CLCV 340/HIST 360

Spring 2017


Roman Britain 


Professor: Professor Irby
Office: Morton 329
Office phone: 221-2162
Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:00-10:50, Thursdays 12:30-1:30, and by appointment


web pages:


Roman Britain page: you're here


class announcements and additional readings will be posted on the Latin page.

Blackboard will not be used for this class


Grading scale:
100-93% = A; 92-90% = A-; 89-87% = B+; 86-83% = B; 80-82% = B-; 79-77% = C+; 76-73% = C; 72-73% = C-; 69-67% = D+; 66-63% = D; 92-60% = D-; 59%-0% = F


Exams and Course Grade:


Midterm (28 February)

120 points

Final Exam (3 May)

120 points


100 points

Oral Presentation

90 points

Weekly Summaries

40 points

Attendance and Participation

30 points


500 points


Course Objectives: In this course, we shall examine the history and archaeology of Roman Britain, its founding as a Roman province, its development. We shall scrutinize its influence on the Roman (and British) imagination, especially in terms of the enduring military presence and the island’s strategic and political role. We shall also consider the distinctive aspects of Roman-British culture, architecture, religion, and art, as revealed in fortifications, villas, towns, and entertainments.


Schedule of Readings: The assigned readings are to be read before coming to class. It is your responsibility to keep up with any changes to the reading assignments as announced in class and on the web page. Be careful and systematic.

Class Room Policies: Regular attendance is strongly encouraged. You are expected to participate fully and actively in all class discussions.


Exams: short answer/essay, passage discussion in format. The final is not cumulative.


Weekly Summaries: Due once a week (T or Th, your choice), a paragraph (75-150 words) on the readings assigned for the day. You may summarize an episode in the assigned reading, make a comment on episodes, formulate a question, or comment on some particularly interesting passage, theme, or trope. The assignment is open-ended -- intended to encourage greater preparation for class -- you must submit one paragraph per week, and I do expect greater sophistication as the term progresses.


Make-up Policy: No make-up work will be allowed for any reason. No e-mail submissions will be accepted.


Essays: You have a choice:

Two short essays (about 5-7 pages), one some aspect of Roman Britain (this will spread out your work for the term). The topics are open-ended but must be relevant to the works and issues discussed in class. You could treat themes, presentation of characters or events, social context, interpretations. If you choose this option, one of your essays may be 'creative'.

essay 1 (invasion/conquest/history/romanization) due 23 February

essay 2 (late Roman Britain/army/infrastructure/imperial administataion) due 30 March

essay 3 (daily life/Romano-British Religion) due 20 April

One lengthy research essay (about 12-15 pages): again, the topics are open-ended:

final research paper due 20 April.

I am pleased to discuss ideas as they arise.

Students enrolled in this course  to fulfill the major writing requirement will produce a lengthy annotated research paper (20-30 pages) treating some aspect of Roman Britain. The topics are open, but note the following deadlines:

Regardless of your choice, you must deal with both primary evidence (ancient texts and/or archaeological remains) as well as modern scholarship. Please also note that you will be held to a high standard in terms of the number and quality of your sources and your ability to cite them adequately.


Oral Presentation: Each student will give a brief oral presentation (7-10 minutes) on some topic relevant to this course. Handouts are always a good idea! See below for topics.



No work will be accepted late
No make-ups will be permitted
Arrive prepared and on time
Minor adjustments to the syllabus may be announced in class
It is your responsibility to keep informed about changes to the syllabus and exam schedule
Turn off cell phones, etc before coming to class

You may use your laptops ONLY to take notes for class

No texting during class

Regular Attendace is strongly encouraged

Hark upon the Gale: Remember the Honor Code






Online Research Tools:

Writing Tools:


Oral Presentation Topics





Schedule of Reading Assignments


The schedule of assignments is subject to change


19 January

Introduction (Sources and questions)


PART I: Historical Survey


24 January: Pre-Roman Britain

Todd, 1-29

Ireland, #1-11

Mattingly, 47-64

Jiménez, “The Celts in Britain” (Caesar Against the Celts: 2001: 131-149)

26 January: Caesar’s Invasions

Ireland, #12-36

Mattingly, 64-67

Jiménez, “Expedition to Britain”, “Invasion” and “To the Thames” (Caesar Against the Celts: 2001: 91-130, 151-166)

27 January: Add/Drop ends


31 January: In the Interim

Ireland, #37-55

Braund, Ruling Roman Britain, 67-96

Mattingly, 68-75

Frontier Policy: presentation

Feb 1, 4:30 pm, Andrews 101: Michael Danti, Boston University: “A Momentary Erasure of Millennia: The Cultural Heritage Crises in Syria and Northern Iraq” (AIA)

2 February: Claudius and Conquest

Ireland, #56-69

Mattingly, 94-100

Braund, Ruling Roman Britain, 96-112

Todd, 42-59 (optional)

Strabo: presentation
Dio Cassius: presentation


7 February: Resistance: Caratacus and Boudicca

Ireland, #70-80

Braund, Ruling Roman Britain, 112-117

Mattingly, 101-127

Todd, 60-74 (optional)

Fishbourne: presentation and handout

9 February: Romanization: Flavian Britain and Agricola

Tacitus, Agricola (transl Birley)

Ireland, #82-84, 86-93, 95-97, 99, 101-102, 104-118 (skip the  excerpts from the Agricola)

