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Preparation for Lectures

Autumn Term

The first imperial succession | Tacitus' Germanicus | Death of Germanicus | Maiestas | Seminar: Trial of Piso | Tacitus and the Principate | Caligula | Claudius | Seminar: Claudius in his own words | Nero | Four Emperors | Flavians | Seminar - Domitian | Flavian Rome | Trajan | Hadrian |

Spring Term

Greeks under Rome (1) | Greeks under Rome (2) | Images of the Elite | A world of festivals? | Hadrian and the Greek East | Seminar: Hadrian and City of Rome | Integration of Provincials |Ruling the Empire | Pliny and Bithynia | Seminar: Best Roman Governor | Running the Economy | Roman Egypt | Popular Resistance to Rome | Jewish Revolts (1) | Jewish Revolts (2) | Spain | Emperor-worship

Summer Term

I, Claudius | Balloon Debate


Autumn Term 2015

Lecture 1: The first imperial succession

  • What image of Tiberius does Tacitus create?
    Read Tacitus, Annals 1.1-15 (Internet Ancient History Sourcebook for online translation).

Lecture 2: Tacitus' Germanicus

  • Does Tacitus heroise Germanicus as a foil for Tiberius?
    Read Tacitus Annals 1.33-52, 55-72; 2.5-26, 53-58, 59-83 . (Internet Ancient History Sourcebook for online translation).

 Lecture 3: Death of Germanicus

  • How did the Senate and People of Rome respond to the death of Germanicus?
    Read through the epigraphic evidence: Tabula Siarensis and Tabula Hebana = LACTOR J8.

Lecture 4: Maiestas

  • Try to get a sense of how charges and trials for maiestas gradually change in character.
    Read Tacitus' account of the progression of maiestas ('treason') trials under Tiberius: Ann. 1.72-75; 2.27-32, 2.50; 3.10-19, 3.22-23, 3.37-38, 3.66-70; 4.34-36, 4.42, 4.68-71; 6.18-19. (Internet Ancient History Sourcebook for online translation).

Seminar 1 - Trial of Piso

Lecture 5: Tacitus and the Principate

  • What impression of the role of oratory in contemporary society does Tacitus create in the Dialogus?
    Read Tacitus Dialogus:
    Russell, D.A. and M. Winterbottom, Ancient literary criticism [PN 173.R8]
    @ Online translation by Peterson, revised Winterbottom; online Loeb Digital Classical Library (in Agricola volume)

Lecture 6: Caligula: mad, bad, or misunderstood?

  • How does Suetonius present the emperor? Why?
    Read Suetonius Life of Caligula. (Internet Ancient History Sourcebook for online translation)

Lecture 7: Claudius, Saturnalian emperor?

  • What was topsy-turvy about the way in which power was wielded under Claudius?
    Read Seneca's Apocolocyntosis (online translation) and Tacitus Annals 11.1-12.66 (Internet Ancient History Sourcebook for online translation)

Seminar 2 - Claudius in his own words

Lecture 8: Nero's Golden Age

  • How distinctive was Nero's attitude to Greece/ Greek culture?
    LACTOR M14-17
    Suetonius Life of Nero 

Lecture 9: The Year of the Four Emperors

Read Wiedemann’s chapter ‘From Nero to Vespasian’ in Cambridge Ancient History X [e-book online] to get an overview of the chronology of events in this confusing year. Pick out some of the key figures in the civil wars.

Lecture 10: The Flavian Regime

  • How and why were Vespasian's powers officially defined?
    Read the text of the lex de imperio Vespasiani = LACTOR 17 Age of Augustus H52 = LACTOR 20 The Flavians H20; Sherk no.82
    Brunt, P.A. 'Lex de imperio Vespasiani', JRS 67 (1977), 95-116

Seminar 3 - Domitian in poetry and prose


Lecture 11 - Flavian Reconstruction of Rome

  • How did staging the inaugural games in the new amphitheatre play an important part in winning over popular support for the new regime?

Read Martial’s Epigrams, De spectaculis, in the Loeb Online Classical Library, on the inauguration of the Flavian
Amphitheatre (‘Colosseum’).

