Undergraduate

modules

Modules

CAC3061 : Kings and Commonwealths: Roman Republicanism from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment

Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The pursuit of the ‘ideal constitution’ has occupied political theorists throughout the centuries. One of the most regularly invoked and most powerful visions of this elusive ideal constitution from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment was the Roman Republic. But why and how did this ancient exemplar come to exercise such influence on the history of political thought in the West? In this module we will begin with an introduction to the evidence and theories of ‘Roman Republicanism’, considering both the historical evidence and the discussions provided by Polybius and Cicero. A full overview of the fate of this intellectual tradition will follow, moving from Leonardo Bruni’s History of the Florentine People in the early fifteenth century, to Machiavelli, to the English Republicans including John Milton and James Harrington, and concluding with Rousseau’s Social Contract. The detailed analysis of these texts will be combined with consideration of overall themes and issues, such as the importance of the mixed constitution, particularly as a protection against tyranny, the role of virtue in politics and the related development of civic humanism, the location of sovereignty, and the protection of liberty. Throughout the module the issue of the processes by which the adaptation of an ancient intellectual tradition into Western culture was made possible will be kept at the forefront of our investigations.

Outline Of Syllabus

Our survey of the fate of Roman Republicanism will include:
• An introduction to the origins and development of Roman Republicanism
• An overview of its fate in late antiquity and the Middle Ages
• Leonardo Bruni and the Civic Humanists of Renaissance Florence
• Machiavelli and the Florentine Republic
• The Classical Republicans and the English Civil War (including John Milton and James Harrington)
• English political thought in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution
• A look forward to its importance to the Founding Fathers in America

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion661:0066:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading661:0066:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:0020% of guided independent study
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will:
• Provide the information necessary to equip the student for further independent study.
• Introduce the texts, and guide the student in approaching analysis of the texts by examining their historical and cultural context, and their key themes and ideas.
• Introduce the major themes and issues of the topic, and the appropriate methodologies for approaching them.
• Recommend appropriate secondary reading material for further independent study.
The seminars will:
• Provide the opportunity for the student to develop their own skills in textual analysis, argument, and the oral presentation of their ideas.
• Offer the forum in which students may advance their own ideas on the material in preparation for the assessed essay.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502500 words on a topic chosen from a list provided
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exams test acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

Essays tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.

Reading Lists

Timetable