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Roman Culture & Society

CX 110

‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’ (L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between) - however much modern culture is influenced by Roman architecture, literature, and law (to name but a few influences), the Roman world is no exception to this statement. This module seeks to explore what was distinctively ‘Roman’ about Roman culture and society, exploring Roman social structures and hierarchies. The module will cover topics from the late first century BC to the early third century AD.

This module introduces students to the study of Roman Culture and Society at university level. No prior knowledge is assumed. The module considers questions such as: What was distinctive about society and culture at Rome? To what extent can we widen our picture of society beyond the sphere of the élite, who dominate our literary sources? These issues will be explored through a whole range of source material (literature, archaeology, coins, inscriptions, art, and architecture) and students will be encouraged to form their own views on both the usefulness and drawbacks of painting a picture of Roman culture and society from them.

This module is suitable for anyone wishing to find out more about life in the Roman empire. It is a core module or optional core for first-year students in the Dept of Classics and Ancient History, and for students studying Italian and Classics or the Classics Pathway for Liberal Arts. No previous knowledge is assumed. It is taught during the autumn term and includes integrated academic study skills sessions alongside lectures. It is assessed via the submission of an assessed essay and academic skills portfolio.

This module is available in 2022/23. For full details, please consult the module pages on Moodle.

Module Convenor, 2022-23: Prof Alison Cooley

Trajan's Column, Rome