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,
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.
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
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.
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.
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.