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

Undergraduate Course: The Emperor in the Late Roman World (ANHI10026)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course explores the developing political and religious role of the emperor in the Later Roman empire (284-565), as well as contemporary perceptions (especially, but not only, in literary texts) of emperors in the period.
Course description Roman emperors possessed and were seen to possess extraordinary personal power. But with a massive empire which took months to cross, and distant and varied subordinates with their own ambitions and agendas, emperors' room for action was always constrained and their personal survival often under threat. In the later Roman Empire (284-565), the presentation of the emperor became ever more grandiose, distant, and semi-divine; a vast and burgeoning bureaucratic state arose, and imperial patronage flowed through new channels, most notably Christian bishops. This course will look both at the individuals associated with these great changes, from Diocletian and Constantine through to Justinian, via characters like the pagan reactionary Julian and the teenage puppet Honorius; we will examine the developing elites of the period; we will look at what difference Christianity made, and at how subjects, great and humble, perceived and were expected to perceive the emperor.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed The Transformation of the Roman World, ca. 300-800: Towards Byzantium and the Early Medieval West (ANHI08015) OR Ancient History 2a: Past and Present in the Ancient World (ANHI08014) OR Ancient History 2b: Themes and Theories in Ancient History (ANHI08013) OR Classical Literature 2: Greek and Roman Epic (CLTR08008) OR Latin 2A (LATI08011) OR Latin 2B (LATI08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements It is recommended that students should have achieved a Pass mark in one of the above courses, or in a 20-credit History course, or equivalent experience at the 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 an understanding of the place of the emperors in the Roman empire of the late third to sixth centuries;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the changing perceptions of emperors in the period and the sources, literary and material, though which they are perceived;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the government of the late Roman state, the role of elites, and the effects of Christianisation;
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of trends within modern historical writing on Late Antiquity;
  5. Demonstrate bibliographical research skills for topics not taught directly.
Reading List
Ammianus Marcellinus: The Later Roman Empire AD 354-378 (W. Hamilton and A. Wallace-Hadrill, Harmondsworth, 1986)

P.R.L. Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity (Philadelphia, 1992)
R.M. Errington, Roman Imperial Policy from Julian to Theodosius (Chapel Hill, 2006)
L.H.C. Grig and G.A.J. Kelly (eds) Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity (New York, 2012)
A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire. A Social, Economic and Administrative Survey (3 vols., Oxford, 1964)
A.H.M. Jones, J.R. Martindale, and J. Morris, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire I. AD 260-395 (Cambridge, 1971)
C.M. Kelly, Ruling the Later Roman Empire (Cambridge, Mass., 2004)
J.F. Matthews, Western Aristocracies and Imperial Court (Oxford, 21992)
J.F. Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus (London, 1989; 2Ann Arbor, 2008)
S. Mitchell, The Later Roman Empire (Oxford, 2007)
D.S. Potter, The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180-395 (London, 2014)

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 Course Secretary on 50 3580 in order for approval to be obtained.
Course organiserDr Gavin Kelly
Tel: (0131 6)50 3581
Course secretaryMiss Katherine Shaw
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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