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Assessment Requirements

Assessment for the module for all students is 50% for work submitted during the module and 50% for a 2-hour exam in the May/June session of examinations. Overlap should be avoided between pre-submitted essays and the questions answered in the exam. Lack of breadth may be penalised.

Students are required to pass both parts of the module, achieving a minimum of 40% on both the assessed work during the module and on the exam.

• The exam will be divided into two parts: students will be required to comment on two 'gobbets' (from a choice of six) – one text and one artefact - illustrative of different aspects of Roman culture and society; to write two essays (from a choice of seven titles).

• Students are required to produce TWO essays during the module. The expected length for first-year assessed essays is between 2,250 and 2,500 words (including footnotes, but excluding bibliography). Students are required to declare a word count on the cover sheet. Essays will be penalized for being too short and those who have written too much risk being required to shorten the essay within 48 hours.. Use 12-point font and double-space your text.

Essays must include footnotes where appropriate, and a bibliography of works cited. They should be word-processed. Due attention should be given to literacy (both spelling and grammar). Titles and submission dates follow below. Please refer to the departmental handbook and the document ‘Advice on writing essays’ for further information about assessment criteria and marking.

General guidance on essay writing

  1. Presentation: your essay should contain accurate use of English expression; you will be penalised for poor presentation, including poor grammar and spelling.
  2. Clarity of analysis: your essay should be organised coherently on the basis of arguments; you will be penalised for work which is incoherent or which presents a mass of amorphous material. The case the student is arguing should be clear to the assessor in every paragraph - don't fall automatically into a chronological arrangement of your material, or a line by line examination of a text, unless you are making a specific point, narrowly argued, about development or change over time.
  3. Primary data: your essay should show thoughtful use of a wide range of ancient texts and other material; unsubstantiated arguments and opinions will be penalised. Unless you engage directly with primary evidence (texts, objects), you will not get a good mark.
  4. Secondary material: your essay should isolate the main issues and debates in modern scholarship on the subject. You will be penalised for overdependence on a single unquestioned authority.
  5. Originality and sophistication: your essay should demonstrate thoughtfulness, well-founded scepticism and original ideas which attempt to surpass the issues and debates found in modern discussions in order to take the argument in a new direction.
  6. **Use what you have been given in lecture: Lectures and lecture handouts explore a number of examples of primary evidence (archaeological, historical, epigraphic, and literary sources). You are welcome to use these sources in an essay, but you will have to take them a step further than we do in lecture. More detailed treatment of sources is discussed in seminars and part of seminar preparation. If you would like a lecture handout/ powerpoint in advance, please just let me know.
  7. Bibliography: Is a place to start, general books may prove less helpful, though they are often the most popular. These are by no means the only useful books or articles available, and some of the best essays are those that go "off piste", focusing on a specific idea or object and not relying on a conventional sourcebooks.


Essays should be returned to students within three working weeks or at the beginning of the following term. The marked copy of an assessed essay is retained by the Office. Copies of cover sheets and other comments can be made available to students once marks have been finalized and recorded. Essays will be handed back individually, when there will be a chance to discuss them. It is essential that students attend these tutorials. Keep a copy of your essay, and re-read it before your feedback session. You will also find it helpful when re-reading your essay to complete the departmental ‘Essay checklist’ template, which can be found online, and which will help you to understand how you can improve your work. .


Plagiarism, defined as ‘the attempt to pass off someone else’s work as one’s own’ is a variety of cheating or fraud. It is taken very seriously by the University and students who are caught can suffer penalties which are extremely detrimental to their career. If in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, please consult the online tutorial. To avoid any confusion however you should take special care with two things:

1: Cite the sources you are using

2: Use quotation marks for the quotes you are quoting.

Avoiding plagiarism

All written work produced for assessment must be entirely yours. Your work will often use material covered in lectures and seminars, but your work must demonstrably be your own representation of that material. You must not quote from other people’s work word-for-word without acknowledging this by use of “quotation-marks”. If you present someone else’s thoughts, words, or other work as your own, then you will have committed plagiarism. In general it is poor practice to scatter quotations from other scholars throughout your essay; you should attempt to rephrase what other people have said in your own words, and then also include a reference to the source of your ideas in a footnote. When taking notes from journals and books, make sure that you indicate clearly in your notes, using quotation marks, if you’re copying directly word-for-word. This will ensure that you do not inadvertently reproduce someone else’s words in your essay. In general, however, the best practice is to paraphrase and analyse as you read and make notes so that your notes do not simply copy out chunks of other people’s work. You should also avoid referring to what a lecturer has said without finding out for yourself on what his/her ideas are based. You may cite primary sources on handouts.

Rules for avoiding plagiarism

Good study technique, writing style and correct referencing of quotations will help you to avoid unintentional plagiarism. If you follow these simple rules you will always be safe:

  • Always take down a detailed reference for each text that you read and take notes from.
  • While copying quotations, make sure you clearly mark them as quotations in your working notes.
  • Gather and use your own examples whenever you want to support a particular view.
  • Ensure that all quotations are surrounded by quotation marks.
  • Ensure that your references can be used to locate the original source text.
Villa Adriana, Tivoli: Canopus

Baths of Diocletian, Frigidarium = S. Maria degli Angeli, Rome

Mausoleum of Augustus, Rome

Orange theatre, scaenae frons

Obelisk pointer for Augustus' sundial, Rome

Wax tablet, House of Caecilius Iucundus, Pompeii