Roman Republic & Empire

HIST 4023 / Fall 2012

Woman with stylus

Woman with stylus - fresco from Pompeii, 1st century C.E.

Instructor: Dr. Charles E. Muntz
Time: MWF 11:30-12:20 am
Place: Old Main 421
Dr. Muntz's Office: 407 Old Main
Office Hours: Tu 10:30-11:30 am, W 1:00-2:30 pm, and by appointment
Phone: (479) 575-5891


This class surveys the history of the Romans from 753 BCE to 336 CE, whose achievements in government, history, arts, and literature continue to influence and fascinate us today. We will begin with the pre-history, and move on to the Roman Republic, which endured for more than four hundred years, conquered much of the Mediterranean World, and had a profound impact on the modern United States. The Republic came to the end in the turbulent Civil Wars, which were followed by the rise of one of the most enigmatic and influential figures in history, the Emperor Augustus. From there we will examine the Roman Empire and the often strange men (and women) who controlled its destiny, ending with the conversion of the Empire to a strange new religion. 


Quizzes: There will be a short in-class map quiz on August 31.  The list of places to know is here, a map with all places labeled is here, and a blank map for practice is here.

Exams: There will be an in-class midterm on October 10, and a final exam on Wednesday, December 12, 10:15 am - 12:15 pm. Both will consist of identification, short answer, and essay questions.

Short Paper: There will be one short (5 pages) paper for this class, evaluating two ancient accounts of the same event, due on September 14. 

Long Paper: There are two options for the long (10 pages) paper, due November 28. Option 1 is an analysis of Livy's first book in its historical context. Option 2 is a research paper on a topic of the student's choice. Students choosing this option must first develop a bibliography with at least five modern sources (excluding the textbook and encyclopedia entries) and meet with me to discuss the topic. Online sources such Wikipedia are not acceptable, but online versions of printed sources, such as the journals on JStor, are. If you choose option 2, you need to inform me and schedule a meeting by October 17.
Formatting Guidelines
Grading Policies

Class Discussion: Certain class periods are set aside for class discussions. Questions based on the primary sources to get things started can be found here, but feel free to raise other issues or questions on your own. Grading policies for discussions can be found here.

Attendance: Regular attendance is important. I will allow each student to miss up to three classes without penalty to cover things like illness and religious observances. However, absences on discussion days or days when graded material is due are not permitted except by prior arrangement or in case of emergencies. Please email me in advance if you are going to miss class. For each absence after the first three, unless there is a serious problem, I will lower the final participation grade by 10 points. If you do have to miss a class, make sure you meet with another student to find out what you missed!

Grade Breakdown:
Map Quiz: 3%
Paper 1: 15%
Paper 2: 27%
Participation: 15%
Midterm: 15%
Final: 25%

Reading Materials

Required texts (available at bookstore or buy online):
Grant, Michael, trans. Cicero: Selected Political Speeches. ISBN 0140442146
Woodman, A. J. Tacitus: The Annals. ISBN 9780872205581
Birley, A. R. Tacitus: Agricola & Germany. ISBN 019953926X

Other readings will be linked from the daily assignments listed below.

Super resource if you need to look up a person or topic (much better than Wikipedia or other web sources):
The Oxford Classical Dictionary (Off campus link)


Academic Integrity: As a core part of its mission, the University of Arkansas provides students with the opportunity to further their educational goals through programs of study and research in an environment that promotes freedom of inquiry and academic responsibility. Accomplishing this mission is only possible when intellectual honesty and individual integrity prevail.

Each University of Arkansas student is required to be familiar with and abide by the University’s ‘Academic Integrity Policy’ which may be found at Students with questions about how these policies apply to a particular course or assignment should immediately contact their instructor.

Equal Access: University of Arkansas Academic Policy Series 1520.10 requires that students with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact me privately at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note, you must first verify your eligibility for these through the Center for Educational Access (contact 479-575-3104 or visit for more information on registration procedures).

Inclement Weather: Classes will be held unless the University cancels them.

