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Roman Europe - ARC00098M

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Maureen Carroll
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

This module traces the development and physical manifestation of Rome as a world city and superpower in the Republican and Imperial periods. It investigates public and private architecture, physical mobility, social structure, religious practices, economic exchanges, and ethnic and cultural identities in Italy, the Mediterranean, continental Europe, and Britain.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

  • To introduce students to current archaeological debates about Roman Europe

  • To critically evaluate different types of archaeological and historical evidence for the ideological, political and cultural development of Rome and to explore its impact on provincial societies

  • To explore a range of themes related to Rome and its place within the ancient world

  • To develop research, analytical and presentation skills

Module learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the diversity of Roman culture and its expression in Italy, the Mediterranean and Europe

  • Critically assess primary data of different types, including those drawn from material culture, documentary sources, iconographic representations, and archaeological science

  • Demonstrate awareness of the archaeology of Roman sites and monuments, as exemplified in a selection of case studies

  • Analyse and reflect critically upon a range of interpretations of archaeological and historical evidence

  • Present ideas confidently in discussion and debate

  • Work with a team to create projects 

  • Convey complex ideas in an analytical framework through essay writing 

Module content

This module traces the development and physical manifestation of Rome as a world city and superpower in the Republican and Imperial periods. It investigates the architectural evidence for the transformation of public spaces in communities in Italy, the Mediterranean, continental Europe, and Britain in emulation of Rome. The module explores the Roman family as the essential building block of Roman society, and it investigates class structure and the ways in which power was expressed and maintained by the elite and the middle classes through benefaction, patronage, and religious practices. It explores population mobility and the relationship between the inhabitants at the centre of empire and the provinces, the implications of social mobility, and the visual and material expression of cultural and ethnic identities, in life and in death. Domestic architecture is examined as a forum for social interaction and status display. Trade, commerce and economic connectivity between Rome and its near and distant neighbours are evaluated through the study of transport networks and the material remains of commodities exchanged. The module is interdisciplinary and integrates primary data of different types (artefactual, pictorial, documentary, epigraphic, scientific). The module will explore key Roman sites in Italy, including Rome, Ostia/Portus, Pompeii, and Herculaneum, and sites in Gaul, Germany, Britain, and Spain. Teaching will comprise lectures and seminars with student input and discussions.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay 3500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written and verbal feedback within 6 weeks.

Indicative reading

S. Bell and T. Ramsby (eds) (2012). Free at Last! The impact of freed slaves on the Roman empire. London: Bloomsbury

A.E. Cooley (ed.) (2002). Becoming Roman, Writing Latin? Literacy and Epigraphy in the Roman West (JRA Supp. 48). Portsmouth: Journal of Roman Archaeology

L. de Ligt and L.E. Tacoma (eds) (2016). Migration and Mobility in the Early Roman Empire. Leiden 2016

C. Edwards and G. Woolf (eds) (2003). Rome the Cosmopolis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

S. Keay and N. Terrenato (2001). Italy and the West. Comparative Issues in Romanization. Oxford: Oxbow

R. Laurence and J. Berry (eds) (1998). Cultural Identity in the Roman Empire. London: Routledge

K. Lomas and T. Cornell (eds) (2003). Bread and Circuses. Euergetism and Municipal Patronage in Roman Italy. London: Accordia

E. Poehler, M. Flohr and K. Cole (eds) (2011). Pompeii. Art, Industry and Infrastructure. Oxford: Oxbow

D. Robinson and A. Wilson (eds) (2011). Maritime Archaeology and Ancient Trade in the Mediterranean. Oxford: Oxbow

T. Stek (2009). Cult Places and Cultural Change in Republican Italy: A Contextual Approach to Religious Aspects of Rural Society after the Roman Conquest. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press

A. Wallace-Hadrill (2008). Rome’s Cultural Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

A. Wilson and M. Flohr (eds) (2016). Urban Craftsmen and Traders in the Roman World. Oxford: Oxford University Press

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.