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The course's syllabus

Course Description

This course introduces students to the history of ancient Rome from Romulus to Constantine (8th c. BC – early 4th c. AD).  We will examine the meteoric spread of Roman rule in Italy and the ancient Mediterranean, the brilliance of a republican form of government tragically swept away by destructive civil war, the rise of repressive autocracy under the Caesars, and the threats to empire in late antiquity posed inside by the rise of Christianity and outside by hostile invaders.  Special attention will be given to the types of primary evidence—historiography, inscriptions, coins, art and architecture—and how they influence our understanding of ancient Rome.

Course Objectives

  1. To be familiar enough with the major historical periods, personalities and political and cultural trends of ancient Roman history

  2. To be prepared to take more advanced courses in specific topics of classical history and culture

  3. To be able to contextualize and analyze primary sources both in written essays and in discussion

Required Textbooks

  • Boatwright, Gargola, and Talbert, A Brief History of the Romans. 2006.
  • Lewis and Reinhold, eds.,  Roman Civilization, Vols. I and II.  3rd ed.  1990. (Vol. I preview, Vol. II preview)
  • Cullen Murphy, Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America, 2007. (preview)

Other Reading

  • Adrian Goldsworthy, The Punic Wars.
    • pp. 44-62 (on Roman army in 3rd c. B.C.)
    • pp. 310-328 (Chapter 13 on "Rome, Beginnings of Empire").
  • M. Beard and M. Crawford, Rome in the Late Republic.  Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.  1985.
    • Introduction, p. ix
    • Chapter 1:  "The Nature of the Problem" pp. 1-11.
    • Chapter 6:  "Rome and the Outside World" pp. 72-84
    • Epilogue:  pp. 85-87.

Online Resources - A great resource for pictures and images of or relating to Roman history.  It also has created a virtual Roman world, that allows students to more interactively learn about Rome itself, set in the year A.D. 150. - Contains links to short articles on a variety of topics and people of ancient Rome.

LacusCurtius - A fairly extensive set of links to pictures and images, Latin texts and their translations, subtopics such as military history, and more.

The Perseus Project - A gold mine for searchable Latin and Greek texts and their English translations.  It also contains a full version of the Lewis and Short Latin dictionary and very helpful morphological tools.

Ancient World Mapping Center -  This site has posted a number of maps of the ancient world, with many concerning ancient Rome and Greece.  These maps come in a variety of sizes and versions.

De Imperatoribus Romanis - an on-line encyclopedia of Roman rulers and their families from Augustus (27 BC-AD 14) to Constantine XI Palaeologus (1449-1453).


Component Percentage
Class Participation
Two Brief Essays
Midterm Examination
Final Examination

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