Undergraduate Course: Paganism and Christianity in the Roman Empire (CACA10007)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course aims to provide an introduction of the religious diversity across the Roman Empire, covering classical and native deities in various part of the Empire, oriental cults and the religious veneration of natural phenomena. The contribution material evidence can make to our understanding of ancient religion, complementing written sources, will feature prominently. Whilst focusing on pagan religion more than Christianity, the early spread and reasons for the success of this religion, which was to shape the medieval and post-medieval history of the West, will also be explored.
The Roman Empire, stretching from Britain and the Atlantic coast of Gaul and the Iberian Peninsula in the west to eastern Anatolia, the Syrian Desert and Egypt in the east, was arguably the most cosmopolitan state the western world had ever seen. This is reflected in the astonishing diversity of divine powers venerated within the Empire, ranging from the classical pantheon and a myriad of native gods and goddesses to Oriental deities, from divine powers in human guise to sacred animals. Religious sites included public and private temples in major towns and cities as well as pilgrimage centres and healing sanctuaries in remote locations. Natural phenomena equally enjoyed religious veneration, notably sacred springs, rivers, lakes, trees and mountains. With few exceptions (such as Christianity, Druidism and Manichaeism) the individual had almost unlimited freedom of choice. It was also mainly within the Empire that Christianity grew from a persecuted minority cult to a world religion, a development which has shaped history to the present day. Religion in the Roman Empire can help us to understand the modern world, both because important developments originated then and because the cosmopolitan nature of Roman religion provides a useful analogy for our own time.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting 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?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||800-1,000 word Handout (40%)
2,500-3,300 word Essay (60%)
||Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of major deities, cults, types of sanctuaries and rituals within the Roman world;
- demonstrate knowledge of important religious developments in the area of the Empire between the late Republic and Late Antiquity;
- demonstrate an awareness of some significant regional differences in religion within various parts of the Roman world;
- use critically a variety of different categories of material and written evidence to reconstruct religious phenomena;
- demonstrate bibliographical research skills to be able to find independently additional information on Roman religion in its wider context.
|Beard, M., North, J. and Price, S., 1998 Religions of Rome, Cambridge (2 volumes).|
Cancik, H. and Rüpke J. (eds), 1997. Römische Reichsreligion und Provinzialreligion, Tübingen.
Clauss, M., 2000 The Roman Cult of Mithras, the God and his mysteries, Edinburgh.
Frankfurter, D., 1998b Religion in Roman Egypt, Assimilation and Resistance, Princeton and Chichester.
Henig, M., 1984 Religion in Roman Britain, London.
Kolrud, K. and Prusac, M. (eds), 2014 Iconoclasm from Antiquity to the Modernity, Farnham and Burlington.
Lavan, L. and Mulryan, M. (eds), 2011 The Archaeology of Late Antique "Paganism", Leiden.
Lexicon iconographicum mythologiae classicae, Zürich, 1981-1994 (7 volumes).
Martens, M. and De Boe, G. (eds), 2004 Roman Mithraism: the Evidence of the Small Finds. Papers of the international conference/ Bijdragen van het internationaal congres, Tienen 7-8 November 2001. Brussels: Archeologie in Vlaanderen Monografie 4.
Sauer, E., 2003 The Archaeology of Religious Hatred in the Roman and early medieval world, Stroud.
Snyder, G. F., 1985 Ante Pacem: Archaeological Evidence of Church Life before Constantine, Mercer.
Trombley, F. R., 1993-1994 Hellenic Religion and Christianization c. 370-529 1-2, Religions in the Graeco-Roman World (ÉPRO) 115/1, Leiden, New York and Cologne.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Prof Eberhard Sauer
Tel: (0131 6)50 3587
|Course secretary||Miss Sara Dennison
Tel: (0131 6)50 2501