Pompeiian fresco, 1st c. AD

MWF 1.25-2.20 (Ladd 307)

Prof. Michael Arnush Ladd 209 x5462
marnush@skidmore.edu Hours: TuW 11

Web Resources
Classics Department
Skidmore College
The schedule is arranged by date, topic and readings. The texts are abbreviated and indicated in red and the individual assignments are either to page numbers (RVE) or to item numbers in the text (ARD, HAR, SAT). If you are ever unsure about a reading assignment, contact me for clarification. Two events are currently not on the class/reading schedule but will be assigned shortly after the beginning of the semester: a lecture on classical civilization by a visiting scholar, and a screening and panel discussion of Ridley Scott's film "Gladiator," starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix and Richard Harris.
Readings are drawn from the required texts and the occasional print or electronic "handout." Please complete the readings by the time of the listed class meeting, for class discussions depend on a full grasp of the reading assignments. Leave yourself sufficient time to read, and find a quiet place in which to do so. Don't leave the reading until just before class; reading under pressure is a waste of time. Take thorough notes as you read, so you can return to them later to review essential texts for the papers and exams.
A few comments on the readings: the main textbook by Boatwright, Gargola and Talbert (RVE) is a straight-forward treatment of Roman history. It draws upon the literary sources and on epigraphic (inscriptional) and archaeological evidence. The text's strongest suit is its understanding of the complexity of the issues, its grasp of political relationships in ancient Rome and its use of the sources (each chapter begins with a summary of the ancient sources and concludes with "Suggested Readings; see also the section on "Principal Ancient Authors" on pp. 491-497.
The remaining texts contain primary sources - roughly contemporary accounts of Roman cultural, political, military and social events. The sources vary considerably over the centuries in content, quality, and sheer quantity. They did not write their texts with a course in Roman history in mind, so you cannot expect the books' structures to mirror perfectly a college syllabus. Be patient, read them carefully but with the bigger picture in mind, and enjoy them. Shelton's sourcebook, As the Romans Did (ARD) provides excerpts of the most critical sources for the study of Roman history: historians, biographers, geographers, poets, orators and philosophers all are represented here, as are many of the "random" comments and observations made by members of the less literate and well-to-do. As excerpts, these passages are usually out of context and require some flexibility by the reader. Translated documents, such as inscriptions, also appear frequently, and these are sometimes very fragmentary and require a thoughtful reconstruction of the text. Mellor's Historians of Ancient Rome (HAR) contains excerpts from histories that form the backbone of our understanding of Rome's development, including works by Livy, Polybius, Sallus, Julius Caesar and Tacitus. Finally, we will read portions of Petronius' Satyrica (SAT), a satirical novel (and the first surviving one in the world) composed in the mid-first century CE.