Classics (Classical Civilisation) MA/MA(SocSci)

Roman Warfare LATIN4028

  • 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 is intended to introduce students to both the theory and practice of Roman Warfare across the span of Roman history, that is from the late third century BC to the fourth century AD. The course runs parallel to the Classics module 'Ancient Warfare', and will share all the teaching for that course related to the Roman period. In addition, students will do close reading of two important Latin texts (Caesar and Livy) and familiarise themselves, through those texts, with Roman methods of warfare and their representation in our historical sources.


6x1hr lectures, 16x1hr sessions over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus; This is one of the options in Latin and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on mycampus.

Excluded Courses





Exam (120 minute duration) - 50%

Essay (2500 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Familiarise students with the military history of the third century BC to fourth century AD, exploring key battles and wars within this period

■ Explore the readings some of the most important military historians of the period (Polybius, Caesar, Livy), key works of military theory (e.g. Vegetius), and material sources that pertain to the subject of warfare and battle

■ Explore the mechanics of ancient battle and the logistics of ancient warfare, as well as basic concepts of the Roman military (maniple, century, etc)

■ Explore how warfare both influences and is influenced by the society that produces it, and examine how the study of warfare can illuminate socio-political structures.

■ Explore warfare as an expression of culture and of technological development through ritual practices that surround warfare and through a detailed knowledge of military equipment and tactics

■ Give students a thorough grounding in the linguistic strategies used to depict warfare and battle in two major Latin historians.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Examine critically the historiography of Roman writing on warfare and comment upon topoi, features of the genre, and the character of Roman military thinking

■ Describe how technology, social and political structures, and cultural constructs dictate how war is fought, whom it is fought by, and to what purpose it is fought.

■ Think critically about the modern historiography of Roman warfare and how study of warfare relates more generally to our understanding of Roman society

■ Apply insights drawn from historical and psychological studies of modern battle to understand the physical and psychological forces at work on soldiers in ancient battles

■ Translate fluently and clearly from ancient sources that describe the Romans at war

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.