The Second Rome

Ref: C2342869

During the term, we will examine the historical transformation of government in the Roman Empire during the traumatic period of the seventh century and the Islamic conquests. We will look at the significance of the major church divisions of the east, and consider why these divisions contributed the Empire's later difficulties. We will examine the nature of the Roman collapse under the emperor Phokas and consider its impact and significance, before going on to consider the value of the subsequent recovery under emperor Herakleios and his heirs. We will conclude with an overview of the rise of Islam, its immediate impact and the longer-term consequences for the security and integrity of the Roman Empire. In particular, we will focus on the nature of Roman efforts to stabilize its borders in response to the threat posed by the expansion of the Islamic world. You will be introduced to all the major cultural aspects, theology and warfare during the period concerned.

Course aim

The course aims to give a brief but wide-ranging account of Roman society through the turbulent change of the seventh century AD. It is primarily intended for those who would like to pursue an interest in the nature of Late Antiquity.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Briefly describe the Byzantine "dark age" and its significance.
  • Describe the significance of the reigns of emperor Phokas and emperor Herakleios
  • Make some assessment and describe the impact of the Islamic conquests on the Byzantine world

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 have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Forgotten Power: Byzantium, Bulwark of Christianity, Roger M Keane (Thalamus Publishing 2005) The Byzantines, Averil Cameron (Blackwell 2009)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

The Second Rome

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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