DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2018/2019
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Ancient History
Undergraduate Course: The Dark Side of Empire: Conspiracy in Imperial Rome (ANHI10089)
School of History, Classics and Archaeology
College of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)
SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
Available to all students
Imperial Rome could be a treacherous place, especially for the emperor. Many conspiracies are recounted by the ancient sources, though details are often sketchy. This course will critically examine various conspiracy narratives in an effort to understand the motivation for these and their veracity.
This course will look at conspiracies against the emperor from the beginning of the imperial period to the early second century. The ancient sources were fascinated by conspiracies but, as is the nature of such endeavours, it is difficult to know what exactly transpired. The purpose of the course will be to try and get behind the events themselves through a close reading of the literary sources, supplemented by other evidence (e.g. inscriptions), in an attempt to determine who was involved and why; we will also consider whether these conspiracies were real or fabricated. Conspiracies to be examined include both well-known plots, such as the Pisonian Conspiracy against Nero, and lesser known examples, such as that by Gaetulicus against Gaius.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Students MUST have passed: The Roman World 1B: The Roman Empire (CLGE08004) AND Ancient History 2a: Past and Present in the Ancient World (ANHI08014)
Information for Visiting Students
Visiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics related subject matter (at least 2 of which should be in Ancient History) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Total Hours: 200
( Lecture Hours 22,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 11,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 161 )
20% creative piece [e.g. news report on a chosen conspiracy] 30% essay, 2,500 words 50% exam, two hours
Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Berriman, A. and Malcolm Todd ‘A very Roman coup: the hidden war of imperial succession, AD 96-98’, Historia 50.3 (2001), pp. 312-331
Bingham, Sandra (2013) The Praetorian Guard: A History of Rome’s Elite Special Forces. London
Collins, A. W. (2013) ‘Casperius Aelianus, Trajan and the mutiny of 97’, Acta Classica: 55-61.
Fagan, G. (2002) ‘Messalina’s folly’, CQ 52.2: 566-79
Nappa, C. (2010) ‘The unfortunate marriage of Gaius Silius: Tacitus and Juvenal on the fall of Messalina’ in J.F. Millar and A.J. Woodman (eds), Latin Historiography and Poetry in the Early Empire: Generic Interactions. Leiden: 189-204
Pag�n, Victoria Emma (2012) Conspiracy Theory in Latin Literature. Austin
Pag�n, Victoria Emma (2004) Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History. Austin
Sheldon, Rose Mary (2005) Intelligence Activities in Ancient Rome. Oxford
Simpson, Chris (1980), ‘The ‘conspiracy’ of A.D. 39′ in C. Deroux (ed.), Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History 168: 347-366