CLA2510 - Ancient World: Roman Religion

2007/8 Module description

Lecturer(s)Dr P L Tucci, Mr K Yue
Credit Value15
ECTS Value
Duration of Module1 semester.
Total Student Study Time150 hours, to include 12 x 1-hour lectures, 8 x 1-hour seminars/study-groups and 130 hours private study.

Module aims

This module provides an introduction to Roman religion through a survey of key topics and issues. It considers the place of religion within Roman culture and aims to explore the relationship between ritual, belief, and society. Students will understand how Roman religion differs from, and resembles, modern religion. They will learn how to use and analyse both textual and material evidence as sources for understanding Roman religion

Intended learning outcomes

Module-specific skills

Through an analysis of textual and material evidence, on completion of this module students should be able to describe and evaluate key issues of Roman religion. They should also have assimilated an understanding of the role of religion in Roman society and its relation to other aspects of ancient life.

Discipline-specific skills

Students should be able to use, analyse and evaluate textual and material evidence as historical sources. They should also have developed advanced academic and library skills as well as a critical ability in assessing published literature.

Personal and key skills

Students should demonstrate independent and group study skills in research and presentation of findings. They should also be able to select and organise relevant material, to present a strong argument in coherent oral and written form, and to discuss issues in a peer group.

Learning and teaching methods

(1) Lectures; (2) whole group seminars; (3) study-groups meeting independently to prepare for seminars; (4) seminar-presentations, either individual or in pairs or groups


One 2,000 word essay.


(1) The essay assignment (40% of whole module mark), (2) one two-hour examination, comprising one question on sources and a choice of one essay question (60%).

Syllabus plan

1. Nature of and sources for Roman Religion
2. Relationship to Greek Religion
3. Temples and worship
4. Festivals
5. Cult and divination
6. Domestic rituals and rites of passage
7. Priests and Politics
8. Mystery Cults
9. Imperial Cult
10. Magic and witchcraft
11. Arrival of Christianity

Indicative basic reading list

1. Core Set Texts
Religions of Rome (2 vols.) vol. 1, A History, vol. 2, A Source Book, M Beard, J. North, S. Price (1998 Cambridge University Press
2. Other Recommended Reading:
M. Beard and J. North (eds.), Pagan Priests (London 1990)
E Rawson, Intellectual Life in the late Roman Republic (London 1985)

Important please note

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