Approaching Ancient Evidence (Roman)

Module code: AH1009

  • How do you decode the abbreviations on Latin inscriptions?
  • Who was writing graffiti on the walls of Pompeii and why?
  • How does language help conquest?

Language and the written word were crucial in shaping classical antiquity. In this module we will explore a wide range of written sources from the Roman world – not just literature and classical texts, but also writing in all of its myriad forms, from triumphal inscriptions carved at the command of emperors to election graffiti written by regular citizens.

You will learn basic Latin grammar, vocabulary and syntax, sufficient to translate short sentences and documents such as simple inscriptions, coins and extracts from literary texts. The focus, however, is on the nature of language, the range of sources available, and the ways in which they help shape understanding. The texts discussed in their historical and archaeological context will be closely linked to the topics covered in AH1011 Introduction to Roman History.

Topics covered

  • What is a language?
  • The language of power
  • The language of belief
  • The language of death
  • Latin and Imperialism
  • Defining place
  • Money and coinage
  • Graffiti
  • The relevance of Latin
  • Latin after Rome