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Queen's University


*Please note that course syllabi are updated each year in late August 
Prior to August, syllabi on the Classics Department website will reflect the courses as they were offered in the last term or year.  Significant changes in emphasis in course material may occur from year to year, including grading methodology, grade weighting and assignments.   Up-to-date syllabi will be available to students by the first day of class.

CLST 321*/0.5  3L/S
The World of Late Antiquity

 Class meetings

Mondays 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Wednesdays 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Location: Stirling Hall, room 414 (STI-414)


Dr. Laura Carlson

Watson Hall,  Rm. 234

Ext. 78998

(Please use "CLST321" in the subject line of your e-mails, and give your full

name in the body; you should also use your queensu e-mail account.)

Office Hours:
Mondays:  3:00-4:30 p.m.

Tuesdays:  2:00-3:30 p.m.

And by appointment

Teaching Assistant:  Marcus Jeffrey (

Course Requirements

The following texts are required for this course:

-          In the university bookstore:

  • Michael Maas, Readings in Late Antiquity: A Sourcebook(referred to hereafter as “Maas” in the course schedule)
  • Averil Cameron, The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity 395-700(referred to hereafter as “Cameron” in the course schedule)

-          We will also be reading a number of primary & secondary sources online. The URLs are provided in the syllabus & are also available via the course’s Moodle page online. 



Evaluation Scheme

Term Assignments

10%: Attendance & Class Participation

  • Attendance and constructive participation in class is expected of each student; noticeable absences will negatively affect your grade.
  • In the case of a family emergency or illness, please inform me via email. A physician’s note may be required to explain significant absences.

  10%: “Coins of the Crisis” Project, due Monday, January 27th (Submit Online via Moodle on the January 27th section of the page)

  • Additional information will be provided about this project in class.

  25%: Barbarian In-Class Debate, Monday March 3rd 
            10% In-Class Debate (5%: Participation; 5%: Group Notes Sheet)
            15% “Barbarian Letter” (due the date of the debate)

25%: Group Urban Models Project
            10%: In-Class Group Presentation
            15%: Urban Model Brochure (hard copy due in-class the day of the presentation)

30%: Final Exam/Final Essay,to be scheduled during the university’s exam period
            15%: Final Exam
            15%: Final Essay (due the day of the final exam)

Makeup examinations are not scheduled except in extraordinary circumstances: serious illness, death in the family, etc. If you have an emergency that prevents you from taking an examination, please contact the instructor. Do *NOT* make travel arrangements until you know the date of your exam.

Submissions/Graded Work
Graded work should either be handed in during class or via the class’s online Moodle page. All submissions should be in Times New Roman font, 12 pt with your name and student number.

If submitting online, your file must be in either a Word or PDF format. Online submissions are due by midnight the day of the deadline. Late submission of work will negatively affect your grade.

Course Schedule

Note:You should have each day’s reading assignment completed by the beginning of class.

**Although the following is an overview of class topics and readings, it is subject to change. The latest version to this syllabus can be found on the class’ Moodle page. It is your responsibility to check for any changes to the week’s readings.**


Lecture Topic

Reading Assignments & Deadlines

Monday, Jan. 6th



No readings assigned

Wed., Jan. 8th

Roman Government/Empire & the 3 rd Century Crisis


Elio Lo Cascio, Chapter 6a “General Developments”, in The Cambridge Ancient History , Vol. 12, pp. 131-36 (available online via library)


Averil Cameron, “Introduction: The Third Century Background” in The Later Roman Empire 284-430, pp. 1-12 (available via PDF on Moodle)


Maas, The Roman Empire, Ruler & Administration, pp. 1-10


Mon., Jan. 13th


Work on “Coins of the Crisis” Project, due Monday, January 27th


Wed., Jan 15th

Founding of Constantinople & the Division of the Empire


Cameron, Chapter 1: Constantinople & the Eastern Empire pp. 20-38


Maas, Constantinople, pp. 59-64


Mon., Jan. 20th

Imperial Religions: Paganism, Judaism, & Christianity




Cameron, Chapter 3: Christianization and its Challenges, pp. 58-83


Maas, Christianity, pp. 110-119

           Judaism, pp. 201-207

           Paganism, pp. 174-183 (read until “The End of the Secular Games”)


Wed., Jan 22nd

Roman Economics & Diocletian’s Reforms


*Sign up available for City Presentations on Moodle*

Cameron, Chapter 4: The Roman Society and Economy, pp. 84-103


Maas, “Imperial Administration”, pp. 11-20 & “Economic Life”, pp. 22-35, & “City Administration”, pp. 37-40


Mon., Jan 27th

Social & Cultural Life


**Coins of the Crisis Project Due (Submit Online via Moodle)**


Cameron, Chapter 6: Late Antique Culture and Private Life, pp. 128-145


Maas, “Domestic Life”, pp. 240-243, “Marriage and Divorce”, pp. 248-258, “Life in the Roman Household”, pp. 259-263


Wed., Jan 29th

Education & Literacy: From Roll to Codex: Textual Sources



Michelle Brown, Chapter 13, “The Triumph of the Codex: The Manuscript Book before 1100” in A Companion to the History of the Book (available online via the library)


Maas, Secular & Christian Education, pp. 66-77;

Training in Law and Medicine, pp. 285-305


Mon., Feb. 3rd

Emergent Christianity: The Holy Fathers, Asceticism, and the Cult of the Saints



Peter Brown, “The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity”, Journal of Roman Studies (1971), pp. 80-101 (available online via Moodle as a PDF)