Lecture 12: Trajan's Foreign Conquests

  • What image of Trajan is promoted by the reliefs on his column in Rome?
    Have a look at Trajan's Column - there's an excellent online resource.

Lectures 13-14: Hadrian and Athens

  • What are the main characteristics of Hadrian according to this biography?
    Read the Life of Hadrian by the Scriptores Historiae Augustae (from Loeb Digital Library)

Spring Term 2016

Lecture 15 - Being Greek (1)

  • Is the ‘second sophistic’ a good phrase for describing the cultural milieu of the Greek East in the second century AD?
    Bowie, E.L. (1970) ‘The Greeks and their past in the second sophistic’ P&P: 3-41

Lecture 16 - Greeks under Rome (2)

  • How does Dio characterise the relationship between the people of Rhodes and Rome?
    Dip into the Oration 31 (Rhodian Oration) of Dio of Prusa (Chrysostom) [translation online at Lacus Curtius]

Lecture 17 - Images of the Elite

  • Consider the methods used by Smith to identify different elements in the identities of the elite in the
    Greek East.
    Smith, R.R.R. (1998) 'Cultural choice and political identity in honorific portrait statues in the Greek East in the second century AD', JRS 88: 56-93 [JSTOR]

Lecture 18 - A world of festivals?

Read through two important epigraphic dossiers:

  • @Rogers, G. (1991) 'The Greek Text and The English Translation' in The sacred identity of Ephesos: foundation myths of a Roman city. London: Routledge, Appendix I, pp.152-185 [Online module bibliography]
  • @Mitchell, S. (1990) ‘Festivals, games, and civic life in Roman Asia Minor’ JRS 80: 183-91 [JSTOR]

Lecture 19 - Hadrian and the Greek East

Read Jones, C.P. (2006) ‘A letter of Hadrian to Naryka (Eastern Lokris)’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 19: 151-62

  • To what extent can we gain a sense of Hadrian's personality and cultural interests from the end of his lifetime?

Seminar 4 - Hadrian and the City of Rome


Lecture 20 - Integration of Provincials

  • Re-read the Apocolocyntosis to see how Claudius' attitude to provincial subjects is parodied.

Lecture 21: Ruling the Empire

Read F. Millar, 'The emperor, the senate, and the provinces', JRS 56 (1966) 156-66 [online at JSTOR]

  • How was the Roman empire governed?

Lecture 22: Pliny and Bithynia

Read Pliny Letters Book 10.

  • What impression do you get of Pliny's success in sorting out the financial problems in Bithynia?

Seminar 5: The Best Roman Governor


Lecture 23: Running the economy

  • How rational was the way in which Rome collected taxes? 
    Read through the lex portoria from Ephesus in translation [available in online module bibliography]

Lecture 24: Life in Roman Egypt

Read: @Bowman, A.K. & D. Rathbone 'Cities and administration in Roman Egypt', JRS 82 (1992) 107-27

  • Find out how civic life in Egypt was organised.

Lecture 25: Popular Resistance to Rome

Read Tacitus' account of the Boudiccan revolt (Annals 14.30-39), and consider what reasons he offers for it, and why. Examine the account both historically and historiographically - look out for themes you've encountered elsewhere in Tacitus.

Lecture 26: First-century Jewish Revolts

Re-read Philo's Embassy to Gaius, considering what attitudes it reveals on the part of the Jews of Alexandria towards the emperor.

Lecture 27: Trajanic and Hadrianic Jewish Revolts

Lecture 28: Spain

    Read through the text of the Flavian Municipal Law:
    The Lex Irnitana (JRS 1986) = Flavian LACTOR

    Summer Term 2016


    Over the Easter vacation, read Robert Graves' I, Claudius and Claudius the God. You might also like to watch the BBC film adaptation.

    Lecture 29 - Robert Graves' Claudius

    • What are the main features in our ancient sources of Claudius' character and period in power?
      Re-read Suetonius Claudius; Tacitus Annals 11-12, Seneca Apocolocyntosis.