Ancient Roman and Greek History

Ref: C3671516

Rome in the first century BC saw numerous bloody civil wars as the old system of government, known as the Roman Republic, came under attack. Ambitious generals, debt-ridden young men from rich families, and the huge and volatile urban poor combined to form a violent and unstable mix. But such was the horror Rome's traditional elite had for any form of monarchy that when Julius Caesar became dictator for life in 44 BC , he was murdered and the Ides of March entered popular mythology. Yet his heir, the young Octavian, not only managed to emerge from the civil wars as sole ruler, but died in AD 14 at the age of 75 after forty years as Caesar Augustus, the first emperor of Rome. This course uses the ancient source material, history, inscriptions, literature and material remains, to see how this master of propaganda managed to hold power for so long and transform the political landscape of Rome for ever.

Course aim

To look at how Octavian, the young revolutionary, became Augustus, the first Roman emperor, and how he changed the political - and actual - landscape of the city for ever.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Give a basic chronology of the rise to power and reign of Augustus
  • Understand who held power in the Roman Republic and what were its core values
  • Understand who held power in the reign of Augustus and what its the core values
  • To understand how propaganda was used to support the new regime
  • Give at least one detailed example of an ancient source relevant to the reign of Augustus

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member

Download full course outline

Ancient Roman and Greek History Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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