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FREE Course - Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier

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This six week course offers a comprehensive introduction to Hadrian’s Wall and its people and raises fascinating issues concerning colonisation, cultural transformation, immigration, integration and imperialism, and it is FREE!

 

Registration at Newcastle University

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Thanks for the alert.

 

I enrolled. I will let you know. The course begins September 22.

 

 

guy also known as gaius

Edited by guy
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Thanks for the alert.

 

I enrolled. I will let you know. The course begins September 22.

 

 

guy also known as gaius

 

awesome, if it is any good, let us know with some update :)

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I'm looking forward to the course (if I can find the time).

 

Here's part of the introduction I already received:

 

Hello Guy,

 

A very warm welcome to our course ‘Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier’. I’ll be your Lead Educator, and I’m very much looking forward to getting started.

 

We’ll be exploring this remarkable landmark and the people who lived and worked on and around it together over the next six weeks. We will be using a variety of specially-prepared tools designed specifically to give you a flavour of our innovative teaching methods here at Newcastle University, including cold case forensic challenges in weeks two, three and six, and a dramatic visualisation of a late Roman dinner in week five.

 

By the end of our time together you will have:

* explored and gained an appreciation of the archaeological skills and methods used to uncover the story of Hadrian’s Wall and its people

* discovered how to read and interpret key ancient texts related to Hadrian’s Wall

* been introduced to the diverse soldiers and civilians who lived along Hadrian’s Wall

* investigated the architecture and changing uses of the many different buildings which made up the Hadrian’s Wall system

 

I will be initiating discussions as we go, together with my colleague Dr Rob Collins, and our four mentors: Skylar Arbuthnott, Emma Gooch, Dr Sophie Moore, and Evan Scherer. Please feel welcome to use these discussions to ask questions and offer insights. We are all students together and we will all learn from one another. I won’t be able to answer any email questions directly, but my colleagues and I will be raising key debating points and engaging with comments offered by course participants. We'll also respond to common problems and questions with updates and notices as the course proceeds.

 

We are hoping that learners will move together roughly in step in order to be able to support each other through these discussions. However, you are also welcome to move faster or slower through the course, if that fits in better with your available time.

 

 

It is very important to stress that all elements of this course are entirely free. We offer recommendations for further reading, but you don’t need to buy any of them unless you want to. The entire course is designed so that all you need is provided free in the platform.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. It looks quite a long introduction to me, but there is a lot to introduce, particularly for those doing a FutureLearn course for the first time. As you will soon see, on the course, we aim to keep articles and papers pithy and concise.

 

And with that I will sign off for the moment, I hope you have as much fun learning about Hadrian's Wall as I have over the past thirty plus years. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you.

 

Best wishes,

 

Ian Haynes

Professor of Archaeology

Newcastle University

 

 

The price is right (free) and it looks like the instructors are knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

 

Anyone else here signed up?

 

 

guy also known as gaius

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Yes, I have signed up and looking forward to it.   I did take the Portus course.  I found to properly learn and enjoy the course,  it took me more than 3 hours per week.   I hadn't taken an archaeology course is so many years.  The science involved has truly grown.

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I've also signed up for this course, although it will compete for my time with a few other MOOC such as designing cities, making decisions in a complex world or introduction to submarine archeology... But I'll follow it :)

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I wish I had the time to do it! But with 2 part-time jobs, and a small child to take care of, I'm afraid I would just lag behind...  :(

Edited by Aurelia

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I signed up for, and just started, the Hadrian's Wall course. This is week 1. 

 

So far we have looked at a map of the entire length of the Wall, and learned a brief bit about three methods archaeologists can use to find evidence of ditches or hill-forts.

 

We also looked at samples of tablets from Vindolanda.

 

This course intrigued me as I had opportunity to visit Newcastle and the Chester Roman fort and Museum. Walking through the Fort itself was---eerie. I could almost hear the legionaries, the clink of metal, the sound of sword and shield sparring.

Anyone else liking the course so far?

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So far, I think they have done an excellent job. This course will hopefully bring enthusiasm to the study of Ancient Rome.

 

I've had a few petty quibbles, however.

 

They present two sculptures and ask "Which is the real Hadrian?"

 

post-3665-0-19857000-1411428459_thumb.jpg

(Click to enlarge)

 

Their answer is the Hadrian on the right in military garb.

 

The explanation:

 

As for Hadrian, you may be surprised to know that the statue on the left is an incorrect restoration put together in the nineteenth century from parts of several different statues. For all his well-documented love of Greece, its philosophy and civilisation, we actually have no surviving statues showing Hadrian in Greek dress. By contrast, there are several striking examples of him in armour. The statue on the right is authentic.

