Studying online

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Unit Overview


This unit studies the period 146 BC to 44 BC: from the destruction of Corinth and Carthage down to the assassination of Julius Caesar. The unit is concerned with the final generations of the Roman Republic, during which the four centuries of political and social stability gradually evaporated in political murder, civil war, the collapse of moderation and consensus and the transformation of society, all happening against a backcloth of dramatic conquests and imperial expansion that took Roman armies as far as Britain and Iraq. The period saw the transformation of the institutions of the state and the emergence of powerful military men who dominated the Roman political scene. But it was a period which also witnessed the first real flourishing of Latin literature.

The unit aims to impart knowledge about one of the most significant periods in ancient Mediterranean history, the transition of Rome from a republic to an empire. Students are introduced to both the political and social history of the period and develop an appreciation of the importance of the relationship between the social and political mechanisms in the ancient Roman world. Students are encouraged to make independent analysis and criticism of such fundamental aspects as political alliances, personal alliances, the stratification of society, the division of wealth, etc. The unit emphasises the importance of the ancient written evidence, such as the personal correspondence and forensic speeches of M. Tullius Cicero, the personal accounts of the Gallic and Civil wars by C. Julius Caesar, and the historical monographs of Sallust, and the later accounts of Plutarch, Appian and Cassius Dio. As a result, students develop critical abilities in the process of reading and evaluating these literary sources.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Classics and Ancient History major sequence
  • Level 3 elective

Students are able to (1) identify, interpret and describe key events from the period under study; (2) identify, interpret and describe the development of major social and political events and processes of a key period in history; (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.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Christopher Mallan
Unit rules
any Level 2 CLAN unit
CLAH2222 The Foundation of the Roman Empire
Contact hours
lectures: 10 x 1 hour
tutorials: 12 x 2 hour
  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.