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Christians and Pagans from Constantine to Augustine (AD 306-430)


Value: two units


Dr David Gwynn


Taught through weekly two-hour seminars and supervisions of dissertation through a series of 1-to-1 meetings


Taught unit: 3-hour exam (70%); one 3,000 word essay (10%), one assessed gobbet exercise (10%); oral presentation (10%), plus formative coursework gobbets; dissertation unit: 10,000-word dissertation (100%)

NB: Not to be taken in conjunction with HS2124 The Later Roman Empire

This course covers the crucial transitional period in which Christianity came to dominate the Mediterranean world, from the accession of the first Christian Roman emperor Constantine in 306 to the death of Augustine of Hippo in 430. Students will explore the fundamental political, social and religious developments of these years through the close study of literary and material evidence. Particular attention will focus upon the great authors of this period, including Constantine’s biographer Eusebius of Caesarea, the last pagan Roman emperor Julian ‘the Apostate’, the historian Ammianus Marcellinus, the orator Libanius, and the Christian fathers Jerome and Augustine. We will also examine lesser known writers such as Ausonius, Prudentius and Claudian, the laws of the Theodosian Code, inscriptions, and an array of surviving examples of Late Roman art and architecture.


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