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CLAS109 Roman Social History: Slaves, Gladiators, Prostitutes

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A study of ancient Roman social life, with particular emphasis on the marginalised (or so-called ’invisible’) lower classes, including slaves, gladiators, prostitutes and bandits.

The vast and enduring empire of Rome was built upon the backs of men and women whose names never made it into the history books. This paper studies the lives of the marginalised (or so-called 'invisible') lower classes in ancient Rome, including slaves, gladiators, prostitutes and bandits. In doing so, it reveals a society that was often brutal and violent and based upon values very different from our own.

Paper title Roman Social History: Slaves, Gladiators, Prostitutes
Paper code CLAS109
Subject Classical Studies
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $929.55
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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CLAS 224
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff
Lecturer: Professor Jon Hall
Paper Structure
Internal Assessment 50%
R. Knapp Invisible Romans (Harvard UP, 2011)

Course Reader: Greek and Roman Primary Sources
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will have

  • An understanding of ancient Roman society with particular reference to the lower classes including slaves and gladiators
  • The ability to analyse critically the historical sources available on Roman society
  • An appreciation of the ethical implications of Roman social attitudes and values and how they differ from those of modern New Zealand
  • The skills of effective written communication

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 14:00-14:50 9-15, 18-22
Wednesday 14:00-14:50 9-15, 17-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 10, 12, 14, 18, 20, 22
T2 Tuesday 13:00-13:50 10, 12, 14, 18, 20, 22
T3 Tuesday 16:00-16:50 10, 12, 14, 18, 20, 22
T4 Tuesday 15:00-15:50 10, 12, 14, 18, 20, 22
T5 Wednesday 12:00-12:50 10, 12, 14, 18, 20, 22