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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

CLAS2890 The City in the Roman World

20 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Dr Emilio Zucchetti

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is mutually exclusive with

CLAS3890The City in the Roman World

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is suitable for 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 introduce students to the character of Roman urbanism and the factors which shaped it. Students will learn to analyse and discuss the physical remains of specific Roman in their local social and political context, as well as exploring what the study of Roman urbanism can contribute to our wider understanding of ancient society and politics. They will 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:
1. a capacity to understand the major social and political factors which shaped the character of Roman urbanism
2. a capacity to understand the physical remains and particular local social and political context of a number of specific Roman cities
3. familiarity with some of the more important textual, visual and archaeological primary evidence which can be used to understand Roman urbanism
4. an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of that primary evidence
5. an ability to perform close critical analysis of the primary evidence
6. a knowledge of major scholarly viewpoints and debates in the field of Roman urbanism
7. an ability to engage critically with the major scholarship on the subject
8. an ability to construct reasoned and well-supported arguments


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 looking at how Roman urbanism began to change in the late antique period.

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 180 hours of private study and independent learning on this module break down as follows:
• 3 hours reading for each of the 15 lectures = 45 hours
• 7 hours reading / note-taking for each of the 5 seminars = 35 hours
• 50 hours for researching and writing the coursework essay
• 50 hours for researching and writing the final essay

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive formative feedback from the module tutor during class contact hours and especially in seminar classes. They will also receive detailed summative feedback on their coursework in week 11, providing them with a formal indicator of their progress on the module well in advance of the exam at the end of the semester. Students will also be encouraged to attend the module convenor’s drop-in hours to discuss the module content, draft essays or preparation for the exam, or to request further clarification of feedback already provided on assessed work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500 word essay50.00
Essay2,500 word essay50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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: 21/01/2022 11:48:57


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