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CLU33135 Late Antiquity

This module explores the Roman world from the mid third century onwards, with particular focus on the fourth to early fifth centuries. This period is now commonly referred to as ‘Late Antiquity’, reframed not as the Roman world in sad decline but an era of profound transformation extending to all aspects of politics, society, and culture. Weekly lectures provide a historical structure and trace topics such as the Christianisation of Roman life, the fate of traditional cults, the shifting concept of romanitas (‘Roman-ness’), and urban change. In seminars students will discuss key case studies in depth, with a particular focus on evaluating ancient sources. The course will also situate Late Antiquity within broader historiographical trends, such critical evaluations of imperial control and a new emphasis on cultural history, as well as the enduring appeal of ‘decline and fall’.
  • Module Organiser:
    • Dr Rebecca Usherwood
  • Duration:
    • Semester 1
  • Contact Hours:
    • 15 (11 lectures, 4 seminars, 1 group discussion session)
  • Weighting:
    • 5 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 100% coursework (two written assignments)
  • Course Open To:
    • Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology; TJH Ancient History and Archaeology; Ancient and Medieval History and Culture; Visiting; Open Module

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate sound knowledge of the history, geography, culture, and society of the late Roman world.
  • Analyse critically the primary textual sources relevant to this module.
  • Identify and contextualise relevant forms of non-textual evidence (inscriptions, coins, archaeological material), and integrate them with textual sources.
  • Evaluate the major theoretical approaches, debates, and scholarship relevant to the module topic.
  • Discuss the above, both orally and in writing, in a clear and scholarly manner.
  • Work effectively in small groups.