Braund, 147-176

Tacitus: presentation

Calcagus: presentation


14 February: Hadrian and the Antonines

Ireland, #119-157

Salway, The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain, 122-148

Mattingly, 119-122

Scriptores Historiae Augustae: presentation

Vindolanda Tablets and Cerialis: presentation

16 February: The third century: the Severan Dynasty

Ireland, #158-209

Mattingly, 122-127

Reed, N. “The Scottish Campaigns of Septimius Severus” University of York Proceedings of the Society (1975-76): 92-102

Gallic Empire: presentation and handout

February 17, 4:00 pm, Washington 201: Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago : "Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice" (co-sponsored with the Program in Judaic Studies and the Meyers-Stern Endowment)


21 February: The fourth century and the rise of the Saxons

Ireland, #210-256

Mattingly, 225-252

Frend, W.H.C. “Pagans, Christians and the Barbarian Conspiracy of AD 367 in Roman Britain” Britannia 23 (1992): 121-131

23 February: The end of Roman Britain

Ireland, #256-290

Todd, 428-442

Higham, Rome, Britain and the Anglo-Saxons 43-107, 180-236 (optional)

Carausius: presentation

short paper 1: due


Feb 23, 4:30 pm, Andrews 101: Karl Galinsky, University of Texas, : “Memory and Forgetting in the Time of Augustus” (Jones)


28 February: Midterm (study guide)

2 March: midterm essay due


7/8 March: Spring Break


PART II: Problems and Investigations


14 March: The Army in Roman Britain

Mattingly, 128-136, 160-224

Ireland, #518-560

Speidel, M.P. “Commodus the God-Emperor and the Army” JRS 83 (1993): 109-114

16 March: Military Engineering

Davies, H.E.H. “Designing Roman Roads” Britainnia 29 (1998): 1-16

Evans, E. “Military Architects and Building Design in Roman Britain” Britannia 25 (1994): 143-164

Dere Street: presentation


March 16, 4:30 pm, Andrews 101: Kelcy Sagstetter, US Naval Academy; “Who’s Your Daddy? A Paternity Crisis after the Peloponnesian War” (AIA)


17 March: last day to withdraw from a class


21 March: More Military Engineering: the Walls

Todd, 114-135

Salway, The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain, 127-133 (see Feb 14)

Mattingly, 154-160

Inchtuthil: presentation

Rough Castle: presentation

Bar Hill: presentation

23 March: Roman Towns and Cities

Todd, 162-192

Ireland, #456-465

Wacher, “What part did towns play in the Province?” The Towns of Roman Britain, 36-78 (1974)

Mann, J.T. “London as a Provincial Capital” Britannia 29 (1998): 336-339

Camulodunum: presentation

Verulamium: presentation


28 March: The countryside

Todd, 327-370

Mattingly, 353-378, 453-487

Isca: presentation

Corbridge: presentation

30 March: Industry and Commerce

Todd, 309-326

Ireland, #468- 517, #577-584

Mattingly, 491-528

Natural Resources: presentation

Fabrica: presentation

Pottery: presentation

Metalwork: presentation

short paper 2: due

March 30, 4:30 p,m, Andrews 101: Bonna Westcoat, Emory University: “From the Vantage of the Victory: New Research on the Nike of Samothrace.” (Brinkley)


4 April: Daily Life: medicine, death, burial

Todd, 242-272

Ireland, #562-576, 578-643

Optional: Millet and Gowland,  "Infant and Child Burial Rites in Roman Birtain":

See also:

6 April: Daily Life: the home

Cosh, S.R. “Seasonal Dining Rooms in Romano-British Houses” Britannia 32 (2001): 219-242.

Ellis, S.P. “Classical Reception Rooms in Romano-British Houses” Britannia 26 (1995): 163-178

Allason-Jones, Women in Roman Britain, 84-108


11 April: Women and Family in Roman Britain

Todd, 273-287

Mattingly, 173-176, 194-197

Allason-Jones, Women in Roman Britain, 50-65, 84-108

13 April: entertainements and such

Cunliffe, The City of Bath (1986): 1-43.

Allason-Jones, Women in Roman Britain, 164-186.

Amphiteaters: presentation


18 April: Druids and Gallo-British Religion

Todd, 193-219

Ireland, #308-388

Irby, “Horned Gods in Britain and Greek Hero Cult.” Latomus: Studies in Latin Literature and Roman History X (2000): 5-44

20 April: Roman Religion in Britain

Todd, 220-228

Ireland, #291-307, 389-418

Fishwick, D. “The Imperial Cult in Roman Britain” Phoenix 15 (1961): 159-173

Fishwick, D. “The Imperial Cult in Roman Britain” Phoenix 15 (1961): 213-229

Irby, "The Roman Army and the Cult of the Campestres" Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 113 (1996): 293-300.

short paper 3: due

long research paper: due


25 April: Eastern cults and the rise of Christianity

Todd, 231-238

Ireland, #419-455

Cookson, N. “The Christian Church in Roman Britain: A Synthesis of Archaeology” World Archaeology 18 (1987): 426-433

Jupiter Dolichenus: presentation

Mithras: presentation

writing requirement papers: due

27 April: Roman Britain’s enduring legacy

Todd, 443-459

Rankin, “Britain: A Source of Dispute” (Celts and the Classical World: 1987: 213-230)


3 May: Final Exam: 2:00 - 5:00 pm



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