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AAH2260 - Imperial Rome: A Study in Power and Perversion in the early Empire

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Gillian Bowen


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


The unit examines aspects of Roman political, social and cultural history from the crucial period when she made the transition from Republic to Empire to her peak in High Empire (30 BCE - 138 CE). It focuses upon the reigns of four emperors: Augustus, Claudius, Nero and Hadrian. Themes include the nature of Roman politics, the role of the emperor within the political system, the manner in which the emperor acquired, consolidated and held his position; the role of the Praetorian guard; the rise to power of freedmen, the plight of the aristocrats, and way in which the populace was treated under, and affected by, the style of rule adopted by each of the four emperors.


On successful completion of this unit students will have:

  1. A comprehensive understanding of the Roman political ideals of government and the manner in which these ideals were manipulated by each of the emperors.
  2. A sound knowledge of the political, social and cultural history of Rome during the period covered.
  3. The ability to examine critically the evidence relating to the power invested in the emperor and how the form of rule and the fate of the people was determined by the personality of the incumbent, and the manner in which the aristocracy adapted their lifestyle in response.
  4. Critical and analytical skills in dealing with a variety of primary, secondary and tertiary sources, in particular the development of skills in source criticism.
  5. Communication and collaborative skills through group tutorial presentations.


Group tutorial presentation (oral and written): 20%
Researach essay (3,000 words): 60%
Class test (1 hour): 20%

Contact hours

3 hours (2 x 1 hour lectures and 1 x 1 hour tutorial) per week


One of the following: ARY1020, HSY1010, HSY1020, CLA1020, or permission from the Co-ordinator