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Courses / Modules / HIST2240 Rome: Politics and Power

Rome: Politics and Power

When you'll study it
Semester 1
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 5
Module lead
Joe Grimwade
Academic year

Module overview

The ancient Roman elite was highly competitive, with families and individuals fighting for control and influence in all spheres of social and political life, in elections, in the law courts, in the arenas, theatres, and temples of Rome, and outside of the City in the provinces. We shall aim to understand Roman power: no small task, since the lexicon of ‘power’ in this period is so complex that no single English term does it justice. As well as studying the famous men who vied for supreme power at Rome during the late-republican civil wars – Sulla, Caesar, Pompey, Mark Antony, et al. – you will learn about how power was institutionalised (in the senate, the law courts, and the popular assemblies), communicated (via speeches, monuments, and spectacles), transferred between generations (by wealth-based privileges and access to rhetorical education), and ultimately restricted (in the hands of a sole ruler, Augustus). By the end of the module, you will have received a thorough grounding in the political life of first-century-BCE Rome, its contemporaneous societal and cultural representation, and the indelible impression it has left on the historiographical record.