History | Roman History
C388 | 2838 | Watts


Above section carries culture studies credit
Above section open to undergraduates only

The size of things mattered in the ancient world, and everything
about the Roman Empire was big.  At its peak, Rome controlled all or
part of almost 40 modern nations and dominated an area roughly the
size of the continental United States.  From the foundation of the
city of Rome until the death of the last Roman Emperor, the Roman
government persisted, unconquered, for 23 centuries.  Even today,
the monuments left by the Romans continue to amaze us with their
size and beauty.

This course will explore the history of the Roman state from its
foundation in Italian pre-history until its dramatic contraction in
the 7th century AD.  We will focus upon its early development, its
emergence as a major power, the acquisition of its empire, and its
eventual political decline.

At the same time, we will look at the experience of individuals
living in the Roman world.  We will consider their jobs, daily
activities, religious life, and even their diet.  In so doing,
students will come to appreciate the variety of source materials a
historian uses to reconstruct details of ancient life.  They will
also learn how to evaluate the trustworthiness of this evidence.

Students will be expected to complete readings in both ancient and
modern historical sources (50-80 pages a week).  The assigned
readings will include a textbook (Alan Ward, "A History of the Roman
People") and a coursepack containing a wide variety of ancient
literary evidence.  Written assignments will include one short paper
(1-2 pages), a term paper (6-8 pages), a midterm, and a final
examination.