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Level 7

7AACM900 Roman Britain

Credit value: 40 credits
Module convenor/tutor 2018/19: Dr Eoin O'Donoghue (Full Year) and Dr John Pearce (Sem 2 only) 
Assessment: 2 x 5,000 word essay (50% each)
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour classes taught with 5AACHI06 students; 10 x 2-hour seminars every two weeks for MA students only
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year

Pre-requisite: Knowledge of Latin may help with the interpretation of individual source materials, but is not a prerequisite .

Places on this module are capped at 16 and will be allocated in the first instance to those students from any College who are following the MA Classical Art and Archaeology  or MA Ancient History degree programme. Any remaining places up the maximum size of the class will then be distributed proportionally between Colleges.

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

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.

This module is a case study in Roman Imperialism and introduction to the material culture of the Roman empire. It covers the conquest of Britain, its transformation into a Roman province, later changes in its administration and defence, and the impact of incorporation into the Roman empire on the physical environment, religion, economy and society of Britain.

The module develops students' ability to understand and use archaeological evidence of all types, and Latin epigraphic sources, for historical reconstruction of processes of social and economic change; the problem of using concepts such as 'Romanisation' is constantly confronted.

All ancient texts will be studied in translation. Translations of inscriptions will be provided. If they wish students are welcome to use existing language skills in the analysis of sources.

There may be occasional trips to sites and museums outside London. These are entirely optional and it is at the discretion of students whether or not they attend. The cost of rail travel will be a few pounds.

Indicative programme - MA seminars

Term 1:

  1. Iron Age elites in Greco-Roman texts and on coin images
  2. Buildings as evidence for social structures
  3. British Museum class: religious dedications and funerary commemoration
  4. Historiography - Romanization
  5. Student presentations

Term 2:

  1. Reading the Agricola
  2. Frontiers and imperialism
  3. Analysing provincial economies
  4. The historiography of the Roman army in Britain.
  5. Student presentations


There is no mandatory book purchase, though students are recommended to buy one or both of the below books to support their study (new print versions will cost either £14 (Millett) or £26 (Mattingly). Ebooks and secondhand versions may be purchased much more cheaply.

  • M. Millett, The Romanization of Britain (1990)
  • D. Mattingly, An Imperial Possession. Britain in the Roman Empire (2006)
  • M. Millett, L. Revell and A. Moore eds, The Oxford Handbook of Roman Britain (2016)

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