CLAS422-20S1 (A) Semester One 2020 (The Arts Centre Christchurch)

Roman Architecture

30 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


This course explores the tremendous architectural and engineering achievements of the Romans from the 2nd century BC - 4th century AD. The course will focus on a variety of architectural buildings, forms, techniques and materials, and will also examine some of the cultural and historical factors underlying the Romans' success as architects. This course is suitable for Civil Engineering students as well as Arts students.

This course explores all aspects of Roman architecture from the principles of engineering (cement, arches, vaults) to the refinements that make Roman buildings visually appealing. If the Romans built it, we'll be studying it: amphitheatres, baths, circuses, houses, temples, basilicas, aqueducts, bridges, and even sewers and loos. We will also be looking at the architectural and other features of Roman cities. This course will help prepare you for your OE in Europe.

Learning Outcomes

Advanced specialised knowledge of a key phenomenon (Roman architecture) and understanding of theoretical approaches to the topic in secondary scholarship.

Argumentations skills including:
1. Ability to clearly formulate issues and problems in written and oral form.
2. Ability to analyse and criticise an argument by way of discussing primary evidence and assessing scholarly approaches.

Critical/Analytical skills including:
3. Ability to  identify complex problems, questions or issues and formulate possible solutions.
4. Ability to choose and apply relevant approaches and secondary sources that may help resolve these problems.
5. Selection and contextualisation of primary sources relevant to the issues under observation.
6. Ability to critically assess and present scholarly arguments by testing them on primary sources.
7. Formulation and evaluation of one’s own approach and claims.

8. Ability to draw information about Roman architecture from the internet and evaluate its quality.
9. Ability to identify and develop a research topic relevant to Roman architecture, and to compile a bibliography including a range of relevant sources including both basic and advanced/specialised secondary scholarship on the subject, as well as relevant primary evidence (physical, visual and written evidence).
10. Ability to engage in critical thinking over the impact of Roman architecture on Western culture and institutions and the cultural whakapapa of European New Zealanders.
11. Self-confidence and autonomy built upon disciplined habits of study and pursuit of set goals.
12. Advanced written and oral communication skills derived from a better understanding of concepts and notions derived from the study of an aspect of Classical antiquity (Roman architecture).

Subject-specific course outcomes:
13. An overview of the history of Roman architecture and its development over time.
14. Ability to examine, assess and comment intelligently on the materials, construction and architectural forms of Roman buildings.
15. An understanding of the inter-relationship between Roman architecture and the development of Roman imperial cities.
16. An in-depth understanding of how Roman architecture and cities met the needs of their occupants.
17. Appreciation of how Roman architecture has influenced buildings and urban development in the modern world.
18. Knowledge of the basic primary sources and secondary scholarship relevant to the study of Roman architecture that can be used as a basis for further research into the topic.

Workplace skills
19. Ability to write succinct prose.
20. Ability to identify problems and research solutions for them.
21. Enhanced observational skills.
22. Time management skills: working to a deadline in an efficient manner.
23. Ability to give and accept constructive feedback from others.Enhanced presentation skills.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.


CLAS322, CLAS314: in 2012 and 2014 only

Equivalent Courses

CLAS314: in 2012 and 2014 only

Timetable Note

There will be six additional tutorial sessions (time/place TBC) that focus on assigned articles and primary sources. These will require weekly readings to be completed prior to the tutorial and will focus on the CLAS422 assigned readings.

Course Coordinator

Alison Griffith


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Attendance 10% Attendance including building materials quiz in week 3
Assignment 20% Ancient building assignment
Oral Presentation and Essay 40% Oral presentation (15 minutes) - 10% Rough draft of essay - 10%, due week after presentation Final version of essay - 20%
Final Exam 30%

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Sear, Frank; Roman Architecture ; London: Routledge, 1998.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,884.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts .

All CLAS422 Occurrences

  • CLAS422-20S1 (A) Semester One 2020 (The Arts Centre Christchurch)