GRC10180 The Age of Augustus

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module studies the life and times of Rome's first emperor, Augustus, focusing on the period from 44 B.C. to A.D. 14. The Age of Augustus was a period of unprecedented political and cultural change, a golden age of stability and optimism after the civil wars which followed the death of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. Rome had for centuries been governed as a Republic, but the civil wars demonstrated the need for change, and Augustus was able to create a new political system in which he exercised sole rule as the 'first citizen' within a 'Restored Republic'. Official propaganda proclaimed the virtues of the new regime, a golden age of peace and prosperity was celebrated in literature and the visual arts, and in Rome there was a boom in monumental building almost without parallel in any other period of the city’s history. Students will learn how Augustus came to power, how he was able to rule for more than forty years as a monarch in a Republic after his victory in the civil wars, and how he created a lasting legacy which could be inherited by a new emperor, his heir Tiberius, when he died in A.D. 14.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students should be able to:

- Recognize the key people, events, and dates in Roman history from the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. to the death of Augustus in A.D. 14.
- Understand the process by which Augustus remodelled the Roman state and created a hereditary monarchy from the institutions of the Republic.
- Evaluate the usefulness of different types of evidence in reconstructing Roman history in this period, in particular coins, art and architecture, literary texts, and inscriptions.
- Analyse and comment on modern scholarly interpretations of the history, literature, and visual culture of the Augustan period.

Indicative Module Content:

1: Introduction
2: The Ides of March
3: Caesar’s heir
4: The Triumvirate
5: Sextus Pompey and Sicily
6: Antony and Cleopatra
7: The Battle of Actium
8: The Republic Restored
9: The New Golden Age
10: The City of Rome
11: Virgil’s Aeneid
12: Augustan Poetry
13: Army and Frontiers
14: Imperial Family and Succession
15: Augustan Culture
16: Conclusion

For online delivery these topics will be broken down into smaller units.

1. After the Ides of March
2. Divi filius: son of a god
3. Civil War Politics and Propaganda
4. Augustan Poetry
5. Death of Augustus

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures and small group work reinforced by learning journals in which students write a brief position statement on questions discussed in tutorials. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
GRC20200 - Augustan Rome

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Learning Journal 1 Week 5 n/a Graded No


Essay: Final Essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Learning journal 2 Week 7 n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: Online Quiz Week 9 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback on learning journal entries, group feedback on quiz.

W. Eck, The Age of Augustus, 2nd edition (Blackwell Publishing 2007)
K. Galinsky, Augustus: introduction to the life of an emperor (Cambridge 2012)
H. H. Scullard, From the Gracchi to Nero: A history of Rome from 133 B.C. to A.D. 68 (Routledge 1959)
R. Syme, The Roman Revolution (Oxford 1939)
P. Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (Ann Arbor 1988)

Name Role
Dr Martin Brady Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Aude Doody Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Nicholas Freer Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Alexander Thein Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Gillian O Sullivan Tutor
Ms Niamh Tobin Tutor