CAH1013 : The Road to Empire: Roman History 510-31 BC

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Federico Santangelo
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module covers an extensive period and is intended to provide students with a wideranging narrative of the history of the Roman Republic and an introductory critical discussion of the source material, both literary and not. It will focus on a particular range of key problems:

1) The value of the tradition on early Rome
2) The nature of the Republican political system: the Greek historian, Polybius, described the Republic as an ideal blend of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. Was he right?
3) Roman imperialism: Why did Rome fight so many wars? A central theme will be how Rome came to dominate the Mediterranean world.
4) Why did the Republic fall into crisis in the first century B.C.? Why was there so much violence? Why did an autocracy emerge after the Civil Wars?

This module aims to provide an opportunity to acquire a general knowledge of the subject, reading widely and critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it and to develop the capacity for independent study. It also sets out to provide an opportunity for investigating in some depth selected problems, including the appraisal of selected source material and the critical examination of current historiography.

Outline Of Syllabus

In outline the history of the Roman Republic from 510-31 B.C.
In some detail: the nature of the political system of the Roman Republic, the nature of Roman Imperialism, the causes of the collapse of the republican system in the 1st Century B.C.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion751:0075:0045% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading751:0075:0045% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching32:006:00Reading classes
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study141:0014:0010% of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire and they stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.
Seminars and workshops allow an opportunity for teamwork and discussion and promote improvements in oral communication

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A75N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M251,500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

1. The essay assignment assesses knowledge and understanding of some key evidence, the ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject, and the ability to expound and criticize a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space.

2. The unseen examination tests the students' acquisition of a clear and general and overall knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

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

All exchange students at Newcastle University including Erasmus, study-abroad, exchange proper and Loyola are warmly encouraged to do the same assessment as the domestic students unless they have compelling reasons not to do so. If this is the case, they are offered the option of writing one 3,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all assessment work required of domestic students. If they wish to take up this option, students need to discuss it with their module leader, having checked with their home university that the new assessment will be accepted by them.

Students who opt for the alternative assessment because they will have to leave Newcastle University before the assessment period (excluding Erasmus students, who are contractually obliged to be at Newcastle until the end of the semester) should hand in their 3000-word essays before they go away. If this is not possible, they should tell the School exchange coordinator that they are going to submit their essays in absentia, then submit their essays through Blackboard and email copies of the essays to the School Office ( Any essay received after the deadline will be considered as a late submission.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.