0131 6)50 3592
Course secretaryMiss Stephanie Blakey
Tel: (0131 6)68 8261
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