Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The study of ancient Rome is complex, but is still an essential part of understanding the rise of the classical civilizations of the Mediterranean world. This unit will engage with different types of evidence to provide a study of Roman social and political history from the city's foundation to the end of the Roman Republic. The first theme of the unit will be the historical developments which led to the fall of the Republic and the establishment of one man rule under the first emperor, Augustus, including the impact of Roman imperialism, social and cultural change, and the careers of such Roman leaders as the Gracchi, Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar and Antony.

The aim of this unit, is to develop a student's understanding of the events of the history of early Rome in their historical context and to explore how these events shaped Rome rise to being a major empire in the ancient world.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe a range of factual knowledge of the history of ancient Rome (GA5) 

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written and/or oral form (GA9) 

LO3 - Use and appropriately reference a variety of primary and secondary sources relevant to the history of ancient Rome to develop an evidence-based historical narrative or argument (GA3, GA10) 

LO4 - Apply critical reading skills to your understanding of ancient Rome (GA4). 

LO5 - Identify and reflect on key historical debates relating to real-world situations/case studies related to ancient Rome (GA4, GA5, GA6). 

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:  

  • The political, social and military developments which formed the context for the fall of the Roman Republic, such as: 
  • the careers of the Gracchi 
  • the consequences of Roman imperial expansion 
  • the careers of Marius and Sulla 
  • the Roman “Constitution” and its evolution 
  • first and second triumvirates 
  • the Roman family and religion during the later republic 
  • the dictatorship of Julius Caesar, and the civil war. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This 10 credit-point unit is taught in face-to-face mode in order to engage students in active learning activities designed to introduce them to the skills required to understand and interpret the range of primary and secondary sources commonly used in ancient history. The lectures are interactive, providing opportunities for students to test intellectual ideas related to the unit content, and the tutorials provide a more structured and hands-on learning experiences valuable for practical learning and skill development appropriate to a study of ancient history.  

This unit has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as lectures, tutorials, reading, reflection, discussion, video/film screenings (where relevant), skills workshops, private study and assignments etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In the History discipline, first year units are designed to include a selection of the following assessment tasks: 

  • Primary source document analyses (maps, images and documents) 
  • Analytical reading challenges 
  • In-class debates 
  • Library exercises 
  • Research Essay/Challenges  
  • Online discussion boards 
  • Short answer responses 
  • Short quizzes/In-class tests 
  • Tutorial assignments/presentations 


Students in this unit will begin with a Skills/Knowledge Development Assignment which introduces some discipline-specific concepts and terminology. This will equip students to understand the primary and secondary sources they will locate and analyse in the Active Research Task which follows. This assignment introduces students to the dynamics of historical and historiographical debate in ancient history, and how they can engage in these debates and material through their own research and analysis. The Summative Task prompts students to make connections between the ideas examined in each week of the course, and to demonstrate an ability to link overarching debates and themes to specific course content. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Ancient history skills task 

The purpose of this exercise is to develop discipline specific concepts, terminology and approaches to using ancient history sources. 


LO1, LO2 

GA5, GA9 

Active research task:  

The function of this assessment is to develop skills in critical reading, the use of evidence, and clear written and/or oral communication, as designated by the lecturer. 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA4, GA9, GA10 

Summative/Analytical Task:  

The purpose of this task is for students to demonstrate their knowledge of the content presented throughout the course, and to apply critical thinking, and clear communication skills 

The lecturer may designate this task to be in the form of short answer responses, test/s, take-home exam, exam, reflective essay/poster or simulation exercise. 


LO1,- LO5 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

Baker, G.P. Sulla the Fortunate. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2001. 

Boatwright, Mary T., Daniel J. Gargola, Noel Lenski, and Richard JA Talbert. The Romans: From Village to Empire: A History of Rome from Earliest Times to the End of the Western Empire. Oxford University Press, 2012. 

Brunt, P.A. Fall of the Roman Republic and Related Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. . 

Flower, Harriet I., ed. The Cambridge companion to the Roman Republic. Cambridge University Press, 2014. 

Keaveney, A. The Army in the Roman Revolution. London: Routledge, 2007. 

Lewis, N. And Reinhold, M.. Roman Civilization Vol.I: The Republic and the Augustan Age. New York: Columbia University Press, (1990). 

Lintott, A. W. Constitution of the Roman Republic. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. . 

North, J. A. Roman Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.. 

Rosenstein, N. and Morstein-Marx, R. (eds.). A Companion to the Roman Republic. West Sussex: Blackwell, 2010. 

Scullard, Howard Hayes. From the Gracchi to Nero: a History of Rome 133 BC to AD 68. Routledge, 2010. 

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