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Roman Social History


Admission requirements


This seminar series offers an introduction to some of the key issues in Roman social history, concentrating on the period from the first century BC to the second century A.D. Over the past decades, major advances have been made in the field; both by reformulating research questions and by applying new methodologies. During the course, we will combine an analysis of current debates with readings of a representative selection of ancient sources in translation. We will discuss subjects like social hierarchies and social mobility, Roman childcare, the role of women in public life, literacy and education, the position of slaves and munificence and games.

Course objectives

Students will acquire:

  • Knowledge of some of the key issues of Roman social history

  • Insight into some of the major modern debates about Roman history


See course-schedule

Mode of instruction

Literature seminar; attendance is compulsory (see the rules and regulations of the Department of History, art. 2).
The course consists of 6 sessions that each cover a different topic. Each week, students will have to read ca 200 pages of modern literature and a selection of ancient sources in translation on the basis of which they will have to write a short essay

Assessment method

48 hours before each session, students must hand in an annotated essay of 1500 words at maximum (excl. notes). Please note that this applies also to the first session. Each essay is marked; the average of these marks plus a mark for participation constitutes the final mark.


Blackboard: [1011]Roman Social History. Apart from registering through the normal procedure for admission to courses, students should also enrol themselves at this site before the start of the course.

Reading list

Student should buy the following source book: T.G. Parkin and A. J. Pomeroy, Roman social history. A sourcebook (London and New York 2007).
See Blackboard [1011]Roman Social History for literature lists, essay questions, and further details. Scholarly literature that is not available electronically, will be made available in xeroxes in the Classics Reading Room in the Main Library.


See enrolment-procedure

Contact information

With the tutor: Dr. L.E. Tacoma


Please note that Ancient History offers in both semesters a different Literature Seminar. Students can choose between the two, or take both. MA- or MPhil-students outside the History Department can take the course as an optional course; it is however not possible to take either course for 5 ECTS.