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AHIS2230 – From Constantine to Theoderic: The Roman World Transformed

2020 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Peter Edwell
Meaghan Davenport
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
40cp at 1000 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

Late Antiquity represents a major transitional period in Roman and European history. From the pivotal political and religious changes of the age of Constantine in the early fourth century AD to the collapse of the western Roman empire in the late fifth, and beyond, this unit involves close analysis of the Roman and post-Roman period, from the fourth-sixth century, particularly through contemporary literary sources. Major themes include the workings of imperial government, church/state relations, historiography, and the role of women in society. The unit also provides an introduction to the study of early medieval and Byzantine history.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO2: Demonstrate skills in reading ancient texts from a variety of historical and cultural contexts, with particular attention to critically identifying issues involved in interpretation of culturally-distant texts.
  • ULO1: Analyse and express judgement about political and religious changes in Late Antiquity from the 4th-6th centuries AD in oral and written form.
  • ULO3: Demonstrate research skills supporting independent location and evaluation of information, suitable for research at university level and for other professional situations.
  • ULO4: Demonstrate written and oral communication skills.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Delivery and Resources

Staff Contact details

The convenor and main lecturer for this unit is Dr Peter Edwell (Level 2, Australian Hearing Hub, e-mail address: peter.edwell@mq.edu.au). 

Please note: Apart from the first lecture which will act as an introduction, lectures in this unit are recorded only and will not be delivered live. It is very important to listen to the recorded lectures because weekly assessable quizzes are based on the material covered in the recorded lectures.

Required Unit Materials

There is no prescribed text book for this unit. There is also no unit reader. Materials for weekly readings for tutorials will be made available on Leganto or in a folder on the unit website. Further instructions will be provided in the introductory lecture.

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Unit Schedule

Week 1          

Lecture:                            General introduction to unit and third century background

Tutorial/Discussion:        Introductory

Week 2         

Lecture:                           The Tetrarchy and the Rise to Power of Constantine.

Tutorial/Discussion:       Eusebius and Lactantius: The Conversion of Constantine        

Week 3        

Lecture:                          Constantine as Sole Emperor: AD 324-337


Week 4         

Lecture:                           The Sons of Constantine: Constantius II, Constantine II and Constans

Tutorial/Discussion:        Athanasius, History of the Arians/Themistius, Oration on Rome & Constantinople

Week 5         

Lecture:                           The Emperor Julian                                       

Tutorial/Discussion:        Themistius

Week 6         

Lecture:                           The Theodosian "Revolution"

Tutorial/Discussion:       Ammianus Marcellinus on the Battle of Adrianople

Week 7                             No lectures or tutorials/discussions

Mid-semester break

Week 8         

Lecture:                            Church-State relations in the fifth century

Tutorial/Discussion:        The sack of Rome


Week 9       

Lecture:                           Rome and the peoples outside the Empire - Persia and the "Barbarians"

Tutorial/Discussion:       Theodoret’s Life of Simeon Stylites/Pseudo-Joshua the Stylite


Week 10                            

Lecture:                            The last generation of the western Roman Empire and the Barbarian Kingdoms

Tutorial/Discussion:        Paulinus of Pella, Thanksgiving/ Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters


Week 11                           

Lecture:                           Theoderic "King" of Italy

Tutorial/Discussion:        The History of Theoderic


Week 12       

Lecture:                            The emperor Anastasius and the early reign of Justinian

Tutorial/Discussion:        Procopius & Malalas: The Nika Riots and Theodora

Week 13       

Lecture:                           Unit Summary

Tutorial/Discussion:        No tutorials or discussions

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Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Late Submission Policy

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. No late submissions will be accepted for timed assessments – e.g. quizzes, online tests - or for journal notes collected randomly in tutorial classes.

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Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

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