Classics (Classical Civilisation) MA/MA(SocSci)

The Roman Historical Imagination CLASSIC4045

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

Short Description

Students will explore the way in which Romans used their own history to explore issues of identity. They will also examine the main currents of historiography in the Roman world.


Two hours per week; This is one of the honours options in Classics and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on mycampus.


Coursework: one essay (2500 words)  The essay will be a research project based on a topic chosen by the student, in consultation with the lecturer.- 40% of the final mark;

Degree Exam: April/May, of year taught (two hours) - 60% of the final mark.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which 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 provide:

Familiarity with three major Latin Historians (Sallust, Livy, Tacitus)
An understanding of the relationship between historical writing and the period in which it was produced
An introduction to historiographical theory, both ancient and modern
An awareness of the intersection between historiography and other literary genres (poetry, philosophy/theory) and beyond (i.e. monuments)
Experience of close reading and analysis of historical narrative
Experience in carrying out research and presenting it orally and in writing

Opportunity to acquire expertise in the critical examination of ancient historical writing

Opportunity to improve verbal expression, particularly in writing

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

Understand the function of the historical imagination within Roman culture
Draw links between historiography and other aspects of their understanding of Rome (literary and non-literary)
Demonstrate awareness of the importance of foundation narratives and cultural conservatism at Rome
Reflect upon the differences between Roman and modern uses of the past
Comment upon passages taken from the key historians and demonstrate an understanding their ideological and formal aspects
Formulate a research question relating to Roman historiography
Carry out research with due regard to recent scholarship, and demonstrating a close engagement with selected ancient texts

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.