From 2014-2016, I developed and taught a first-year undergraduate course (20 UK credits) called “Introduction to the Roman World” to Archaeology and History students at Canterbury Christ Church University. This course is not currently offered, as it has been replaced with two new courses: Intro to the Ancient World and Archaeology of Roman Britain. While this course was run through an Archaeology programme, the vast majority of students were studying History, either on its own or in combination with a subject other than Archaeology. For these students, this course may have been their only formal exposure to learning in Archaeology, and I designed the course to inculcate an understanding and appreciation of the role of archaeology and material evidence to our understanding of the past, including hands-on practical engagement with material culture objects from the collections of the Canterbury Roman Museum, Canterbury Archaeological Trust, and the British Museum.
This course aimed to introduce students to the diversity of the Roman world through an exploration of major themes in Roman history and archaeology from the foundation of the city of Rome through the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Textual sources and archaeological evidence were combined to formulate an understanding of Roman culture and how this changed over time. The course also explored the legacy of Roman expansion and culture within the modern world. Rather than focus on a particular period (e.g. the Republic, Principate, etc.) or region (e.g. Italy, central Mediterranean, Britain, etc.), this course was a broad survey that sought to expose students to aspects of the Roman world across all its territories and full lifespan.
Core texts for this module included:
- Boatwright, M.T., Gargola, D.J., Lenski, N., and Talbert, R.J.A. (2012) The Romans: From Village to Empire, second edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Woolf, G. (2012) Rome: An Empire’s Story. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
A wide range of additional texts was also assigned and recommended, including passages from classical authors (all in English translation).
- The Colosseum, Rome. Image courtesy of Kevin Poh (CC BY 2.0).