Classics (Classical Civilisation) MA/MA(SocSci)

Res Publica: Thinking About The Roman State CLASSIC4030

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the ways in which Romans thought about their state and the relationship between political theory and political practice at Rome, from Republic to Empire. In addition to works of political theory (e.g. of Cicero and Seneca) it considers the theoretical viewpoints which underpin key historiographical texts, including those by authors writing in Greek. It also looks at institutional practice and the relationship between practice and theory.


Two hours per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus. 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.

Excluded Courses





Examination (90 minutes duration) - 50%

Essay (2,500 words) - 50%

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 will provide the opportunity to:

■ Explore a variety of ancient conceptions of the Roman state;

■ Engage in detail with a range of ancient sources;

■ Relate ancient political theory to political practice at Rome;

■ Explore processes of institutional change and relate those to the historiography of the Roman state.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Illustrate a detailed understanding of ancient political theory and its application to Rome

■ Engage critically with relevant primary sources

■ Analyse current scholarly debates on the development and significance of ancient ideas about the Roman state

■ Relate theory to political practice at Rome understood synchronically and diachronically

■ Develop written arguments based on the analysis of primary and secondary material

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.