CLAN2002 The Foundation of the Roman Empire

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Classics and Ancient History major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
This unit provides an introduction to Roman history at one of its most exciting and significant periods—the oligarchic imperial Republic had collapsed in the so-called Roman Revolution giving way to a quasi-monarchical system, the Roman Empire. The unit is concerned with this formative period as the first Emperor Augustus established a new political system and expanded the Empire. It then traces the successors of Augustus, from Tiberius to Nero, in the first century AD as they consolidated the new system and gave form to an empire that was to endure for several centuries. In addition to the major political and administrative developments of the time, the unit also explores Roman society, slavery and the rise of Christianity. The unit aims to impart knowledge about this seminal period in world history but, more importantly, to interpret and explain features of it. A new political system was being formed—a monarchy with distinctive institutions. More than that, like many autocrats, Augustus was interested in efficiency and developed solutions for many of the problems that had afflicted and finally destroyed the Republic. Augustus was the primary architect and his achievement is of enduring importance. Despite his c.40-year 'reign', problems remained and it was left to his immediate successors to tackle them. It is of lasting importance that we understand how an autocratic system can be imposed, and why it succeeds.

The unit offers a carefully structured program of lectures, identifying and tracing the development of the major political, social and cultural aspects of the ancient Julio-Claudian period, and a complementary series of tutorials and take-home assignments that examine some of these aspects in depth. Tutorial participation is a vital part of the learning process and in the development of reasoning and analytical skills. The unit emphasises the collection, analysis and criticism of the ancient source material and a written in-class assignment and tutorial discussion of this assignment deals specifically with this crucial aspect of ancient historical study. The unit aims to encourage students to develop critical abilities in the process of exploring and evaluating particular events and personalities throughout this period. Another important part of learning is for the student to be able to develop and articulate his or her views on the unit itself.
Students are able to (1) identify, interpret and describe key events from the Julio-Claudian period; (2) identify, interpret and describe the development of major political, social and cultural aspects of the ancient Roman world; (3) identify and analyse key personalities in the Julio-Claudian period; (4) identify and analyse the main ancient writers of the period; (5) read and comprehend primary and secondary sources concerning the period; (6) analyse and critique the writings and motivations of ancient writers of the period; (7) skillfully research using print and electronic resources; and (8) develop reasoning and analytical skills.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) written assignments; (2) tutorial performance; and (3) an end-of-semester examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Christopher Mallan
Unit rules
any Level 1 CLAN unit
CLAH1102 Julians and Julio-Claudians
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week (over 10 weeks); tutorials: 1 hour per week (over 10 weeks)
Unit Outline
Semester 2_2019 [SEM-2_2019]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.