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CAH2017 : The Roman World from Hadrian to Heraclius

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Micaela Langellotti
  • Lecturer: Dr Rowland Smith
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The module aims to introduce students to a broad sweep of Roman history across centuries of crisis and transformation - political, military, religious and cultural. Continuing on from where CAH1015 (From Romulus to Trajan) finished, the period starts with Hadrian (AD117-138) and the empire at its zenith. The module will take the student through the significant shift from “Principate” to “Dominate”, the loss of the western provinces, the Justinianic “revival” and the catastrophic losses of the seventh century, taking the death of Heraclius (AD641) as a suitable terminus. Important themes will include, but are not limited to: the development of the emperor’s office and role; structures and strategies of Roman imperialism and responses to it; the shift of focus from Rome to Constantinople; religious transformation, especially the rise to dominance of monotheisms; cultural developments in literature and art, including the relationship of Greek and Latin; the “falls” of Rome; historiography of Rome and her legacy, ancient and modern.

Outline Of Syllabus

Themes and topics (the list below does not necessarily reflect the sequence and structure through which these are treated):

•Historiography (ancient and modern) and periodization.
•Ancient evidence, textual and material, and its interpretation.
•The development of the imperial office, powers and ceremonies, collegiate rule, dynasties, and succession.
•Imperial capitals and residences from Rome to Constantinople.
•Central administration and palatine offices, including imperial finance.
•The elites of the empire, senatorial and equestrian, imperial and local.
•Provinces and cities, local administration, and resistance to empire.
•Social life, law and citizenship.
•Religions in the empire, in particular the spread and establishment of Christianity across the Mediterranean and beyond, including topics such as Church Councils, bishops, monastic life, Christology.
•Armies and frontiers.
•Cultural life, including the relationship between Latin and Greek and other languages, and changes in literary and artistic traditions.
• Rivals and neighbours, particularly Parthia and Persia (2nd to 7th centuries).
• The successor states in the west (5th to 6th centuries)
• The rise of Islam and the great Arab conquests.
• The decline and fall of Rome or the transformation of the ancient world?

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:002 lectures per week
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion671:0067:00For two assessment components
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading113:0033:003 hours of reading per week
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00One hour per seminar
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities102:0020:002 hours preparation per seminar discussion
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity100:305:00Weekly Canvas quizzes
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study421:0042:00Student research activity related to the topics introduced each week (e.g. reading lists).
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Introduction to the module
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide the students with a structured outline of core knowledge and methodologies that are essential for approaching the key historical topics of the module. They also offer the students the necessary instruments to independently analyse and discuss the primary evidence and secondary literature.
Seminars are specifically designed to provide the students with in-depth discussion and further analysis of a selected number of topics, issues, and pieces of primary evidence that have been presented in the lectures.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M50Source analysis (400 words) and essay (1500 words)
Written exercise2A50Source analysis (400 words) and essay (1500 words)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment2MMultiple choice quizzes relating to each week's topic will be posted on Canvas on a weekly basis.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assignments will allow, in the source analysis, the display of skills of source-criticism, while, in the essay part, extensive engagement with a major topic of the module and the development of considered and coherent arguments bolstered by critical use of appropriate detailed evidence and engagement with modern scholarship. The choice of passages and questions will mean that the students will have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding from across the breadth of the module.

The regular quizzes, one per week, conducted via Canvas, help consolidate learning and alert students to areas of weakness or lack of engagement.

Reading Lists