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Level 5

5AACHI22 Writing History II: Rome

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2 hour classes (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 4000 word essay (85%); 1 x in class gobbet test (15%)

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

How and why did Romans tell the story of their past? This module introduces students to a range of ancient historical writing from the Roman republic, empire, and late empire. It will begin by looking at early Roman dramatic and poetic treatments of the mythic and historical past, before analysing the transformation of record-keeping into a ‘historical’ tradition. It will explore the work of Polybius, the first Greek historian to write Roman history, before examining the major Roman historians and biographers from Sallust to Procopius, via Livy, Tacitus, Ammianus, and early Christian historians.

Students will read selections, in translation, of the major historical works, and learn to analyse their key features in terms of content, sources, structure and style. They will explore why and for whom ancient historians wrote history, the distinctions between ‘historical’ writing and ‘life’-writing, and the transformation of historiography in late antiquity under the influence of the increasingly powerful Christian church. 

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

T.E. Duff, The Greek and Roman Historians (2003)

A. Erskine, A Companion to Ancient History (2009)

A. Feldherr, The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Historians (2009)

C.W. Fornara, The Nature of History in Ancient Greece and Rome (1983)

R. Mellor, The Historians of Ancient Rome (1998)

L. Pitcher, Writing Ancient History: An Introduction to Classical Historiography (2010)

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