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Unit of study_

ANHS2635: Augustus and the Roman Revolution

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The Roman 'revolution' of the First Century BCE involved civil wars, political chaos, lawlessness and violence against civilians. From it emerged a regime which celebrated peace, political harmony, law, justice and the happiness of the citizens. Augustus was at the heart of this change. This unit explores the transformation of the Republic in his lifetime.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ANHS2635
Academic unit Classics and Ancient History
Credit points 6
12 Junior credit points in Ancient History, Greek (Ancient), Latin or History or 6 Junior credit points in Ancient History and 6 Junior credit points in History, Latin, Greek (Ancient), Philosophy or Archaeology
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Eleanor Cowan,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Take-home Exam
Take-home Exam
35% - 1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Participation Participation in online discussion
Participation in online discussion
5% - n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Assignment Textual commentary
Textual Commentary
20% Week -04
Due date: 19 Mar 2020 at 23:00

Closing date: 19 Apr 2020
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO2
Assignment Research essay
Research essay
40% Week 10
Due date: 07 May 2020 at 23:00

Closing date: 07 Jun 2020
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4

Assessment summary


n.b. Support for this assessment will be offered in the tutorial ‘How to read and write a commentary’.

Re-read Augustus’ Res Gestae and Suetonius’ Life of Augustus. Select one numbered paragraph from the Res Gestae OR Suetonius’ Life of Augustus. Follow these next steps carefully and write down your answers.

1)         Why did you choose this particular passage? What interests you about it? Hint: you might like to make clear whether you have studied Augustus before or not.

2)         Write down any questions that you have about the information contained in the passage you have chosen.

3)         Write down your plan for answering these questions. Include any resources you plan to consult and any bibliography relating to your specific passage and your questions that you plan to read.

4)         Identify any words, ideas or phrases in your passage that are the subject of scholarly controversy. Outline this controversy and give one or two item(s) of bibliography for each major ‘side’ in the debate.

5)         Now (and only now!) write an 800 word commentary on your chosen passage.

Remember – you must include steps 1-4 with your submitted commentary. They are an important part of the assessment. A worked example of this task and some general bibliography on both texts is available on the Canvas site.


please see topics and reading lists on the CANVAS page

Assessment criteria


This guide indicates broadly the qualitative judgements implied by the various grades which may be awarded. A more precise evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of individual essays will be provided in examiners’ comments. Evaluation is made with due consideration of the different standards likely to be achieved by students in junior and senior units.
For ANHS units

Fail (Below 50%)
Work not of an acceptable standard.
Work may fail for any or all of the foll owing reasons: lack of sufficient research using appropriate sources;
irrelevance of content; failure to answer the specific question or treat the specified theme; irrelevance of
content; wholesale lack of analysis or interpretation; unacceptable levels of paraphrasing; presentation,
grammar or structure so sloppy that work cannot be understood; very late submission without an extension.

Low Pass (50-54%)
Work of an acceptable standard.
Written work contains evidence o f minimal reading and some understanding of subject matter, offers
descriptive summary of material relevant to the question, but may have a tendency to paraphrase; makes a
reasonable attempt to organise material logically and comprehensibly and to provide scholarly documentation.
There may be gaps in any or all of these areas.

Medium Pass (55-59%)
Work of a satisfactory standard.
Written work meets basic requiremen ts in terms of reading and research, and demonstrates a reasonable
understanding of subject matter. Offers a synthesis of relevant material and shows a genuine effort to avoid
paraphrasing, has a logical and comprehensible structure and acceptable documentation, and attempts to
mount an argument, though there may be weaknesses in particular areas.

High Pass (60-64%)
Work of considerable merit, though Honours is not automatically recommended.
Written work contains evidence of a broad and reasonably accurate command of th e subject matter and some
sense of its broader significance, offers synthesis and some evaluation of material, demonstrates an effort to go
beyond the essential reading, contains clear focus on the principal issues, understanding of relevant arguments
and diverse interpretations, and a coherent argument grounded in relevant evidence, though there may be
some weaknesses of clarify or structure. Articulate, properly documented.

