Skip to main content

Module

ARA8128 : Armies and Frontiers of the Roman Empire

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rob Collins
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The module will provide students with an advanced knowledge of the Roman Empire’s armies and frontiers from the 1st-5th centuries AD.

This module draws upon Newcastle University’s exceptional history of research into the armies and frontiers of the Roman Empire. It capitalizes on both the University’s proximity to Hadrian’s Wall, the most famous stretch of the Roman frontier works in the world, and its extensive archival holdings with data on the Danubian, North African and Eastern Provinces. The module examines both the unifying and divergent attributes of provincial armies, frontier communities, and frontier zones. In so doing it emphasizes the importance of frontier studies to our understanding of the Empire as a whole. The frontiers of the Roman Empire emerge not as remote and marginal zones, but as some of the most dynamic regions in the provinces, enjoying a distinct and privileged relationship with the heart of the Empire. Furthermore, frontiers are amongst the most intensively studied areas of the Roman world. Students will develop advanced knowledge of key imperial frontier regions.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following are some of the central topics typically included in lectures and non-synchronous materials:
1. What is a Roman frontier?
2. Archaeologies of the Roman Army
3. Comparative Approaches to Roman Frontier Studies
4. Barbarians (and Persians)!
5. Archaeologies of Conflict
6. Frontier Economics
7. The Final Frontiers
8. Frontier Case Studies (Britain; Rhine; Danube; Near East; North Africa)

Aligned with lectures and non-synchronous materials, the following are some of topics typically included in seminars:
A. Military identities and communities
B. Ethnicity
C. Violence in our sources
D. Supplying military garrisons
E. Decline, Collapse, or Transformation
F. Interrogating excavation reports
G. Resources for the study of frontiers and Roman soldiers

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:001 lecture per week
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Supporting materials (e.g. 1 hr lecture recordings p/w counts as contact time)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion651:0065:00For 3 assessment components. 40 hrs for essay. 12.5 hrs each for x2 wiki entries.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading331:0033:003 hours reading per lecture
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical18:008:001 8-hour practical fieldtrip to be held during enrichment week.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:001 seminar per week, with the exception of the first and last weeks.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities361:0036:004 hours prep tasks per seminar
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study251:0025:00General consolidation activities
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:001 talk offered in the first week, 1 offered in the last week.
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Synchronous lectures and non-synchronous lecture materials will introduce topics and provide expert orientation and exposition on a broad range of themes and issues, supplemented by the module reading list. In-person lectures will provide opportunities for dialogue, while lecture materials can be reviewed at any time across the week and revisited numerous times afterwards. In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to present recorded materials asynchronously and retain timetabled slots for live discussion of these materials.

Synchronous seminars will also consolidate the learning progress from lectures, lecture materials, and weekly readings by enabling students to focus on connected issues and material in greater depth. Seminars will be student-led and facilitated by teaching staff, and will hinge upon group discussion and debate about materials circulated in advance (for example, sets of evidence, scholarship, and questions). In the event that on-campus sessions need to be reduced, there is the capacity to hold live seminar discussions online and retain timetabled slots.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A702,500 words (plus tables and appendices)
Report2M15Report wiki, part 1: 750 words (plus tables and appendices); submission timeline and feedback provides formative good practice
Report2M15Report wiki, part 2: 750 words (plus tables and appendices); submission timeline and feedback provides formative good practice
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Essay - 2,500 words (plus tables, illustrations, and appendices) in the form of a critical essay assessing and synthesising current thinking of a specified frontier (or portion of frontier) to be agreed by the Module Leader.

Report (wiki-style) parts 1 & 2 - 750 words each (plus tables, illustrations and appendices) in the form of a concise report assessing comparable to an encyclopaedia entry and synthesising current thinking on site or monument (part 1) and a piece or type of material culture (part 2) to be agreed with the Module Leader. Submission of part 1 (by end of week 3) and part 2 (by end of week 7) are intended to provide best practice of formative assessment to the students, while still contributing to total marks (summative assessment).

The task of completing an essay and 2 wiki entries that synthesis information across a number of sites and evidence from multiple media challenges students' understanding of the research process, proper use of archaeological resources, and their knowledge of particular research agendas as well as site-specific details. The exercises prepare them for the type of data-summary and analysis that would be expected of anyone entering the archaeological or heritage profession.

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

All of the assessments for this module will be submitted and marked online.

Reading Lists

Timetable