The Later Roman Empire, 270-400 AD (Latin) LATIN4032

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the history of the later Roman Empire, in a period ranging from the end of the so called third century crisis until the beginning of the so called Barbarian Invasions or Migration Period. It will cover both the political and institutional history of the later Roman state, as well as exploring the rise of Christianity and the major intellectual and social movements of the fourth century AD, perhaps the best documented period in Roman history.  


5x1hr lectures, 5x1hr seminars shared with CLASSIC4082.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Classics, Latin, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes.

Excluded Courses





Exam (2-hour duration) - 50%

Essay (2,500 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce students to the social and political later Roman Empire, a period of enormous vitality, and to familiarise them with its main developments

■ Study some of the most important primary sources from the period, including epistolary, history, and oratory, both in Latin and in English

■ Examine the emergence of new linguistic forms in the Latin or late antiquity

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Analyse the late Roman state and appreciate its evolution from the early imperial period

■ Explore and explain how both Christianity and paganism expressed themselves through literature, space, material culture, and social hierarchy and to explore how the conflict between these two broadly defined religions

■ Apply sociological and anthropological approaches to the study of religious, social, and political movements

■ Examine how power and patronage functioned in a stratified society

■ Translate fluently and clearly from ancient sources that describe the world of the later Roman Empire

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.