HST2507: The Roman Republic and the making of Roman Italy (500-90 BC)

20 credits (semester 1)

Module Leader: Dr Daniele Miano


Module Summary

Around 90 BC, after an alliance with the Romans which had lasted centuries, the Italians decided to revolt against Rome, and were subsequently offered Roman citizenship if they laid down their arms. Italian enfranchisement represented a phase of a long process of co-existence and integration in the same geographical area of a variety of peoples and communities with extremely different languages, institutions and cultures, including Greeks and Etruscans, within a framework increasingly dominated by Rome.

The "Italian question" is one of the key elements for our comprehension of the history of Republican Rome, and it had profound consequences in the social and political crisis which led to the fall of the Republic and the institution of Imperial autocracy. How should we understand this long process of integration, its factors, and the immense cultural change it has caused? This module will present an introduction to the different peoples in ancient Italy, but it will also analyse the early history of Rome and how the Roman Republic conquered and controlled the peninsula, and with what consequences.


The first aim is to outline the concept of Italy as a region and its historical change. This will introduce you to the idea of space as culturally and historically defined, but also of the importance of networks connecting micro and macro-region to the understanding of social, cultural and economic historical processes.

The second aim is to present the different peoples living in Italy, their languages and interactions. With its great variety of people, ancient Italy is the ideal topic to explore and think about how cultures influence each other, how languages but also institutions are translated into each other, and the related phenomena of multiculturalism and multilingualism.

The third aim is to analyse how this extremely fragmented landscape changes with the establishment of Rome as a regional superpower, how integration worked in the framework of Roman Italy, and whether or not the Romans directly promoted it. This point will raise up important questions on Roman imperialism and the effects of Roman colonisation which will be connected with modern historiographical categories.

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching is based on student engagement and thorough feedback. Student engagement is reached through varied, clearly structured, and interactive lectures and seminars.

The lectures will provide the basic narrative and contextualisation of the most important events and topics of the paper, whereas seminars are focused on more specific issues, with a limited but informed set of ancient sources you can be expected to master.

The module will be assessed in part by a 2,500 word essay based largely on secondary sources, which will allow students to advance their understanding of aspects of the module in more detail, to develop skills of analysis and argument, and to improve their writing. Formative feedback will offer advice on how to improve for the forthcoming summative assessment. A written examination will require students to demonstrate that they have absorbed and understood the material and that they can express this in clear prose and a structured argument.

Information on assessment can be found at: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/assessment/level2


Intended Learning Outcomes
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