CL3NH-History, Culture and Society in the time of Nero

Module Provider: Classics
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Andreas Gavrielatos


Type of module:

Summary module description:

Nero’s personality has inspired the arts for centuries and has been one of the most influential figures of Roman history and through its reception of the modern world as well. He has been extensively portrayed in literature with abundant references in poetry, historiography etc.  Moreover, his idiosyncratic character has provoked a series of anecdotes, micro-histories and rumours that survived until later times and shaped his legacy. Himself a poet and Hellenophile, he’s better known as a maniac, the one who burnt Rome and condemned writers and philosophers to death.


To investigate, compare, and critique primary sources as data, in order to analyse them in order to produce reports and interpret historical events and social structures and changes effectively.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Identify appropriate sources for the purpose of understanding the ancient world

  • Analyse the social and historical context of primary sources

  • Distinguish biases in historiography, different perspectives of authors, the philosophical and the poetic principles that affect one’s evaluation, presentation and narration of events, views and perceptions of common people and lower social strata, the power of personal propaganda and the use of the image and tradition for these purpose

  • Collect data and manage them for the development of individual approaches and understanding

  • Collect historical data to relate them with and address diachronic political and social issues, such as oppression, mass culture, freedom of speech, resistance

  • Critically evaluate ancient and modern approaches to the events of the period under study and their impact

  • Produce reports based on a synthesis of data and information

demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others; the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence

Additional outcomes:

Students will learn to utilize appropriate online sources and big collections of primary sources. They will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources including bibliographies and they will practice the composition of reports. Students are also encouraged to develop their oral skills through oral presentations in the lectures (not compulsory).

Outline content:

In this module, we attempt to tackle the ancient sources for Nero’s reign (AD 54-68), examine and evaluate literary, archaeological, and epigraphic sources, and use the collected data to understand and interpret the impact of his rule. We will address among others the issues of freedom of speech, resistance, and propaganda, and we will examine how political and social situations affect cultural developments. The main primary sources will be the works of Suetonius, Tacitus, Cassius Dio, and Seneca, with parallel extracts from Lucan and Persius.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is comprised of two contact hours per week in lectures and regular meetings with the module convenor. The lectures will include powerpoint presentations and videos. The assessment will involve three short reports (500 words) in weeks 3, 5, and 7 with applied feedback and an essay submitted at the end of term.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 67
Report 33

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

An essay to be submitted on Thursday of Week 11 (Autumn term) and three short essays (500 words) due in Weeks 3, 5, and 7.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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