This is most recent syllabus. Your final syllabus will be given during your first day of class
This course explores the political, social, economic, and cultural history of Rome and its Empire, with a special focus on the history of the early Roman Empire (the so-called Principate: from Caesar to Diocletian – from the first century BC to the third century AD). The course will begin by reviewing and critiquing the story of a small village built on the Tiber’s bank that managed first to unify the Italian peninsula under its military and political leadership and then to become one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean basin and eventually the capital of the Ancient World, whose dominion, at its heyday, stretched from the Hercules’ Columns in the West to Mesopotamia in the East. This review will end with discussing how and why the Imperial system finally changed and gave birth to a new form of civilization that itself eventually led to the modern layout of Europe.
The course will also include an examination of several aspects of Roman Civilization through a study of ancient evidence, both textual and material, and Rome’s relationships with other contemporary peoples. We will analyze the very meaning of “Roman Culture,” and the important contribution of the Hellenistic world. The understanding of the process of romanization of the populations dominated by the Romans will play a significant role in the course in order to understand how the Roman Culture spread throughout the Mediterranean to become one of the pillars of modern culture.
The above approach will offer the possibility to focus on some of Rome’s more characteristic features: ranging from religion to art, society and politics, with one part of the course being devoted to daily life. In the end, the goal is to “look at the Romans through the eyes of the Romans.” Tours to cities with remains of ancient monuments and museums with major archaeological collections will help enliven your idea of this culture and attain a richer and more complex understanding of the diverse phenomena.
Mandatory course readers. When needed, additional handouts will be provided by the instructor.