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CLAS344 From Augustus to Nero: Scandal and Intrigue in Imperial Rome

A study of the Julio-Claudian emperors, examining literary texts, inscriptions, coins, and art, with particular emphasis on the development of Roman imperial and dynastic power.

This paper examines the scandals and intrigues associated with development of imperial power in Rome in the 1st century CE. It analyses the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero with a specific focus on how these emperors secured their position of power, considering their family dynamics, arranged murders and intrigues in order to hold on to power, and their attitudes and actions towards the army, the senate, and the people.

Paper title From Augustus to Nero: Scandal and Intrigue in Imperial Rome
Paper code CLAS344
Subject Classics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $868.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,656.70

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18 200-level CLAS, GREK or LATN points
CLAS 444
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff
Dr Gwynaeth McIntyre
Paper Structure
This paper consists of two-50 minute classes per week which will vary from lecture style to a more discussion based format. The topics are arranged by emperor and cover the creation and development of dynastic succession, expanding the empire, mutinies and conspiracies, and ideology and propaganda.

Internal Assessment 60%
Edwards, C. (trans). 2008. Suetonius. The Lives of the Twelve Caesars. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Woodman, A.J. (trans). 2004. Tacitus. The Annals. Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Self-motivation, Interdisciplinary perspectives.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this paper, students will have gained:
  • an understanding of the historical context of the period from the death of Caesar to the death of Nero (44 BCE - 68 CE)
  • an understanding of the key developments of the construction of a dynastic house and the various ways imperial power could be legitimized and expressed
  • a familiarity with the various types of literary, epigraphic, numismatic, and artistic sources for the period as well as the ability to critically evaluate these sources
  • the skills of effective written communication, including the construction of clear and logical scholarly argumentation

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 14:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 14:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41