Courses & Units

Spectacle and Society in Ancient Rome HTC340



This unit explores the roles of spectacles and the spectacular in ancient Roman society through the study of literary, epigraphic, archaeological, and other heritage sources. Lecture and discussion topics include gladiatorial games, chariot races, animal hunts, military triumphs, theatrical shows, funerals, and executions. We will consider what spectacles meant to the ancient Romans, and what they still mean to us today.


Unit name Spectacle and Society in Ancient Rome
Unit code HTC340
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Humanities
Discipline History and Classics

Dr. Jayne Knight

Teaching staff

Dr. Jayne Knight

Level Advanced
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No


This unit is currently unavailable.


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Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe and explain the key features of different types of ancient Roman spectacles and situate them in their historical contexts.
  2. Distinguish between primary and secondary sources of evidence for ancient Roman spectacles and explain how they are used by ancient historians.
  3. Critically evaluate a range of primary sources for ancient Roman spectacles (e.g. literary, epigraphic, material).
  4. Use primary and secondary sources to support an independent argument about the social and political roles of spectacles in ancient Rome.


Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2 Domestic Full Fee
not applicable

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25 points at introductory level in any discipline in any Faculty.


Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:


Teaching Pattern

On Campus:
Weekly introductory lecture (recorded, approx. 30 minutes)
Weekly 2-hour mixed format seminar (consisting of 2 x 30-minute lectures, with a 30-minute group discussion following each)

Off Campus:
Weekly introductory lecture (recorded, approx. 30 minutes)
2 x 30-minute lecture recordings weekly
4 x 2-hour Web conference (discussion-based)


Task 1: Weekly online quizzes, 50-100 words (10%)

Task 2: Primary text analyses x 3, 300 words each (15%)

Task 3: Major essay on student-developed topic, 2250 words (35%)

Task 4: Take-home exam, 2500 words (40%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable


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