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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS3890 The City in the Roman World

20 creditsClass Size: 37

Module manager: Dr P J Goodman

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is suitable for Level 2 or 3 students with some basic knowledge of the Roman world. It traces the origins and development of cities in the Roman world, asking what contributions both the Roman state and local peoples made to the process, and to what extent cities in different parts of the empire expressed or generated a common 'Roman' identity.


This module will enable students to:
• analyse and discuss the character of Roman urbanism and the factors which shaped it
• develop familiarity with the physical remains of various specific Roman cities and their particular local social and political context
• explore the contribution which the study of Roman urbanism can make to our wider understanding of ancient society and politics
• engage with modern scholarly debates on topics such as cultural interaction, the relationship between text and material culture and the relationship between the past and the present.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to demonstrate:
• a knowledge of the major social and political factors which shaped the character of Roman urbanism
• a familiarity with the physical remains and particular local social and political context of a number of specific Roman cities
• a knowledge of the range of textual, visual and archaeological primary evidence which can be used to understand Roman urbanism
• an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the primary evidence
• an ability to perform close critical analysis of the primary evidence
• a knowledge of major scholarly viewpoints and debates in the field of Roman urbanism
• an ability to engage critically with the major scholarship on the subject
• an ability to construct reasoned and well-supported arguments
• an ability to communicate effectively in seminar classes, written assignments and under exam conditions
• good time management and IT skills


For the Roman elite, the ideas of civilisation and of the city were inseparable. Cities were essential centres for government and administration, for displays of status, and for economic exchange. But how had they developed in the first place, who had shaped the process, and how were they actually used by their inhabitants? This module will trace the origins and development of cities in the Roman world, examining the contributions made by both local peoples and the Roman state. We will familiarise ourselves with urban layouts and buildings, and use the physical fabric of the cities to help us understand the activities which went on within them. We will also set individual cities into the wider context of the Roman empire, looking at their interactions with one another and thinking about how we should interpret the physical similarities and differences between them. The course will close by tracing the legacy of Roman urbanism into the late antique period and in modern urbanism.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

The 178 hours of private study and independent learning on this module comprise:
- 3 hours reading for each of the 15 lectures = 45 hours
- 11 hours reading / note-taking for each of the 5 seminars = 55 hours
- 40 hours spend researching and writing the assessed essay
- 38 hours revising for the exam

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored:
• at an informal level through class contact hours and especially in seminar classes by the module tutor
• at a formal level, through the assessed coursework and end-of-module examination
Students will also be encouraged to attend the module convenor’s drop-in hours to discuss the module content or draft essays, or to request further clarification of feedback already provided on assessed coursework.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2500 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 26/04/2017


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