Not currently offered

Credit points: 15

Subject outline

Roman emperors are famous for their cruelty, extravagance and presiding over lavish spectacles such as the gladiatorial games. For example, in 107 CE, the emperor Trajan celebrated a military victory with 120 days of entertainment in the Colosseum, in which 11,000 gladiators fought and 10,000 wild animals were killed. This subject focuses on the emperors of Rome. It considers what makes a successful and popular emperor and what contributes to an emperor's failure. To do this we will examine imperial triumphs, as well as political coups and assassinations. The subject investigates the way that emperors manipulated events like the gladiatorial games for the sake of popularity; and the paradox that gladiators and other performers could be both glamorous celebrities and a despised rabble. The subject concludes with Commodus, an emperor-gladiator, and character in the films Gladiator (2000) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), who tried unsuccessfully to link the highest and lowest roles of ancient Roman society.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorSarah Midford

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesLectures, tutorials, quizzes, essays, workshops

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Students must have completed 60 credit points of Level one subjects


Incompatible subjectsMDS2GLA

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Learning resources

Lives of the Caesars

Resource TypeBook

Resource RequirementPrescribed

AuthorSuetonius (translated by Catharine Edwards)



PublisherOxford World Classics.


Chapter/article titleN/A



Other descriptionN/A

Source locationN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Have key knowledge of the history, society and culture of Imperial Rome: namely the chronology, significant historical events and gradual social change of the period 14 CE-192 CE
02. Speak knowledgeably and fluently about Roman society
03. Critically analyse the evidence for a pre-modern imperial culture and in particular to discuss social status and the precise forms of political power
04. Write fluently about Roman society

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