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Module A WORLD FULL OF GODS: RELIGIOUS LIFE IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE

Module code: GC316
Credits: 5
Semester: 2
Department: ANCIENT CLASSICS
International: Yes
Overview Overview
 

"The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.” Edward Gibbon’s famous statement points to the complexity of religious life in the Roman world, where religion was inseparable from all aspects of life: this was indeed “a world full of gods.”

This module offers a wide-ranging study of religion in the Roman world, from early to late. We begin with religion in the Republic, as it was intimately bound up with the family, the state, and ultimately the conquest of the Mediterranean, bringing about the formation of a pantheon of “all” the gods. We turn then to religion under the Empire, examining how practices such as emperor worship, gladiatorial spectacles, and voluntary associations often served to consolidate imperial authority. Finally, we will look at later periods of the Empire, as religious enthusiasm was often used to bolster political unity while at the same time it posed challenges to the Roman order itself, most notably in the cases of Judaism and Christianity. Throughout, attention will be given to primary sources in historiography, literature, art, philosophy, graffiti and other material culture, as well as modern sociological approaches to religious phenomena.

Open Learning Outcomes
 
Open Teaching & Learning methods
 
Open Assessment
 
Open Autumn Supplementals/Resits
 
Open Additional Reading
 
Open Timetable
 
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