Pompeii and the Cities of the Roman World (Online)

Course summary

Pompeii and the Cities of the Roman World (Online)


Pompeii is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Its fame and uniqueness are, of course, due to the remarkable way in which it was preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Using evidence from Pompeii, you can study public buildings, monuments, inscriptions and painted posters that reflect public life, houses and gardens that reveal how the people lived, shops, markets and streets where they earned their living, and tombs where they buried their dead.

For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.

Programme details

1. The destruction and preservation of Pompeii
2. Excavating the city
3. The origin and development of Pompeii
4. Public life and politics
5. Entertainment
6. Death and Burial
7. Religious Life
8. Houses, status and fashion
9. Economic life of the Roman city – craft and trade
10. Agriculture

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.

Recommended reading

To participate in the course you will need to have regular access to the Internet and you will need to buy the following textbooks:

Cooley, A. and Cooley, M. Pompeii. A Sourcebook. London: Routledge
Berry, J. The Complete Pompeii. London: Thames and Hudson


This course is accredited and you are expected to take the course for credit. To be awarded credit you must complete written contributions satisfactorily. Successful students will receive credit, awarded by the Board of Studies of Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. The award will take the form of 10 units of transferable credit at FHEQ level 4 of the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). A transcript detailing the credit will be issued to successful students. Assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.


Alumni 10% discount: £0.00
EU Fee: £255.00
MSU 10% discount: £0.00
MSU 20% discount: £0.00
Non-EU Fee: £295.00
World Bank 10% discount: £0.00

Course aims

By the end of this course students should understand:
• The diverse nature of the evidence from a unique archaeological site, and the variety of issues that can be studied in a Roman town
• How the excavation and study of Pompeii has been influenced by different historical and political events
• The role of towns in the Roman world
• Significant features of Roman towns, and problems involved in understanding them
• Some of the most controversial issues currently being discussed by scholars of Pompeii and other Roman towns

Teaching methods

- Guided reading of texts
- Group discussions of particular issues
- Questions to be answered in personal folders
- Work on a site-map of Roman Britain

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should have gained the following skills:
• Ability to assess the context and importance of different types of evidence
• Ability to think laterally across a range of issues, to see how different types of evidence interrelate
• Ability to critically discuss particular issues in a clear and effective manner

Assessment methods

Assessment for this course is based on two written assignments - one short assignment due half way through the course and one longer assignment due at the end of the course. Students will have about two weeks to complete each assignment.

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.