Romans & Provincials

HIST 398V/CLST 4004H / Spring 2009

A Roman Province

Allegorical Representation of a Roman Province

Instructor: Dr. Charles E. Muntz
Time: TTh 3:30-4:50 
Place: Old Main 423 
Dr. Muntz's Office: 407 Old Main 
Office Hours: Tu 12:30-1:30, W 3:45-4:45, and by appointment 
Phone: (479) 575-5891 


An ancient and recurring problem in history is what happens when one culture becomes so powerful that it either conquers or dominates its neighbors. This class will explore the issue with respect to Rome, which provides ample documentation and archaeological evidence from the point of view of both Rome and the provincials to enable us to better understand how very different cultures deal with each other. In particular, we want to explore how the Romans “Romanized” their various provincials and how the provincials reacted to Roman rule. We will start with the Greeks during the Second Sophistic. From there we shall move on to the western provinces, where various Celtic peoples became some of the most assimilated members of the empire, while the Germans successfully resisted. Next we will look at the Jews, who also resisted Romanization. Finally, we will examine in depth the Roman encounter with Egypt. Our evidence here is particularly rich, and some scholars have spoken of Roman “Egyptomania,” which must be reconciled with the almost uniformly critical literary sources. We will end by comparing the Romans to some more recent examples, such as the British Empire of the 19th century. We will also consider some of the modern theories about imperialism, such as post-colonialism, and how they may be relevant to the Roman Empire and vice-versa. 


Oral Reports: Each student will be responsible for giving 4 oral reports, based on an assigned article or book chapter. These reports should last for about ten minutes, and should try to answer the following questions: 
What is the author’s argument/thesis? 
What ancient evidence does the author employ? 
What methodology does the author use? 
What previous scholarship does the author use? 
What previous scholarship does the author rebut? 
What are the larger implications of the author’s scholarship? 
How would this author define the process of “Romanization”? 
What does this author’s evidence point to - the adoption of Roman customs or the resistance of Roman customs? 
How is this author either reacting against, or reinforcing earlier views of Romanization? 
What “transcripts” public and private does this author see as taking place among conquered and conquerer? 
How does this scholarship inform our understanding of Romans & Provincials? 

And most importantly, 

What do you think? 

Paper: A 15-20 page research paper, due on the last day of class. Each student will also give a brief presentation of their research to the class on April 28 & 30. The paper will be done in several stages. First, students choose a topic and prepare a preliminary bibliography, due March 24. We will then have a peer review on rough drafts (8-10 pages). These drafts are due April 7 and the peer comments are due April 14. The final drafts of the papers are due April 28. Please consult the following pages for more information: 
Bibliographic resources for ancient history 
Formatting guidelines 
Grading policies

Participation: This course is a seminar, so everyone needs to contribute even on days when you are not presenting an oral report. I will try and let the discussion develop on its own, but if you find you are having trouble taking part please come and see me. 

Attendance: This course is a seminar, so regular attendance is important. If you need to miss class, please arrange to go over the material covered that day with one of your classmates. If you miss more than three classes without a legitimate excuse such as a serious illness or religious observance, I will deduct half a mark from your final grade. If you miss a quiz or exam date without a valid excuse, you will receive a zero for that exam. Please arrive at class on time as well - more than three instances of tardiness will also result in your final grade being lowered by half a mark. 

Reading Materials 

Birley, Anthony, trans. Tacitus: Agricola and Germany. ISBN 0192833006. 
Turner, Paul, trans. Longus: Daphnis and Chloe. ISBN 0140440593. 
Walsh, P. G. Apuleius: The Golden Ass. ISBN 0192838881. 

Additional books and articles will be made available, either through photocopies, course reserves in the library, or links from this webpage. 


Inclement Weather: If the University stops running the Razorback Bus System because of snow or bad weather, there will be no class. Otherwise, class is on! 

Miscellaneous: Please turn off all cell phones and finish any food you might be eating before coming into class. Drinks are acceptable. 

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). 

Daily Topics and Assignments

January 13 - Introduction

January 15 - The Greek Novel and Greek Identity I
  Daphnis & Chloe Prologue, Books 1 & 2 (pg. 17-68) 
    What time frame is the novel set in, and why? 
    What kind of lifestyle is emphasized, and why? 
    Why do you think novels like Daphnis and Chloe become so popular during the Second Sophistic? 

    Oral Report: Longus’ Prologue and Thucydides - Robert 1 

January 20 - The Greek Novel and Greek Identity II 
  Daphnis & Chloe Books 3 & 4 (pg. 69-121) 
    What is the place of sex in the novel? 
    How does Daphnis & Chloe reinforce the social structure of the 2nd century? 
    What does Daphnis & Chloe ultimately show about elite Second Sophistic society? 
    Why do you think novels like Daphnis and Chloe become so popular during the Second Sophistic? 

    Oral Report: War and Peace in the Greek Novel - Avalon 1 
    Oral Report: Utopian Themes in Three Greek Romances - Bryan 1 

January 22 - Plutarch I 
  Lives of Philopoemen & Flamininus, Comparison of the two, Life of Sulla

    Oral Report: Moralism in Plutarch’s Lives (pg. 52-71 of Duff’s Plutarch’s Lives) (JP 1) 
    Oral Report: Plutarch and the return of the archaic (pg. 369-390 in Flavian Rome) (Megan 1) 
    Oral Report: Plutarch’s lives and their Roman readers (pg. 123-135 in Greek Romans and Roman Greeks) (David 1) 

January 27 - Icestorm, no class 

January 29 - Icestorm, no class

February 3 - Plutarch II 
  Political Precepts, Roman Questions Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5, Fortune of the Romans
    How does Plutarch feel about Greek and Roman Integration, and why? 
    What role does Plutarch see for Greek leaders? 
    What is the role of the Greek past in the Political Precepts? 
    What role should the Greeks play in the Roman Empire? 
    How is Plutarch’s view of the role of Rome different from in the lives we read last week? 
    What does Plutarch see as the benefits of Roman 
    What is the intended audience of the Political Precepts?   

