A monumental bust of Constantine the Great

C. Seminar Topics and Worksheet Questions

In this section you will find guidance to the seminars to be covered in the course. Listed under each seminar topic you will find an introduction and list of set texts and extra reading. You are required to read the set readings for the relevant seminar, and these readings will form the basis of the discussion in seminars. The lists of strongly recommended and additional reading are intended to help you with your preparation and especially with the essay questions. All seminars will take place in Furness College, room B62.

Seminar Index

  1. Introduction – What Happened to the Roman Empire?
  2. Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  3. The Early Twentieth Century – J. B. Bury and Tenney Frank
  4. Liberalism and the Roman Economy – M. I. Rostovtzeff and Henri Pirenne
  5. Marxism and Structuralism – Moses Finley and Michael Grant
  6. Rethinking the Barbarians I – Invaders or Settlers?
  7. Rethinking the Barbarians II – Ethnicity as a Political Stratagem
  8. Religious Revisionism – Peter Brown and the Invention of 'Late Antiquity'
  9. New Histories of Women, Sexuality and the Body
  10. Post-Modernism and the Rise of Christianity
  11. The Return of the ‘Fall of Rome’– Peter Heather and Bryan Ward-Perkins
  12. Selecting and Evaluating Relevant Websites

A Note on the Latin and Greek Words in the Set Texts

Some of the set texts include words in Latin or Greek. This should not put you off – in many cases it is possible to understand the meaning of the sentence from the context, even without being a classical scholar. But to make the readings more manageable translations of some foreign words are listed at the end of the outline for each seminar session. It is worth thinking about why some scholars have chosen not to translate certain words. Is it a conscious decision on the part of the author, or does it reflect the fact that many of these scholars – and their expected audiences – were themselves trained as classical scholars? Can these words be translated accurately or do they lose their meaning in English? Or is this simply a case of academic showing-off?

< Home