Maas, “Martyrs and Relics”, “Pilgrimage”, Asceticism”, “Liturgy and Prayer”, and Calendars & Apocalyptic Literature” pp. 142-168


Wed., Feb. 5th

Warfare & the Romany Army


*Sign up available for Barbarian Tribe Debate on Moodle*

Michael Whitby, Chapter 17 “Armies and Society in the Later Roman World” in The Cambridge Ancient History , Vol. 14, pp. 469-495 (available online via the library)


Maas, The Roman Army, pp. 78-94


Mon., Feb 10th

Images of the City of Rome: Monumentality, Adrianople & the Sack of 410



Jas Elsner, “Chapter 24: Art and Architecture” The Cambridge Ancient History , Volume 13: The Late Empire, pp. 736-761 (available online via the library)


Maas, “The City of Rome”, “Rome becomes a Christian Center” and “The Sack of Rome, 410” pp. 47-58


Ammianus Marcellinus, “The Battle of Hadrianople” (available online at:


Wed., Feb 12th

The Huns: Influences from the East


*Deadline to Sign up for City Presentation Project & Barbarian Debate on Moodle*


Denis Sinor, Chapter 7, “The Hun Period” in The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia (2008), pp. 177-205 (available online via the library)


Maas, “Steppe peoples and Slavs”, pp. 371-380


Mon. Feb. 17th




Wed, Feb 19th




Mon., Feb. 24th

The Last Days of Rome? Invaders and Western Successor States



Cameron, Chapter 2: The Empire and the Barbarians, pp. 39-57


Maas, Invaders and Successor States, pp. 347 (beginning at “Destruction of Visigothic Draftees) -363

Wed., Feb. 26th

Identity and Community: Problems of Ethnogenesis


Walter Pohl, “Telling the Difference: Signs of Ethnic Identity” Strategies of Distinction: The Construction of Ethnic Communities 300-800 (Brill, 1999), pp. 17-70 (available as a PDF online via Moodle)


Maas, “Ethnogenesis”, pp. 366-369


Mon., March 3rd

The Western Kingdoms


In-Class Debate



Background Reading on your “barbarian” tribe (see project description)


In-Class Debate


Wed., March 5th

The Survival of Byzantium




Cameron, Chapter 5: Justinian and Reconquest, pp. 104-127


Maas, “The Plague” , pp. 307-310


Procopius, “The Nika Riots”, (


Procopius, “The Secret History”,



Mon., March 10th

Sasanian Persia


**Sign Up Opens for Urban Model Presentation Time Slots**

Cameron, Chapter 9: A Changed World, read from “A Renewed War with Persia” (p. 191) until “The Arab Conquests” (p. 198)


Maas, Sasanian Persia, pp. 327-344


Wed., March 12th

The Rise of Islam



Cameron, Chapter 9: A Changed World, read from “The Arab Conquests” (p. 198) until the end of the chapter (p. 207)


Maas, Islam, pp. 387-407


Mon., March 17th

Post-Roman Trade & Methods of Exchange


Simon Loseby, Chapter 22 “The Mediterranean Economy” in The New Cambridge Medieval History Vol. 1, pp. 605-638 (available online via library)


Excerpts from Cassiodorous’ Variae(available as a PDF online via Moodle)


Wed, March 19th

Towns/Urban Models Presentations


Read in preparation for class discussion and presentations: Cameron, Chapter 7: Urban Change and the Late Antique Countryside, pp. 146-167


In Class Presentations


Mon., March 24th

Towns/Urban Models Presentations


In Class Presentations



Wed., March 26th

Britain and “the North”


Helena Hamerow, Chapter 10 “The Earliest Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms” in The New Cambridge Medieval History Vol. 1, pp. 263-288 (available online via the library)


Gildas, On the Ruin of Britain


Bede, History of the English Church and People, Book I, Chapters I-VI, XII-XVI, XXIII-XXXIV; available online via Fordham’s Medieval Sourcebook (


Mon., March 31st

The State of Texts: Law, Language, Property and Cultural Hierarchies


Alice Rio, Chapter 1 “Orality and Literacy in Frankish Society” in Legal Practice and the Written Word in the early middle ages (2009), pp. 9-26 (Available as a PDF via Moodle)


Grant of an Estate to a Monastery (


The Farmer’s Law (


Wed., April 2nd

Review Session



    Academic Integrity

    Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see These values are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University (see the Senate Report on Principles and Priorities).

    Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the regulations concerning academic integrity and for ensuring that their assignments conform to the principles of academic integrity. Information on academic integrity is available in the Arts and Science Calendar (see  Academic Regulation 1), on the Arts and Science website (Faculty's Academic Integrity page) and from the instructor of this course.

    Departures from academic integrity include plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification, and are antithetical to the development of an academic community at Queen's. Given the seriousness of these matters, actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning or the loss of grades on an assignment to the failure of a course to a requirement to withdraw from the university.

    Grading Methodology

    All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks. The final grade you receive for the course will be derived by converting your numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale: 

    Queen's Official Grade Conversion Scale





    Numerical Course Average (Range)


























    49 and below 





    The material on this website is copyrighted and is for the sole use of students registered in CLST 321. The material on this website may be downloaded for a registered student’s personal use, but shall not be distributed or disseminated to anyone other than students registered in CLST 321.  Failure to abide by these conditions is a breach of copyright, and may also constitute a breach of academic integrity under the University Senate’s Academic Integrity Policy Statement.

    This page was last updated 15 January 2014.  

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