Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


The Roman Imperial period and the period of late antiquity following it saw radical changes in the ways in which men and women conceived their relationship to the divine. From the first to the seventh century, there were profound transformations in thinking about God or the Gods in philosophical discourses; the relationship between men and gods; the role of ritual and religion in everyday life, as well as in ethics, history, and their sense of community. This unit examines the evidence for these changes in the literature and material culture from the Mediterranean world, from the religious revival of Augustus, through the ‘age of anxiety' of the second and third centuries, to the triumph of Christianity, and finally to the rise of Islam. Topics that will be covered over the course of this unit will include: the establishment of the Roman imperial cult, the relationship between ancient philosophy and religion, Judaism before and after the destruction of the Temple, religious syncretism in the provinces, ‘eastern' cults at Rome, the beginnings and transformation of early Christianity, and the rise of Islam in the 7th century.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (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) describe and identify the key features of the religions and cults of the Roman Empire in the period under discussion

; (2) interpret the connections between religion and politics in the Roman Empire

; (3) evaluate different types of evidence (literary, documentary, and archaeological) that contribute to our understanding of the religious history of the period

; (4) comprehend and critically evaluate modern scholarship relevant to the area of study; (5) research using print and electronic resources; and (6) demonstrate reasoning and analytical skills.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) workshop participation; (2) tests; and (3) research assignments. 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)
Dr Kirk Essary
Unit rules
any Unit(s) from CLAN
Contact hours
lectures: 1 hour online per week up to 10 weeks
workshops: 2 hours per week up to 12 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.
  • 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.