This unit will provide students with a comprehensive overview of women’s roles, position and status in Late Antiquity (the period of transition from the ancient to the medieval world, 3rd to 8th century CE), and attitudes towards them. By reading selected primary sources, this unit will introduce students to some of the most powerful and influential women in antiquity such as Hypatia the philosopher, Melania the aristocrat, Theodora the Empress, Pelagia the harlot, and Syncletica the desert mother. The unit will also analyse the roles these women played in religious and theological debates, the home, and social and economic life.

Unit Code: AH8159A

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit Discipline: History

Delivery Mode: Online

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning Outcomes


Provide a historical overview of women's history in Late Antiquity and evaluate the various roles they played;


Analyse the change in attitude towards women in the transition from Ancient to early Medieval times;


Compare and contrast the various theologies that were prominent in Late Antiquity and the role some of the women (considered in the unit) played in these debates;


Develop a critical framework for reading and interpreting historical events contained in the primary sources.


Critically evaluate the theological significance of monastic architecture


Online: Six fortnightly sessions, comprising guided reading from the set texts, additional reading resources and some notes, together with an online tutorial. Students will be expected to contribute to the discussions in each session.


Description Weight (%)

Essay 3000 words


Project Report 1,500 words


Forum discussion and responses to key readings equivalent to 1500 words


Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit Record last updated: 2019-01-25 14:34:27 +1100