This course is available through clearing

If you already have your exam results, meet the entry requirements and hold no offers, then you can apply to this course now.

Contact the admissions team

If you're waiting for your results, then sign up to our clearing alerts to get all the information you need ahead of results day.

Sign up now

BA Latin and French

Year of entry: 2020

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

For the latest updates on how coronavirus will affect applicants and offer-holders, you can visit our FAQs.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Holding an offer for 2020 entry? Visit our dedicated offer-holders page.

Information for offer-holders

Course unit details:
The Roman Army and the North-West Frontiers

Unit code CAHE30882
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Classics & Ancient History
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course examines the structure and development of the Roman Army from c.31BC to c.AD 235. It also looks at Rome’s expansion to the North and West during this period and examines the nature and management of the frontiers so produced.


The aim of this course is to give an understanding of the functioning of the Roman army and the frontiers of the Roman Empire in its Northern and Western regions.

Learning outcomes

See specific outcomes listed below.


This course, as the title suggests, looks at the way Rome expanded, and attempted to expand, the boundaries of her empire in the North-West in what is normally called the High Empire (Late 1st century BC- early 3rd century AD). Like Gaul, the course is divided into three main themes:-

  • The campaigns which led or failed to lead to imperial expansion. Here we will look at both the campaigns themselves and the motivation which produced them.


  • The management and policing of frontiers once they were established. This includes looking at and assessing the effectiveness of frontier systems such as Hadrian's Wall, at less romantic, but equally interesting, aspect of frontier infrastructure such as roads and, of course, rebellions against Rome.


  • Finally we will look at the mechanics of the army itself, the equipment it used, its various parts and their integration with one another, its evolution over time, and the opposition it was up against. 

Hopefully, at least two field trips will be included in the course.

Teaching and learning methods

  • 2 x 1 hour lectures per week;
  • 1 x 1 hour seminar per week;
  • 1 dedicated consultation hour per week;
  • (where possible) visits to Hadrian’s Wall (10 hrs, incl. travel) and Chester (5 hrs, incl. travel);
  • Blackboard: course material, handouts and other supporting materials. 

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the structure of the Roman Army, the campaigns of the army in the North and West, the nature and theoretical discussion of the North Western frontiers of the Roman Empire during the period studied.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • analyse ancient source material;
  • critically analyse competing forms of evidence.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • present a critical argument in writing and orally.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • present a critical argument in writing and orally;
  • analyse and present complex arguments.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
The course involves a large number of important employment skills, most notably an ability to analyse and examine a large amount of often difficult information, an ability to see both sides of an argument, the ability to synthesise an argument in a cogent form, the ability to retrieve information from complex sources and present it in a compelling and cogent fashion.

Assessment methods


Assessment task


Weighting within unit

Seminar assignment

700 words


Essay 1

2500 words



2 hours



Feedback methods

  • Written feedback on formative and summative assessment (see above); all summative coursework feedback is designed to contribute formatively towards improvement in subsequent assessment. Students are encouraged to seek formative feedback ahead of the first assignment of the unit by discussing work plans and approaches during seminars (where appropriate) and in consultation hours.
  • Additional one-to-one feedback (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment).

Recommended reading

  • E Luttwak, The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (Baltimore & London 1976)
  • S Mattern, Rome and the Enemy. Roman Imperial Strategy in the Principate (1999)
  • C Whittaker, Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Baltimore:1994)
  • G Webster, The Roman Imperial Army (London 1979)
  • Y Le Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army (London 1994) 
  • D Breeze & B Dobson, Hadrian's Wall (London 1991)
  • A Bowman, Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier (London 1994)
  • B. Campbell, The Roman Army 31 BC-AD337, a sourcebook (London 1994)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 154

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Fear Unit coordinator

Return to course details