CLAN3007 The Majesty of the Roman Empire

6 points
Not available in 2019UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 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 3 elective
The Roman Empire is commonly regarded as at its height in the first and second centuries AD. This was the important period spanned by the first three dynasties: the Julio-Claudians, Flavians and Antonines. For the first of these the focus of attention is Rome and the establishment of the Principate. Imperial politics and government, and the personalities of the rulers dominate. With the Flavians (Vespasian, then his sons Titus and Domitian: 69–96 AD) and their immediate successors (Nerva and Trajan: 96–117 AD) the philosophy of the Principate is worked out and the character and development of the Roman World beyond Rome and Italy comes more fully into view. Though not an Antonine, Hadrian (117–138 AD) ushers in what has often been called the 'Golden Age of the Antonines' (Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus: 92–138 AD). The focus is now very much the provinces; indeed, beginning with the Spaniards Trajan and Hadrian, emperors are increasingly from the provinces and spend larger parts of their reigns there. The shift in focus from Rome, the Emperor and Senate, is partly due to the range and character of the evidence now available. Tacitus, Suetonius, the Younger Pliny, Cassius Dio and several other familiar writers are there. But now too there is a rich and deep reservoir of inscriptions, papyri and coins, as well as the vast array of material evidence in the archaeological record.

The major components of the unit are (1) the narrative of political and military history from the death of Nero in 68 AD through to the death of Hadrian in 138 AD; (2) government, administration and military affairs; and (3) society and culture. The second and third of these range widely across the entire first and second centuries in order to detect the broader patterns and trends. This is the Roman Empire at its height, the High Empire, the period in which we can see the institutions of a great empire functioning and underpinning the 'majesty of the Roman Empire' as one contemporary put it. Students explore the reasons for Rome's success—its relative tolerance, its generosity with its citizenship, its inclusiveness, its highly developed economy and the superiority of its almost modern armies.
Students are able to (1) identify, interpret and describe key events from the period under study; (2) identify, interpret and describe the character and development of the major political, administrative, economic and military features of this High Empire; (3) identify, interpret, describe and evaluate different types of evidence that contribute to our understanding of the period; (4) read, comprehend, analyse and critique the primary and secondary written sources; (5) research using print and electronic resources; and (6) develop reasoning and analytical skills.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) sources tests; (2) a major essay; and (3) tutorial performance. 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 2 CLAN unit
CLAH2231 Majesty of the Roman Empire
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week (over 10 weeks); tutorials: 1 hour per week (over 10 weeks)
  • 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.