The Roman Empire

HIST 4033/5033 • Spring 2022

Prima Porta Augustus

Statue of the Emperor Augustus

Instructor: Dr. Charles E. Muntz
Time: MWF 10:45-11:35
Place: WCOB 0339
Dr. Muntz's Office: 408 Old Main
Office Hours: M 12:30-2:30
Phone: (479) 575-5891


History of Rome from the Emperor Augustus to Constantine, ca. 30 BCE - 337 CE. Topics include the sources for imperial Rome, the organization of imperial government, the reigns of individual emperors, the provinces of Rome and provincial government, art and literature under the empire, the rise of Christianity, and the conversion of the Empire.

Covid Policies

This is a face-to-face class and regular attendance is important. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic I will be recording all lectures. If you feel sick or are exposed to someone and have to quarantine, DO NOT come to class. Email me right away and get tested for Covid-19. Call Pat Walker Health Center, 479-575-4451, to arrange this. Please see this page for the university’s policies and the reporting forms.

Once I know that you cannot come to class, I will give you access to the lecture recordings for the period you are sick or quarantined. I will also make accomodations or alternative assignments for missed discussion days, exams, and paper deadlines, but again you must email me and ask.

In the event that the instructor has to quarantine, class will be held remotely over Zoom (assuming I’m well enough) - I’ll distribute the meeting invites when necessary.

You must wear a mask while in class for your protection and for the protection of those around you. Masks must be properly worn, over your nose and mouth, at all times especially when entering and leaving the classroom. If you do not have a mask, please let me know, and a mask will be provided for you. Eating and drinking is not permitted during class. Individuals should leave the classroom to eat or drink, as necessary. If you require accommodations due to a disability, please contact the Center for Educational Access.


Exams: There will be an in-class midterm on February 21, and a final exam on Wednesday May 11 at 10:15-12:15. Both will consist of short identifications and essay questions. Bring a blue book.

Short Paper: A 1600-1800 word paper comparing Tacitus' adaptation of the Lyons Speech of Claudius with Claudius' original speech, due February 14 by 5pm. Assignment here.

Long Paper (Undergraduates): A 3200-3600 word paper analyzing Plutarch's, Suetonius's, and Tacitus's accounts of the Emperor Galba, due May 6 by 5pm. Assignment here.

Long Paper (Graduates): A 3500-4000 word research paper on a topic of the student's choice, in consultation with the professor, due May 6 by 5pm.

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. 

Grade Breakdown:
Participation: 15% 
Paper 1: 15% 
Paper 2: 30% 
Midterm: 15% 
Final: 25%

Reading Materials

Required Texts:
Birley, A. R. Tacitus: Agricola & Germany. ISBN 019953926X
Fagles, Robert. Virgil: The Aeneid. ISBN 9780143106296
Fyfe, W. H. Tacitus: The Histories. ISBN 9780199540709
Woodman, A. J., trans. Tacitus: The Annals. ISBN 0872205584

Other texts will be made available via links under the Daily Topics

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


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).

Unauthorized Websites or Internet Resources: There are many websites claiming to offer study aids to students, but in using such websites, students could find themselves in violation of our University’s Academic Integrity and Code of Student Life policies. These websites include (but are not limited to) Quizlet, Bartleby, Course Hero, Chegg, and Clutch Prep. The U of A does not endorse the use of these products in an unethical manner. These websites may encourage students to upload course materials, such as test questions, individual assignments, and examples of graded material. Such materials are the intellectual property of instructors, the university, or publishers and may not be distributed without prior authorization. Furthermore, paying for academic work to be completed on your behalf and submitting it for academic credit is considered ‘contract cheating’ per the Academic Integrity Policy. Students found responsible for this type of violation face a grading penalty of ‘XF’ and a minimum one-semester academic suspension per the University of Arkansas Sanction Rubric. Please let me know if you are uncertain about the use of a website.

Unauthorized Recording by Student: Recording, or transmission of a recording, of all or any portion of a class is prohibited unless the recording is necessary for educational accommodation as expressly authorized and documented through the Center for Educational Access with proper advance notice to the instructor. Unauthorized recordings may violate federal law, state law, and university policies. Student-made recordings are subject to the same restrictions as instructor- made recordings. Failure to comply with this provision will result in a referral to the Office of Student Standards and Conduct for potential charges under the Code of Student Life. In situations where the recordings are used to gain an academic advantage, it may also be considered a violation of the University of Arkansas' academic integrity policy.

Recording of Class Lectures: By attending this class, student understands the course is being recorded and consents to being recorded for official university educational purposes. Be aware that incidental recording may also occur before and after official class times.

