Research Methodologies in Ancient History
This module is designed to develop academic research skills, an understanding of the methods used in the advanced study of Classics and Ancient History, and a grasp of appropriate ways of presenting the results of such study.
Dissertation in Ancient History and or Classical Literature
Dissertation in Ancient History or an approved Classical subject.
Saints and Sinners in Christian Late Antiquity
This module will analyse the presentation of various figures ¿ ranging from emperors and empresses to monks and bishops ¿ as heroes and villains in the discourses of the Christian Roman Empire in late antiquity. The core material for study will focus on texts: these will include accounts of emperors such as Eusebius¿ panegyrical Life of Constantine, diverging accounts of the emperor Julian from pagan and Christian perspectives, and Procopius¿ scandalous account of Justinian and Theodora in the Anekdota (Secret History), as well as various classics of the hagiographical genre, such as the lives of St Antony, St Martin of Tours, and St Ambrose of Milan. The module will also consider hagiographical literature produced in the 'Oriental' languages of Coptic (in Egypt) and Syriac (in the Near East).
Students will be encouraged, in consultation with the module teacher, to follow their own interests in preparing their written assessments for the module: thus Egyptologists might examine a corpus of Egyptian hagiography, while medievalists might explore the Nachleben of various early Christian figures in the early and central middle ages.
Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology Dissertation
Dissertation module for students doing single honours or joint honours degrees in Classics, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History or Egyptology. The aim is for students to do detailed research, to work on a project for several months and to produce a scholarly study of c. 8000-10000 words.
The dissertation topic can be chosen freely, in consultation with a member of academic staff and subject to compatibility with a student's degree scheme and availability of supervisors and library material. This is a chance for students to pursue an area in which they are especially interested, and to deal with it in depth. Students may choose to do museum-based research.
There are two preparatory pieces of assessment: an abstract, outline and bibliography, and an analysis of crucial source material and/or secondary literature. Work on the dissertation itself takes up most of the two semesters. Students are expected to do research independently, but there is a series of lectures in the first semester to provide advice on research and scholarly writing, Every student will be assigned a supervisor who will be organising group sessions with his/her supervisees and who will also be available for one-to-one supervision sessions.
Rome from Village to Empire: An Introduction to Roman History
This module introduces key places, peoples, and periods in Roman history. It is intended to provide a chronological and theoretical framework that will form the basis for more specialised study of Roman history at Levels 5 and 6. In addition to introducing key themes about the Roman world, such as imperialism, responses to Roman rule, social and political structures, `othering¿, gender, and religion, it will encourage students¿ critical engagement with a range of primary sources and help to develop their academic writing skills.
The Heirs of Rome: The Making of Christendom, Byzantium, and Islam in the Early Middle Ages, 400-800
The period between AD 400 and 800 saw the unmaking of the world of antiquity and the forging of the new civilizations of medieval Christendom, Byzantium, and Islam. It is, in short, an era with reverberations that are keenly felt in the present. This module will trace the main outlines of this seminal period, showing how the heritage of the Roman world was transformed in diverse ways during the early medieval centuries. Particular attention will be paid to the emergence of new forms of polity, religion, and socio-economic structures. On completion of the module, students will have a keen appreciation of how and why the different regions of eastern and western Europe and the Middle East, once untied under Roman rule, had come to follow widely diverging destinies.
Pagans, Christians, and the "Falls" of Rome
Between the third century and the fifth, the ancient world was utterly transformed: where once society had largely been pagan, it became almost entirely Christian; and where once the Mediterranean world was dominated by the power of Rome, it became more diverse with the emergence in the West of kingdoms ruled by non-Roman ¿barbarians¿ and the creation in the East of a Byzantine empire in which the emperor was seen as God¿s representative on Earth. Since late antiquity itself, writers have explored the close connections between these processes; most famously, the Enlightenment historian Edward Gibbon regarded these twin processes as reflecting a triumph of ¿superstition¿ and ¿barbarism¿ over ¿reason¿ and ¿civilization¿, leading to the ¿decline and fall¿ of the ancient world. In these terms, aspects of the debate continue to inform debates on topics such as migration and social change down to the present day. The purpose of this module is to analyse these changes. The emphasis will be on religious change, since it is the shift from paganism to Christianity that provides the framework within which the inhabitants of the Mediterranean world sought to understand the remarkable changes that were overcoming their society and culture. To this end, parts of the module will focus on case studies represented by the reigns of the emperors Diocletian (the last pagan persecutor of the Church), Constantine (the first Christian emperor), Julian (the last pagan emperor), as well as examining such key institutional changes as the emergence of Christian figures (bishops, ascetics) as social leaders and the transformation of urban centres under the influence of these religious changes. Throughout the module, there will be close engagement with the ancient sources (both textual and material) for these developments, and engagement with the most recent scholarship on the subject.
Introduction to Being Human
This module will focus on introducing what it is to be human from a broad humanities and social science perspective. It will offer the opportunity to engage with key ideas, theory and literature within these disciplines. It will therefore prepare students for further academic work in the humanities and social sciences and initiate the development of critical thinking and creative abilities.
Medieval Studies Dissertation
A dissertation of 15,000 - 20,000 words written on a topic decided by the student in consultation with the dissertation supervisor. This represents Part Two of the MA programme in Medieval Studies.