The Later Roman Empire AD 235-430

Module code: AH3551

This module covers the period from the late third century to the early fifth century AD. It examines the Roman Empire in a period of transformation, and a time when Christianity became the religion of the state. It looks at the ways emperors tried to manage the administration of a vast empire; at their responses to the new threats from borders east, west, north and south; and the power of the military and the influences of court politics. The ‘triumph’ of Christianity is examined in the light of internal divisions within the Christian communities and the reactions of different emperors to their perceived position in the Church hierarchy. The rise of Christianity did not prevent a flowering of paganism in the period, seen particularly in the reign (and writings) of the enigmatic emperor Julian in the mid-fourth century. The primary evidence for the period is rich in both content and variety. There is a huge corpus of literary and documentary evidence and surviving archaeology and material culture that point to vibrant and creative societies across the empire. The period is often defined as one of decline but this module will present a very different picture of the later Roman world.


This module is studied by distance learning. Teaching materials will include a module workbook, textbooks and set readings, some of which may be delivered through Blackboard.


  • 2 critical research essays, 3,000 words each (50% + 50%)