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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Empresses and Others: Women of Imperial Rome (Online) (PGHC11573)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course will look at the women associated with the emperors -- mothers, wives, daughters and siblings -- from the reign of Augustus to the third century CE. We will consider their backgrounds, influence, and legacy; the study will be chronological, looking at the dynasties in succession, alongside such key themes as image, deification and damnatio memoriae.
Course description This course will provide the opportunity to study imperial women -- that is, the women related to the emperor -- and their influence at court. The period covered will be from the reign of Augustus to the third century CE. We will look at the ways in which these women were represented not only in the ancient literary sources but also in the public-facing material evidence, in particular coinage where possible, in order to provide a more balanced picture. Themes to be examined include the acquisition of titles such as Augusta, the involvement of these women in conspiracies against the emperor, their public image and their treatment after death (i.e. deification and damnatio memoriae). The course will involve the inter-relation of a wide variety of different types of evidence and the development of the skills required to interpret these in the construction of a history of the women behind the emperors.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Empresses and Others: Women of Imperial Rome (ANHI10052)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics, History or 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.

** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop and sustain scholarly arguments in written form by formulating appropriate questions and by selecting and utilising relevant evidence.
  2. Understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material and different scholarly approaches to it.
  3. Reflect critically on the significance of the women studied and the ways in which they influenced the activities of the court.
Reading List
Barrett, A.A. (2002) Livia: First Lady of Imperial Rome. London.

Bielman Sánchez, Anne (ed.) (2019) Power Couples in Antiquity: Transversal Perspectives. London.

Boatwright, Mary T. (1991) 'The imperial women of the early second century AD', AJPh 112: 513-40.

Boatwright, Mary T. (2021) Power, Gender, Context: Imperial Women of Rome. Oxford.

Brennan, T. Corey (2018) Sabina Augusta. An Imperial Journey. Oxford.

Ginsburg, Judith (2006) Representing Agrippina: Constructions of Female Power in the Early Roman Empire. Oxford.

Hemelrijk, E.H. (1999) Matrona Docta: Educated Women in the Roman Elite from Cornelia to Julia Domna. London.

Langford, Julie (2013) Maternal Megalomania: Julia Domna and the Imperial Politics of Motherhood. Baltimore.

Schultz, Celia E. (2021) Fulvia: Playing for Power at the End of the Roman Republic. Oxford.

Setälä P. et al (eds), Women, Wealth and Power in the Roman Empire. Rome.

Varner, E.R. (2001) 'Portraits, plots and politics: damnatio memoriae and the images of imperial women, Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 46: 41-93.

Wood, Susan (1999) Imperial Women: A Study in Public Images. 40BC - AD68. Leiden.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Assimilate, process and communicate a wide range of information from a variety of sources.

Process and critically assess information derived from historical research, utilising theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills specific to the subject area.

Provide clear written and oral analyses based on historical information.

Master practical skills in accessing and interpreting historical sources.

Construct and pursue a coherent argument driven by analysis of the primary source material.

Analyse, assimilate and deploy critically a range of secondary literature relevant and essential to the student's individual research subject.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sandra Bingham
Tel: (0131 6)50 6689
Course secretary
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