Classics (CLAS) 312

Ancient Rome (Revision 1)

CLAS 312 course cover

Delivery Mode: Individualized study with online components

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: None. Previous course in CLAS, HIST, or HUMN is recommended.

Precluded Courses: CLAS 312 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under three different disciplines—with HIST 312 and HUMN 312. (CLAS 312 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for HIST 312, HUMN 312, HUMN 249, HUMN 320, HUMN 321 or HUMN 350.)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

CLAS 312 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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The influence of ancient Roman civilization is still strongly felt in Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia. The study of ancient history and culture is valued by students of history, politics, classics, philosophy and literature. Course Author, Ann Reynolds (M.A., Ancient History) has created a 12-unit survey of ancient Roman political history, society and culture. Through ancient readings and modern scholarly interpretations, students meet the ancient Romans: emperors, soldiers, commoners, builders, writers and philosophers. A research project lets students research a Roman topic in greater detail and develop their writing skills, with the help of online lessons and consultation with their personal tutor.


Unit 1: Introduction
Section 1.1: Introduction to the Roman Empire
Section 1.2: How You Will Study Ancient Rome
Section 1.3: Assessment and Assistance

Skills Module 1: Library Research Skills (recommended after Unit 1)

Unit 2: Early Rome (c. 1000 - 509 BCE); Roman Religion
Section 2.1: The Site of Rome
Section 2.2: The Roman and Modern Views of the Foundation of Rome
Section 2.3: The Regal Period (753 - 509 BCE)
Section 2.4: Roman Religion

Unit 3: Roman Society and Its Organization
Section 3.1: Roman Society
Section 3.2: Roman Government

Skills Module 2: Reading a Scholarly Article (recommended after Unit 3)

Unit 4: The Republic (509 BCE - 31 BCE)
Section 4.1: Conquest and Expansion
Section 4.2: Roman Imperialism
Section 4.3: Integration of Conquered and Allied Peoples
Section 4.4: Civil Wars and the End of the Republic

Skills Module 3: Effective Essays (recommended after Unit 4)

Unit 5: Roman Architecture and Engineering
Section 5.1: Infrastructure
Section 5.2: Public Architecture
Section 5.3: Domestic Architecture

Skills Module 4: Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism (recommended after Unit 5)

Unit 6: Latin Literature of the Republic; Roman Philosophy
Section 6.1: Latin Literature of the Republic
Section 6.2: Philosophy in Rome from the Republic to the Empire

Unit 7: Return to One-Man Rule: The Julio-Claudians (27 BCE - 68 CE)
Section 7.1: The Aftermath of Caesar's Assassination (44 BCE)
Section 7.2: Augustan Rule (31 BCE - 14 CE)
Section 7.3: The Julio-Claudian Emperors

Unit 8: Golden and Silver Age Latin Literature
Section 8.1: Poetic Forms
Section 8.2: Golden Age Literature
Section 8.3: Silver Age Literature

Unit 9: The Year of the Four Emperors, The Flavian Emperors, and the Roman Army
Section 9.1: The Year of the Four Emperors (69 CE)
Section 9.2: The Flavians (70 CE - 96 CE)
Section 9.3: The Imperial Army

Unit 10: The Zenith of the Empire to the Severans (96 - 235 CE)
Section 10.1: The Five Good Emperors
Section 10.2: Commodus and The Severans

Unit 11: Empire in Crisis and Restored
Section 11.1: The Barracks Emperors (235 - 285 CE)
Section 11.2: Diocletian (285 - 305 CE)
Section 11.3: Roman Life in the Third and Fourth Centuries CE

Unit 12: Constantine and the Late Empire
Section 12.1: Constantine (312 - 337 CE) and His Heirs
Section 12.2: Jovian (363 - 364 CE); The Valentinian Emperors (364 - 392 CE)
Section 12.3: Rise of Warlords (Again)
Section 12.4: Roman Influences on Modern Society

Learning Outcomes

  1. Summarize what is known about pre-Republican Rome.
  2. Describe the main features of Roman religion.
  3. Outline the main events and key figures of the Roman Republic.
  4. Identify the main architectural and engineering achievements of Rome.
  5. Summarize the major Roman writers and philosophers.
  6. Explain the political evolution of the Roman empire, from the Julio-Claudians to the fall of Romulus Augustulus.
  7. Identify and interpret excerpts from major primary sources assigned in the course.
  8. Follow scholarly arguments in academic writings.
  9. Research and write effective essays conforming to academic standards.


To receive credit for CLAS 312, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent or better on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Online Multiple-Choice Quiz 1 Online Multiple-Choice Quiz 2 Online Multiple-Choice Quiz 3 Essay
(2000-2500 words)
Research essay (3000-4000 words) Invigilated final exam (3 hours) Total
1.25% 2.5% 1.25% 25% 35% 35% 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Atchity, Kenneth J., ed. The Classical Roman Reader: New Encounters with Ancient Rome. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Kamm, Antony. The Romans: An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2008.

McGeough, Kevin M. The Romans: An Introduction. New York: Oxford, 2004.

Other Materials

Digital Reading Room: primary sources and scholarly readings online.

Study Guide: 12 units of commentary, learning activities and primary source excerpts.

Four Skills Modules: online lessons in research and writing

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the CLAS 312 challenge registration, candidates must demonstrate to the Course Coordinator that they have previous knowledge about the ancient Romans comparable to the course and obtain permission to challenge the course. There are three parts to the challenge process:

1) Exam 1: 3 hour exam testing student's knowledge of course concepts, events, people and texts. This exam consists of briefly explaining 10 out of 15 major concepts from the first half of the course, and answering 2 out of 6 essay questions related to the first half of the course. 30% of challenge grade.

2) Exam 2: 3 hour exam testing student's knowledge of course concepts, events, people and texts. This exam consists of briefly explaining 10 out of 15 major concepts from the second half of the course, and answering 2 out of 6 essay questions related to the second half of the course. 30% of challenge grade.

3) Research Essay: In consultation with the Course Coordinator, the student will research and write a report on a primary source assigned in this course. The student may submit the essay before or after the exams, but before the course contract expires. 40% of challenge grade.

The student must obtain at least 50% on each challenge component and attain a composite grade of at least 50% to pass the challenge process.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, February 21, 2013.

Updated May 10 2016 by Student & Academic Services