Miscellaneous: Please turn off and put away all cell phones and any other non-course related items and finish any food you might be eating before coming into class. Drinks are acceptable. Please remain seated during class - if you need to use the lavatory, do so before or after class.

Daily Topics and Reading Assignments

Week 1
August 20: Introduction

August 22: Sources for Early Roman History
    Start Livy 1

August 24: The Regal Period
    Continue Livy 1

Week 2
August 27: The Beginning of the Republic
    Finish Livy 1

August 29: Early Roman History Discussion
    The Twelve Tables

August 31: The Growth of the Republic / Map Quiz: List of Places / Labeled Map / Blank Map

Week 3
September 3: Labor Day, No class

September 5: The Conquest of Italy 
    Start Polybius 1

September 7: The First Punic War
    Finish Polybius 1
    Start Polybius 3 readings

Week 4
September 10: The Second Punic War
    Polybius 3.1-38, 47-59, 77-94, 100-118

September 12: Polybius Discussion
    Polybius 6

September 14: The Conquest of the Greeks / First Paper Due

Week 5
September 17: Rome and Greek Culture
    Plutarch: Life of Cato the Elder

September 19: The Problems of Empire
    Appian: The Civil Wars 1.1-34

September 21: Marius
    Appian: The Civil Wars 1.34-104

Week 6
September 24: Sulla and the Rise of Pompey
    Cicero: On the Command of Pompeius

September 26: Cicero
    Cicero: First and Second Speeches Against Catilina

September 28: The Three-Headed Monster
    Cicero: In Defense of Caelius Rufus

Week 7
October 1: Cicero Discussion
    Cicero: In Defense of Annius Milo

October 3: The Civil War
    Caesar: The Civil War (excerpts)

October 5:  Civil War and Aftermath Discussion
    Cicero: Speech in Support of Marcellus
    Cicero: First Philippic Against Antonius

Week 8
October 8: The Rise of Octavian and the Fall of the Republic
    Cassius Dio 50, 51

October 10: Midterm

October 12: The Augustan Settlement
    Cassius Dio 52, 53

Week 9
October 15: Fall Break, no class

October 17: The New Era of Augustus
     Suetonius: Life of Augustus 1-50

October 19: The Government of the Principate
    Suetonius: Life of Augustus 51-101

Week 10
October 22: Augustus Discussion
    Res Gestae (Deeds of the Divine Augustus)
    Cassius Dio 56.29-47
    Tacitus: Annals 1.8-11

October 24: Tiberius
    Tacitus: Annals 1.1-81, 2.41-43, 2.53-88, 3.1-19 

October 26: Tacitus Discussion 1
    Tacitus: Annals 3.22-30, 3.52-72, 4.1-22, 4.27-41, 4.52-67, 6.1-27, 6.45-51

Week 11
October 29: Caligula
    Start next Tacitus

October 31: Claudius
    Lyon Speech of Claudius
    Tacitus: Annals 11.1-12.69

November 2: Nero
    Tacitus, Annals 13.1-7, 13.11-29, 13.45-52, 14.1-22, 14.29-65

Week 12
November 5: Tacitus Discussion 2
    Tacitus, Annals 15.23-25, 15.33-74, 16.1-35

November 7: The Civil War of 69 and the Flavians
    Suetonius: Life of Vespasian

November 9: Pompeii

Week 13
November 12: Rome and the Provinces
    Charters from Spanish Towns

November 14: The Adoptive Emperors
    Tacitus: Agricola

November 16: Tacitus Discussion 3
    Tacitus: Germany

Week 14
November 19: The Adoptive Emperors cont. and the Antonines
    Augustan History: Life of Marcus Aurelius Part 1 Part 2

Week 15
November 26: The Early Christians
    Pliny to Trajan on the Christians
    Letter of Ignatius to the Ephesians 
    Letter of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans
    Martydom of Polycarp

November 28: The Third Century / Second Paper Due

November 30: Diocletian and the Restoration of Power
    Lactantius: On the Deaths of the Persecutors 1-24

Week 16
December 3: Constantine and the New Rome

December 5: Epilogue