Unauthorized Use and Distribution of Class Notes: Third parties may attempt to connect with you to buy your notes and other course information from this class. I will consider distributing course materials to a third party without my authorization a violation of my intellectual property rights and/or copyright law as well as a violation of the University of Arkansas' academic integrity policy. Continued enrollment in this class signifies your intent to abide by the policy. Any violation will be reported to the Office of Academic Initiatives and Integrity.

Please be aware that such class materials that may have already been given to such third parties may contain errors, which could affect your performance or grade. If a third party should contact you regarding such an offer, I would appreciate your bringing this to my attention. We all play a part in creating a course climate of integrity.

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. 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
January 19: Introduction

January 21: The Dying Republic
    Sallust: Preface to the Bellum Catilinae

Week 2
January 24: Caesar's Heir

January 26: The Civil Wars
    Livy: Preface

January 28: The New Order
    Virgil: Aeneid Books 1 & 2

Week 3
January 31: The City of Marble
    Virgil: Aeneid Books 3 & 4

February 2: Snow day!

February 4: Snow Day!

Week 4
February 7: Aeneid Discussion 1
    Virgil: Aeneid Books 5 & 6

February 9: Emperor & State
    Virgil: Aeneid Book 7 & 8

February 11: The Golden Age
    Virgil: Aeneid Books 9 & 10
    Horace: Centennial Hymn

Week 5
February 14: Aeneid Discussion 2
    Virgil: Aeneid Books 11 & 12

February 16: The Morality of Augustus
    Ovid: Art of Love, Book 2

February 18: Imperial Cult / First Paper Due

Week 6
February 21: Augustus Discussion
    Res Gestae (Deeds of the Deified Augustus)
    Cassius Dio 56.29-47
    Tacitus: Annals 1.1-11

February 23: Snow Day!

February 25: Snow Day!

Week 7

February 28: Tiberius and the Consolidation of the Principate
    Tacitus: Annals 1.11-81, 2.27-43, 2.50, 2.53-88

Midterm on Blackboard

March 2: The Later Reign of Tiberius
    Tacitus: Annals 3.1-19, 3.22-38, 3.52-72, 4.1-33
    Senatus Consultum Concerning Piso (You need to be on campus to access this - note that Latin and English alternate)

March 4: Tacitus Discussion 1
   Tacitus Annals 4.34-68, 6.1-30, 6.38-51

Week 8
March 7: Caligula
    Get ahead on Tacitus!

March 9: Claudius
    Tacitus: Annals 11.1-12.69

March 11: The Mother of Nero
    Tacitus: Annals 13.1-7, 13.11-29, 13.45-52

Week 9
March 14: The Fall of Nero
    Tacitus: Annals 14.1-22, 14.29-65, 15.23-25

March 16: Tacitus Discussion 2
    Tacitus: Annals 15.33-74, 16.1-35

March 18: The Civil War of 69: Galba & Otho
    Tacitus: Histories 1.1-78

Spring Break!

Week 10
March 28: The Civil War of 69: Vitellius & Vespasian
    Tacitus: Histories 2.1-51, 73-101

March 30: Tacitus Discussion 3
    Tacitus: Histories 3.1-39, 49-53, 63-86

April 1: The Flavians
    Suetonius: Life of Domitian

Week 11
April 4: Pompeii
    Pliny the Younger's Letters to Tacitus on the eruption of Vesuvius

April 6: Nerva & Trajan
    Pliny: Selected Letters from Books 1-9

April 8: Pliny the Younger Discussion
    Pliny: Correspondance with Trajan (Letters Book 10)

Week 12
April 11: Hadrian
    Augustan History: Life of Hadrian Part 1 Part 2

April 13: The Eastern Provinces
    Tacitus: Histories 5.1-13

April 15: The Western Provinces and Frontiers
    Tacitus: Agricola

Week 13
April 18: Tacitus Discussion 4
    Tacitus: The Germany

April 20: The Antonines
    Marcus Aurelius: Meditations, Book 1

April 22: The Early Christians
    Letter of Ignatius to the Ephesians
    Letter of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans
    Martydom of Polycarp

Week 14
April 25: Rise of Septimius Severus
    Augustan History: Life of Septimius Severus

April 27: Septimius, his Sons, and his "Dynasty"
    Augustan History: Life of Heliogabalus Part 1 Part 2

April 29: The Unity of the Roman Empire

Week 15
May 2: The Age of Anarchy

May 4: Diocletian and Constantine: The Dominate
    Lactantius: On the Deaths of the Persecutors, 1-52

May 6: Final Paper DueSuetonius, Life of Galba - Plutarch, Life of Galba