Research Methodologies in Ancient History
This module is designed to develop academic research skills, an understanding of the methods used in the advanced study of Classics and Ancient History, and a grasp of appropriate ways of presenting the results of such study.
Dissertation in Ancient History and or Classical Literature
Dissertation in Ancient History or an approved Classical subject.
Narrative genres and theory
A series of case-studies surveying the narrative literature of classical antiquity, and exploring appropriate literary and cultural theory.
Explorers, Travel and Geography in the Ancient World
This module provides a chance to explore a variety of ancient approaches to exploration, travel and geography. We investigate texts from the Odyssey to late antique pilgrimage accounts, and we shall encounter a wide range of genres, e.g. fictional adventure stories, explorers' accounts, ethnography, maps and geographical studies, travel guides and geographical accounts embedded in historical works. We discuss different ways in which travel experiences and landscapes can be depicted through writing; you will be able to discover how the ancients approached the world, both the familiar places around the Mediterranean and distant regions which were hardly known.
Saints and Sinners in Christian Late Antiquity
This module will analyse the presentation of various figures ¿ ranging from emperors and empresses to monks and bishops ¿ as heroes and villains in the discourses of the Christian Roman Empire in late antiquity. The core material for study will focus on texts: these will include accounts of emperors such as Eusebius¿ panegyrical Life of Constantine, diverging accounts of the emperor Julian from pagan and Christian perspectives, and Procopius¿ scandalous account of Justinian and Theodora in the Anekdota (Secret History), as well as various classics of the hagiographical genre, such as the lives of St Antony, St Martin of Tours, and St Ambrose of Milan. The module will also consider hagiographical literature produced in the 'Oriental' languages of Coptic (in Egypt) and Syriac (in the Near East).
Students will be encouraged, in consultation with the module teacher, to follow their own interests in preparing their written assessments for the module: thus Egyptologists might examine a corpus of Egyptian hagiography, while medievalists might explore the Nachleben of various early Christian figures in the early and central middle ages.
Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology Dissertation
Dissertation module for students doing single honours or joint honours degrees in Classics, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History or Egyptology. The aim is for students to do detailed research, to work on a project for several months and to produce a scholarly study of c. 8000-10000 words.
The dissertation topic can be chosen freely, in consultation with a member of academic staff and subject to compatibility with a student's degree scheme and availability of supervisors and library material. This is a chance for students to pursue an area in which they are especially interested, and to deal with it in depth. Students may choose to do museum-based research.
There are two preparatory pieces of assessment: an abstract, outline and bibliography, and an analysis of crucial source material and/or secondary literature. Work on the dissertation itself takes up most of the two semesters. Students are expected to do research independently, but there is a series of lectures in the first semester to provide advice on research and scholarly writing, Every student will be assigned a supervisor who will be organising group sessions with his/her supervisees and who will also be available for one-to-one supervision sessions.
Rome from Village to Empire: An Introduction to Roman History
This module provides an introduction to the full sweep of Roman history from the origins of the city (traditionally recorded as 753 BC) through its expansion and development as the centre of a world empire to the political and military eclipse of the western empire in the 5th century AD. Students will learn about the political and military institutions of (in particular) the Republican and Imperial periods of Roman history, the cultural, social and economic characteristics of those periods, and about Rome's relationships with its subjects and neighbours. While the core of the module consists of lectures providing a survey overview of over a millenium of Roman history, seminars will enable students to undertake in-depth case studies relating to particular periods, engaging with both contemporary written evidence (read in translation) and material and visual evidence.
Religion was an essential part of life in the Roman world, from the rituals of birth, marriage, and death, to public festivals and temples, the organisation of the calendar, worship of the Roman emperor, and the blurred line between politicians and priests.
This module will introduce students to the practices and ideas of Roman polytheism from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century CE, including its key gods, myths, cults and rituals. We will explore the close and complex relationship between religion and and power, including the religious authority of elites, and the potentially subversive practices of non-elites. We will ask what Roman religion offered to women and slaves, whether Judaism, Christianity, magic and membership of secrete mystery cults provided alternatives to the mainstream, and how religious practices differed across the Empire. By the end of this module, students will be acquainted with the framework of Roman state religion and its alternatives, and have engaged with bigger questions about how we define religion, ancient and modern
The Heirs of Rome: The Making of Christendom, Byzantium, and Islam in the Early Middle Ages, 400-800
The period between AD 400 and 800 saw the unmaking of the world of antiquity and the forging of the new civilizations of medieval Christendom, Byzantium, and Islam. It is, in short, an era with reverberations that are keenly felt in the present. This module will trace the main outlines of this seminal period, showing how the heritage of the Roman world was transformed in diverse ways during the early medieval centuries. Particular attention will be paid to the emergence of new forms of polity, religion, and socio-economic structures. On completion of the module, students will have a keen appreciation of how and why the different regions of eastern and western Europe and the Middle East, once untied under Roman rule, had come to follow widely diverging destinies.
Italy before the Romans
Students often think of Italy as a homogeneous culture under Roman culture. The aim of this module is to challenge such assumptions by examining the varied pre-Roman cultures of the Italian peninsula from a number of perspectives: archaeological, epigraphic, and literary texts. The module will discuss evidence for politics, society, and cultural interactions from Archaic period to the Punic Wars.
Late Antiquity; The Transformation of the Roman World AD 250-600
This module examines the seismic events and processes that saw the ancient world transformed into that of the early middle ages. At the beginning of the period, the Roman empire remained the dominant state in the Mediterranean world and the Near East; but by its end, the Roman empire had all but disappeared in the west, where it was replaced by kingdoms ruler by barbarian overlords, while in the east, the Roman state was beginning to take on the shape associated by historians with medieval Byzantium. There were other changes occurring too in culture and society, notably the shift in Christianity¿s position from a persecuted cult to the dominant religion. These trends are examined through a range of textual, iconographic, and archaeological sources.
Medieval Studies Dissertation
A dissertation of 15,000 - 20,000 words written on a topic decided by the student in consultation with the dissertation supervisor. This represents Part Two of the MA programme in Medieval Studies.