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CLU44511/CLU44512 Constantine

The emperor Constantine (ruled 306 to 337) is one of the most mythologised figures in world history. His adoption of Christianity and his foundation of the new eastern capital of Constantinople set on course vast shifts in the religious, social, geo-political, and cultural landscapes of the Mediterranean world – and beyond – for over a thousand years. Nevertheless, he is both heroicised and demonised in ancient, medieval, and modern discourse, and so remains and elusive and controversial figure, poised between history and legend. The course offers a broad exploration of the life and legacy of Constantine and his world: the context he emerged from and his long-term impact, including political, religious, cultural, and social aspects. It also considers his reception in the late antique, medieval, and modern worlds. The widest possible range of sources will be used, such as a variety of ancient literary accounts, medieval hagiography, coinage, inscriptions, sculpture, and modern film and novels. Students will develop a range of skills in source analysis and tackle fundamental questions about historiographical agency and perspective.
  • Module Organiser:
    • Dr Rebecca Usherwood
  • Duration:
    • All year
  • Contact Hours:
    • 44 hours (22 x 2-hr discussion seminars)
  • Weighting:
    • 20 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 75% coursework (five written assignments), 25% written examination
  • Course Open To:
    • Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology; TJH Ancient History and Archaeology; TJH Classical Civilisation and Classical Languages (subject to Departmental approval)

Learning Outcomes

On successful conclusion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate sound knowledge of the main features and events of Constantine’s reign and legacy
  • Analyse the key primary sources, both textual and material, within their socio-historical context
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the major theoretical approaches, debates, and scholarship relevant to the module topics
  • Discuss, critically and independently, the key cultural, social, political, and religious developments of Constantine’s reign within a broad perspective of world history
  • Express the above both orally and in written form in a clear and scholarly manner