History | The Fall of the Roman Republic
J300 | 3559 | Robinson

Above class COLL intensive writing section
Above class open to undergraduates only
A portion of the above class reserved for majors

In 44 B.C. Julius Caesar ruled the Roman world as dictator-for-life,
flouting hundreds of years of republican tradition. After he was
assassinated in March of that year, the subsequent civil war and
Augustan autocracy proved that the Roman Republic was forever dead.
What forces drove the mighty and prosperous Roman community to this
violent state? When and why did the republican system begin to
unravel? These questions will form the basis of our studies in this
course, which will introduce students to the ancient evidence and to
modern scholarly opinions on the subject.

After an introductory class on the political background of second-
century B.C. Rome, the course will engage in a chronological study
of the most significant political and military events of the late
Republican era, including the reform efforts of the Gracchi, the
rise of Marius and Sulla, Cicero and Catiline, the first
triumvirate, and ultimately the wars waged by Caesar for control of
Rome and his subsequent assassination. Students will read complete
works by authors contemporary to the events described, in particular
the translated writings of Cicero, Caesar, and Sallust. In addition,
later ancient accounts and modern scholarly reconstructions will be
used to fill out the picture. There will be no exams, but weekly
readings will be substantial and students will often write papers,
both 1-2 page reaction papers and 4-5 page position papers.