HIST 372: Ancient Civilizations II: Roman History

Colosseum in Rome

This course is broad survey of the history and culture of Roman civilization from the foundation of the city in 752 BC to the establishment of Christianity as the primary religion of the empire and the permanent division between East and West in 395 AD, or approximately Aeneas to Augustine. We will use a wide variety of sources in our examination, from papyri receipts to law codes, engineering marvels to statues, but will primarily base our study in the written historical sources of the periods.

The scope of this course is to study the background of the rise of the first truly Mediterranean empire to the roots of its decline leading up to the beginning of the Middle Ages. This course focuses on Roman civilization within the wider context of the Mediterranean, and seeks to examine Roman first as a civic entity surrounded by Greek, Etruscan, and even Punic culture, as a young empire (but in the guise of a Republic and as an autocracy), and as a large multilingual and multicultural super-state.

Finally, Roman History offers a comprehensive survey of many aspects of this period, taking in political, social, economic and cultural history. Topics will include: Religions of the Roman Mediterranean, Roman Egypt, Syria, and North Africa, Roman concepts of love and intimacy, gladiatorial combat, Roman poetry and the novel, Roman adoption of Greek philosophy, and Roman engineering. Much attention will be given to the reading, interpretation and discussion of primary sources.