CLA1354 - Ancient Sources (Material Evidence): Brave New Rome of Augustus

2014/5 Module description

StaffProfessor Elena Isayev - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.50
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module provides an introduction into how to use and analyse visual and material evidence as a historical source. Students will engage in in-depth thinking into the underlying aims of and influences on the building programme, the monuments and art of Augustan Rome. The module considers key issues of the Augustan Age, uses and definition of propaganda, and the ancient viewer. What models are drawn on to create the new capital city worthy of empire? How is the art and architecture used to rewrite history and bring in new ideals where gods mingle with mortals and myth becomes reality? Can we begin to understand the effect of the new structures on the Roman population? How did the building programme refocus the centres of activity and redirect the movement and gaze of the city? In what sense is the building programme innovative and to what extent is it simply mirroring trends of other great cities with similar types of rule? Is it a monument to immortality?

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Through an analysis of visual and material evidence, on completion of this module students will be able to describe and evaluate the changes which Augustus brought about in the city of Rome and the desired as well as actual impact of the transformation
  • 2. They will also have assimilated an understanding of how to use the physical and artistic environment and particularly public monuments in enriching the history of the period
  • 3. They will be able to examine more complex themes connected to imperialism, imagery as a political tool and theoretical models which help in accesing the experience of the ancient viewer

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Students will be able to use, analyse and evaluate visual and material evidence as a major source for understanding the ancient world.
  • 5. They will also develop advanced academic and library skills as well as a critical ability in assessing published literature with issues of the history of the city of Rome and the Augustan Age as well as more general approaches to the uses of art and architecture by those in power, and ideas about visualising and mythologising history.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Students will demonstrate independent and group study skills in research and presentation of findings.
  • 7. An ability to select and organise relevant material and to present a strong argument in oral and written form, and to discuss issues in a peer group.

Syllabus plan

1. Introduction and historical background

2. Achieving immortality: monument & text

3. What's in a face: the image of youth

4. Campus Martius: Augustan Theme Park

5. The Ara Pacis and the new Classicism?

6. Palatine: inviting gods into the home

7. New districts of Rome & Imperial cult

8. Rewriting history: Augustan Forum

9. The New Women: Cleopatra & Livia

10. Augustus as seen from Abroad

11. Mussolini: the legacy of empire

12. Concluding remarks

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22Lectures (11 x 2hr)
Scheduled learning and teaching activities5Seminars (5 x 1hr)
Guided independent study123Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation5-10 minutes1-7Verbal feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay302000 words1-7Mark and written comments
Exam702 hours1-7Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-7ref/def period
ExamExam1-7ref/def period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Reading list: To be confirmed 1. Core Set Texts G.K. Galinsky, Augustan culture : an interpretive introduction (Princeton, N.J 1996). T. Habinek, A. Schiesaro (eds.), The Roman Cultural Revolution (CUP 1997). K.A. Raaflaub, M. Toher (eds.), Between Republic and Empire: Interpretations of Augustus and his Principate (Berkeley 1990) P. Zanker, The Power and Images in the Age of Augustus (1988).

2. Other Recommended Reading: M. Beard, J. Henderson, Classical Art from Greece to Rome (2001). Clarke, John R., Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans. Visual Representation and Non-Elite Viewers in Italy, 100 B.C. - A.D. 315 (Berkeley 2003). M. Biddiss, M. Wyke (eds.), The uses and abuses of Antiquity (1999) J. Elsner, Art and the Roman Viewer (Cambridge 1995) J. Elsner, Art and Text in Roman Culture (Cambridge 1996). D. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture (Yale UP 1992), J. Lott, The Neighborhoods of Augustan Rome (CUP 2004). A. Powell, Roman Poetry and Propaganda in the Age of Augustus (1992).

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Last revision date


Important please note

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the module descriptors for the Online Module Selection process, please be aware that on rare occasions it may be necessary to remove proposed modules for reasons beyond our control. In addition, there are still some new modules going through the accreditation process. These will be offered in due course by the relevant discipline.

All modules displayed below have been approved by the approval process but may require further minor amendments before the commencement of teaching.

We are committed to providing an outstanding education and high quality teaching. You can find out details of your modules and any potential changes on these pages. If you are a returning student, joining after the first year or a postgraduate student details of your module changes will be provided in August. 

Foreign Language Centre modules

Term 1 module codes listed above ending with C, i.e. FLF1115C, are only available to outbound students who are away in Term 2. Students studying all year must select the standard module across both Term 1 and 2.