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The Emperor in the Roman World


Admission requirements

This course is part of the (Res)MA History Programme. It is not accessible for BA students.


The nature of Roman Imperial Rule, and the position of the Emperor in the Roman world is a key theme in ancient history. Since the late twentieth century, scholars have approached Roman Emperorship from an increasingly diverse range of angles, using an increasingly varied evidential base, including not only literary texts but also inscriptions, coins, art, and architecture. Key question underlying much of this discourse is how emperors are able to rule authoritatively over a large empire while their actual means of asserting power are limited and only available at certain places. This seminar will discuss some key contributions to this debate that together offer a variety of perspectives on emperorship in the Roman world.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student has acquired:

  • 1 The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;

  • 2 The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;

  • 3 The ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;

  • 4 The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;

  • 5 (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  • 6 Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following; in the specialisation Ancient History: unification processes in the Graeco-Roman World, 400 BC – 400 AD; insight into the recent large-scale debates in the field with respect to both the history of mentality and socio-economic history.

  • 7 (ResMA only): Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical foundation of the discipline and of its position vis-à-vis other disciplines.

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Literature Seminar

The student:

  • 8 Can explain how scholarship on Roman emperorship has developed in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.

  • 9 Can assess the value of the most important methodological approaches to emperorship in the Roman world, and reflect on their strengths and weaknesses

  • 10 (ResMA only): can link the development of discourse on Roman emperorship to theoretical developments in Humanities at large


The timetable is available on the MA History website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar (compulsory attendance)
    This means that students have to attend every session of the course. If a student is not able to attend, he is required to notify the teacher beforehand. The teacher will determine if and how the missed session can be compensated by an additional assignment. If specific restrictions apply to a particular course, the teacher will notify the students at the beginning of the semester. If a student does not comply with the aforementioned requirements, he will be excluded from the seminar.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours

  • Classes: 6 x 2 = 12 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 6 x 25 = 150 hours (ca. 200 pages per week, 8 pages per hour)

  • Assignment(s): 6 x 4 = 24 hours

  • Final essay: 94 hours

Assessment method


  • Final Essay
    measured learning objectives: 1-2, 4-10

  • Assignment 1 (week 2 essay)
    measured learning objectives:1-2, 4-10

  • Assignment 2 (week 4 essay)
    measured learning objectives: 1-2, 4-10

  • Assignment 3 (week 6 essay)
    measured learning objectives: 1-2, 4-10


  • Written paper: 60%

  • Assignment 1: 10%

  • Assignment 2: 10%

  • Assignment 3: 10%

  • Class participation 10%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficent.


Assignments and written papers should be handed in within the deadline as provided in the relevant course outline on Blackboard.


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Exam review

How and when a review of the written paper will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the results, a review of the written paper will have to be organised.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • publication course outline and assignments

  • communication of deadlines

  • publication of compulsory literature

Reading list

For the first session,
Compulsory literature for subsequent sessions will be published on blackboard at the start of the course.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. M. Flohr