 

Fair enough, but when examining the many numismatic images, Hadrian is usually presented as a bearded philosopher (the first emperor to routinely have a beard, by the way) and not a military general.

 

 http://wildwinds.com/coins/ric/hadrian/t.html

 

Maybe (and just maybe) the problem is with the artist doing the sculpture and not those who did the numerous coin dies of Hadrian.

 

Good stuff, though. If there is more interest, I will comment further.

 

I do recommend the course highly. One goes at his or her own pace. And remember...it's free.

 

 

guy also known as gaius

Edited by guy

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I have enjoyed lesson 1.   I went through quickly last night... and for the rest of the week will look at the suggested reading etc.

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From the reading material:
 

Not only was Tacitus writing about a relation (hardly the recipe for objectivity) but his Life of Agricola was also written as a moral argument. Tacitus was interested in what a good person, by his definition, should do in a position of influence at a time of tyranny. Gnaeus Iulius Agricola was governor of Britain c. AD 77-85, and his governorship coincided with the reign of the Emperor Domitian – a man reviled as a savage despot by historians


Or that was how Domitian has been traditionally described. Domitian, like Nero, has undergone a reevaluation, however.

http://www.unrv.com/forum/topic/17798-good-nero-article-in-national-geographic-sept-2014/

From Wikipedia (surprisingly good):

Hostile views of Domitian were propagated until well into the early 20th century, before archeological and numismatic advances brought renewed attention to his reign, and necessitated a revision of the literary tradition established by Tacitus and Pliny. In 1930, Ronald Syme argued a complete reassessment of Domitian's financial policy, which had until then been largely viewed as a disaster, opening his paper with the following introduction:

 
The work of the spade and the use of common sense have done much to mitigate the influence of Tacitus and Pliny and redeem the memory of Domitian from infamy or oblivion. But much remains to be done.

Ronald Syme, Imperial finances under Domitian, Nerva and Trajan


Over the course of the 20th century, Domitian's military, administrative and economic policies were re-evaluated. New book length studies were not published until the 1990s however, nearly a hundred years after Stéphane Gsell's Essai sur le règne de l'empereur Domitien (1894). The most important of these was The Emperor Domitian, by Brian W. Jones. In his monograph, Jones concludes that Domitian was a ruthless, but efficient autocrat.[162] For the majority of his reign, there was no widespread dissatisfaction with the emperor or his rule. His harshness was felt by only a small, but highly vocal minority, who later exaggerated his despotism in favour of the well regarded Nervan-Antonian dynasty which followed.[162]

Domitian's foreign policy was realistic, rejecting expansionist warfare and negotiating peace at a time when Roman military tradition dictated aggressive conquest. His economic program, which was rigorously efficient, maintained the Roman currency at a standard it would never again achieve. Persecution of religious minorities, such as Jews and Christians, was non-existent.


It's hard to imagine that Domitian's reign would have lasted fifteen years if everything his critics (sponsored by the Senate and the aristocrats) had said about him was true.


guy also known as gaius

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I agree that the lectures on the Vindolanda tablets (1-10 thru 1-14) were great.

 

Here's a link to an old post concerning legionary health using the Vindolanda tablets online resource:

 

http://www.unrv.com/forum/topic/11738-vindolanda-tablets-glimpse-of-legionary-health/

 

 

guy also known as gaius

Edited by guy

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The second week of the course about Hadrian's Wall began this week.

 

Much of it would be basic review for many of the people at UNRV since it mostly deals with military life.

 

The section on military diplomas was very interesting, however:

 

post-3665-0-84925600-1411933774_thumb.jpg

 

There was a section on the Notitia Dignitatum, a document that describes administrative organization in the Roman Empire (including military units). It was thought to be written in the 420's after Roman Britain had formally collapsed. Surprisingly, this document still lists units deployed in Britain, obviously information gathered before AD 410 when Roman Britain officially ended.

 

post-3665-0-27614200-1411934503_thumb.jpg

(click to enlarge the image)

 

All in all, this course has been a good review with some interesting information.

 

I recommend anyone interested in Roman history (and with the time) to register for it.

 

 

 

guy also known as gaius

Edited by guy

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One student of the course supplied this interesting link to Roman military diplomas:

 

http://www.romancoins.info/MilitaryDiploma1a.html

 

Here's a interesting page from the link of some of the military diplomas:

 

http://www.romancoins.info/MilitaryDiploma-3.html#Africa

 

 

 

guy also known as gaius

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