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Pompeii and the Cities of the Roman World

This course brings together key dimensions of the theory and practice at Pompeii and the Cities of the Roman World
University of Oxford University Offices Wellington Square Oxford ,OX1 2JD United Kingdom
(4418) 65270000

Course at a Glance

Mode of learning : Online - Instructor Lead(LVC)

Domain / Subject : Humanities

Function : General

Trainer name : Ms Sera Baker

Starts on : 26th Jan 2015

Duration : 10 Weeks

Difficulty : Advanced

About the course

Pompeii is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Its fame and uniqueness are,of course, due to the remarkable way in which it was preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Using evidence from Pompeii, you can study public buildings, monuments, inscriptions and painted posters that reflect public life, houses and gardens that reveal how the people lived, shops, markets and streets where they earned their living, and tombs where they buried their dead. This is why Pompeii has contributed so much to our understanding urban Roman life.

This course examines all these features, along with other issues such as the urban development of the city, its destruction in AD 79, and its long history of excavation. It is designed for those wishing to investigate the wide range of evidence from Pompeii, how it has been interpreted and how, in turn, this has influenced our understanding of urban development in the Roman world.

Course aims

By the end of this course students should understand:

  • The diverse nature of the evidence from a unique archaeological site, and the variety of issues that can be studied in a Roman town
  • How the excavation and study of Pompeii has been influenced by different historical and political events 
  • The role of towns in the Roman world
  • Significant features of Roman towns, and problems involved in understanding them
  • Some of the most controversial issues currently being discussed by scholars of Pompeii and other Roman towns

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Teaching methods

  • Guided reading of texts
  • Group discussions of particular issues
  • Questions to be answered in personal folders
  • Work on a site-map of Roman Britain

Teaching outcomes

By the end of this course students should have gained the following skills:

  • Ability to assess the context and importance of different types of evidence
  • Ability to think laterally across a range of issues, to see how different types of evidence interrelate
  • Ability to critically discuss particular issues in a clear and effective manner

Course eligibility

Course Requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following textbooks:

  • Cooley, A. and Cooley, M. Pompeii. A Sourcebook. London: Routledge Berry, J. The Complete Pompeii. London: Thames and Hudson
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Course Content

  • The destruction and preservation of Pompeii
  • Excavating the city
  • The origin and development of Pompeii
  • Public life and politics 
  • Entertainment
  • Death and Burial
  • Religious Life 
  • Houses, status and fashion 
  • Economic life of the Roman city – craft and trade
  • Agriculture

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