Fulfills the L & S breadth requirement in Arts and Literature, Historical Studies or Philosophy and Values.
Since its flourishing and fall, ancient Roman civilization has remained a longstanding popular obsession, offering as it does a society which can simultaneously seem so close and so alien to our own. This course will dive into that society, offering a selective introduction to ancient Roman culture from its beginnings to its fall, via the intimate study of literature, history, and material culture. We will read some of the most fascinating works in Roman literature, ranging from Plautus' lewd comedies to Livy's accounts of early Rome, from Vergil's epic on the origins of the Roman people to the dark imperial histories of Tacitus. Throughout, our focus will be on confronting the Romans as Romans, attempting to gain an understanding of Roman civilization 'from within' as much as possible. We will do so by placing the material we encounter in the context of Roman social and political history, considering issues as diverse as slavery, law, the family, and sex and sexuality, among others.
No previous experience in classical studies is necessary. This class meets two hours per day, five days a week, for six weeks, in a combined lecture/discussion format. There will be a midterm, final, one 5-6 page essay, and occasional reading quizzes. Preparation and active participation in our daily discussions is a very important aspect of this course.
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