AR2R8-Rome's Mediterranean Empire

Module Provider: Archaeology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Souter


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will explore the phenomenon of Roman urbanism and broader aspects of the Empire through detailed analysis of archaeology, architecture and iconography at a range of geographically-diverse sites: case studies will include those on Rome, Pompeii, Paestum, Lepcis Magna, Merida and Athens, thereby providing students with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of leading cities of the Roman world while addressing broad themes such as cultural exchanges and stylistic developments. We will also examine the means by which urban landscapes were used to communicate Roman ideology and provincial munificence. Other aspects to explore include housing and evidence for everyday life in the urban environment. Essays and group discussion will prepare students to discuss issues of chronology, technique, and style in art and architecture; we will also address overarching issues through the reading and discussion of current and previous scholarly articles in these fields.


The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the particular character of the archaeological, architectural, documentary, and visual evidence for the Roman presence in the Italian Peninsula and provinces around the Mediterranean (Republic through to the early 4th century AD). Students will learn to interrogate the theoretical and methodological means through which scholars have approached Roman material culture.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

• recognise and evaluate the main types of archaeological evidence for the period.

• identify social, cultural, material and visual developments within the Roman world corresponding to the Mediterranean area and environs.

• recognise and critically evaluate current theoretical approaches to and interpretations of the period.

• organise material and to articulate arguments effectively in writing through assessed coursework.

Additional outcomes:

The module aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills, team working and problem-solving in group seminars, and students will have the opportunity for self-directed study.

Outline content:

This module traces the development of Rome from its beginning on the Italian peninsula through its expansion into the Mediterranean. Lectures will chronologically situate broad themes such as cultural exchanges, stylistic developments, and the roles of material culture. Case studies will be drawn from major sites such as Rome, Pompeii, Ostia, Athens and Aphrodisias. Essays will prepare students to discuss issues of chronology, technique, and style in art and architecture. We will also address overarching issues and themes in archaeology, ancient history and art history through the reading and discussion of current scholarly articles in these fields. Recommended Core Texts: Kleiner, F. S. (2007). A History of Roman Art. Belmont, C A, Thomson Wadsworth. Cornell, Tim and John Mathews (1982) Atlas of the Roman World. Phaidon Press. Austin, M M (1981). The Hellenistic World from Alexander to the Roman Conquest: A Selection of Ancient Sources in Translation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mary Beard and John Henderson (2001). Classical Art: From Greece to Rome Clarke, J. R. (2006). Art in the lives of Ordinary Romans: Visual Representation and Non-Eite Viewers in Italy, 100 B.C - A.D 315. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, University of California Press. Elsner, J. (1998). Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph: The Art of the Roman Empire AD 100-450. New York, Oxford University Press. Pollitt, J. J. (2001). The Art of Rome c. 753 B.C.-A.D. 337. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Wallace-Hadrill, A. (2008) Rome's Cultural Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mitchell, S. (2007). A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641: The Transformation of the Ancient World. Malden, MA ; Oxford Blackwell. Woolf, G., ed., (2003). Cambridge Illustrated History of the Roman World Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Introductory reading:

Beard, M., and Henderson, J., 2001. Classical Art. From Greece to Rome..

Claridge, A., 1998. Rome: an Archaeological Guide.

Coulston, J., and Dodge, H., (eds.) 2000. Ancient Rome. The Archaeology of the Eternal City.

Elsner, J., 1998. Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph.

Huskinson, J., (ed.) 2000. Experiencing Rome: culture, identity and power in the Roman Empire.

Kleiner, F. S., 2010. A History of Roman Art.

Sear, F., 1989. Roman Architecture.

Global context:
This module introduces students to the cultural history and material culture of the Mediterranean region as well as North Africa, the Near East, and Europe.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Illustrated lectures, group seminars, structured group discussions and debates requiring preparatory reading. Students will write and submit two pieces of coursework.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 15
Seminars 5
Guided independent study: 180
Total hours by term 20 2
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will write a second piece of coursework of 2000 words.

Relative percentage of coursework: 40%.

Students will write one essay of 3000 words.

Relative percentage of coursework: 60%

Formative assessment methods:
Students will peer-review essay outlines and bibliographies for the final essay.

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:
    Mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August / September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 8 April 2019


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