Low Credit (65-69%)
Competent work, demonstrating potential to complete Honours work, though further development needed to
do so successfully.
Written work conta ins evidence of comprehensive reading, offers synthesis and critical evaluation of material
on its own terms, takes a position in relation to various interpretations. In addition, it shows some extra sparkof insight or analysis. Demonstrates understanding of broad historical significance, good selection of evidence, coherent and sustainable argument, some evidence of independent thought, grasp of relevant historiography.

High Credit (70-74%)
Highly competent work, demonstrating clear capacity to complete Honours successfully.
Evidence of extensive reading and initiative in research, sound grasp of subject matter and appreciation of key
issues and context. Engages critically and creatively with the question, and attempts an analytical evaluation of
material. Makes a good attempt to critique various historical interpretations, and offers a pointed and thoughtful contribution to an existing historical debate. Some evidence of ability to think theoretically as well as empirically, and to conceptualise and problematise issues in historical terms. Well written and documented.

Distinction (75-84%)
Work of a superior standard.
Written work demonstrates in itiative in research and reading, complex understanding and original analysis of
subject matter and its context, both empirical and theoretical; makes good attempt to ‘get behind’ the evidence
and engage with its underlying assumptions, takes a critical, interrogative stance in relation to historical argument and interpretation, shows critical understanding of the principles and values underlying the unit.
Properly documented; writing characterised by style, clarity and some creativity.

High Distinction (85%+)
Work of exceptional standard.
Written work demonstrates init iative and ingenuity in research and reading, pointed and critical analysis of
material, innovative interpretation of evidence, makes an insightful contribution to historical debate, engages with values, assumptions and contested meanings contained within original evidence, develops abstract or theoretical arguments on the strength of detailed historical research and interpretation. Properly documented; writing characterised by creativity, style and precision.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Standard late penalties will be applied.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Augustus, Suetonius and the RGDA Lecture (1 hr)  
Young Caesar, Caesar and Cicero Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 02 Triumviral Rome Lecture (1 hr)  
Triumviral Rome Lecture (1 hr)  
How to use a commentary Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 03 Actium Lecture (1 hr)  
Historians and Augustus Lecture (1 hr)  
Triumviral evidence Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 04 Constitutional settlements Lecture (1 hr)  
Constitutional settlements Lecture (1 hr)  
Actium Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 05 Augustan culture Lecture (1 hr)  
Augustan culture Lecture (1 hr)  
The settlement of 28-27 B.C. Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 06 Augustus and the res publica Lecture (1 hr)  
Augustus and the res publica Lecture (1 hr)  
Propertius and Virgil Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 07 Augustus and the res publica Lecture (1 hr)  
Augustan morality Lecture (1 hr)  
Augustus and res publica Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 08 Opposition to Augustus Lecture (1 hr)  
Rome of marble Lecture (1 hr)  
No tutorial Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 09 Succesion Lecture (1 hr)  
Rome and Empire Lecture (1 hr)  
Augustus and the family Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 10 Augustan monuments Lecture (1 hr)  
Augustus workshop Lecture (1 hr)  
Workshop Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 11 Ovid and Augustus Lecture (1 hr)  
The Age of Augustus? Lecture (1 hr)  
No tutorial Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 12 After Augustus Lecture (1 hr)  
Augustus and history Lecture (1 hr)  
Ovid and Augustus Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 13 Succession Lecture (1 hr)  
Exam revision Lecture (1 hr)  
Pater Patriae Tutorial (1 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Demonstrate disciplinary expertise in historical and historiographical methods of inquiry and an understanding of the principles of the ancient historian.
  • LO2. Demonstrate the ability to effectively use primary evidence in the form of texts, epigraphic and numismatic material, iconography and/or material culture (including architecture and archaeological evidence).
  • LO3. Effectively and ethically communicate their knowledge to others and engage in informed and respectful disagreement.
  • LO4. Examine complex disciplinary problems and work independently to research and analyse those problems in an innovative way.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.