    Oral Report: Roman Rulers and the Philosophic Adviser (Philip 1) 
    Oral Report: Greek and Roman in Plutarch’s Pyrrhus (Tyler 1) 

February 5 - Dio Chrysostom 
  Kingship Orations: One Two Three Four
    These speeches are ostensbibly addressed to the Emperor Trajan - how likely is this? What broader audience might Dio have in mind? 
    What are Dio’s views on the nature of Roman power? Do these differ between the even and odd speeches? 
    What can we see of Dio’s views on the role of Greeks and Greek culture in the Roman empire? 
    What are Dio’s views on kingship, and how have these been shaped by his experience with Rome? 
    How does Dio feel about Trajan in particular as emperor? 
    How do Dio’s attitudes differ from those of Plutarch? 
    What role does Greek education/wisdom play for Dio? 
    What roles do Dio see for himself or other Greek intellectuals in the Roman empire? 
    Create your own question! 

February 10 - Aelius Aristides 
  Aelius Aristides: Regarding Rome, Sacred Tale 4 (handouts) 
    How does Aristides’ portrayal of Rome differ between these two speeches, and is it possible to reconcile them? 
    What is Aristides’ view of the gods, and how does this differ from that of Plutarch and Dio Chrysostom? 
    What role do the gods have to play in the Roman world according to Aristides? 
    What role do the Greek elite have to play in the Roman world according to Aristides, and how does this differ from what we have seen so far? 
    What does the Regarding Rome tell us about Aristides’ Roman audience? 
    What does the Regarding Rome tell us about what Aristides considers important, and what he does not? 
    How consistent is Aristides in the Regarding Rome? Does he come across as insincere? 
    Why might Aristides be so willing to write a speech like Regarding Rome? 
    How does the Regarding Rome compare to the Kingship Orations of 
    Create your own question! 

    Oral Report - Sarah 1 

February 12 - Lucian 
  The Dream, Nigrinus (handouts), The Dependent Scholar (aka on Hirelings) 
    What role does education play in Lucian’s life and career, and what does this show about an outsider’s view of the elite? 
    How do Lucian’s views on education differ from the other authors we have read, and why? 
    In what ways might the Nigrinus be a reply/rebuttal to Aelius Aristides? 
    What are Lucian’s views on money, the poor and class divisions in general? 
    What are Lucian’s views on the Roman elite, and its interaction with the Greeks? 
    What can we infer about Lucian’s opinions of the Roman Empire and the role of the Greeks in it as a whole? 
    What are the failings of Roman society and culture in Lucian’s opinion? Does he offer any positive criticism? 
    Is Lucian Anti-Roman? 

    Oral Report - Overview of Roman Syria - Chris 1 
    Oral Report - Strangers in their own land 

February 17 - Historians of Rome (Appian, Arrian, Cassius Dio) 
  Cassius Dio History of Rome Book 55, esp. 14-21, 23-34; Appian Civil Wars Book 1, esp. 54-104; Plutarch Life of Sulla
    How similar/different are Cassius Dio’s views on tyranny and good government to Dio, Plutarch, and Aristides? What might account for the differences? 
    Overall, what are Cassius Dio’s ideas about Roman government and the senate, and does this reflect the viewpoint of an upper-class Greek or an upper-class Roman? 
    How much does Cassius Dio seem to identify with Rome in this book, how much with Greece? 
    Should we consider Cassius Dio to be a Greek or a Roman? 
    What do Appian’s views of the nature of Rome and Roman power seem to be? 
    How much do Appian’s views seem to agree with Cassius Dio’s? 
    How does Appian’s portrayal of Sulla differ from Plutarchs, and what does this reveal about the two authors, their aims, and their audiences? 
    What might account for all the Greek historians writing about Rome during the Second Sophistic? 

    Oral Report: Dio and Rome - Rachel 1 

February 19 - Landscapes of Roman Greece 
    Oral Report:Cultural Interchange - Robert 2 
    Oral Report:Role of Women - JP 2 
    Oral Report:Local Heroes - Tyler 2 

February 24 - Hellenized Romans 
  Apuleius, The Golden Ass, Tale of Cupid and Psyche (4.28-6.24, pp. 75-113 in you translation) 
    Compare the story of Cupid and Psyche with Daphnis and Chloe. What are the similarities and what are the differences between the two? How might the fact that one is a Roman novel and the other is a Greek account for this? Does the Roman novel seem to have been influenced by the Greek, or vice versa? Does one seem to resist the other, or try and present the story in a wholly different way? Why might that be? 

    Oral Report: Nero at Play? The Emperor’s Grecian Odyssey - Rick 1 
    Oral Report: Strangers in their own land - Bryan 2 

March 3 - Spain 1 
    Oral Report: Cultural Identities and Hispano-Roman Sculpture - Stewart 1 
    Oral Report: Writing Latin in Lusitania - Meg 2 
    Oral Report: Life and Death - Avalon 2 

March 5 - Spain 2 
    Oral Report: Flavian Municipal Law - David 2 
    Oral Report: Lost Identity - Chris 2 
    Oral Report: Survival of Non-Roman forms - Philip 2 

March 10 - Gaul 1
  Cicero, Pro Fonteio; Julius Caesar, Gallic Wars Book 6 Chapters 11-20; Tacitus, Annals XI.22-26 (handout); Claudius, Lyons Speech (handout) 
    How does the portrayal of the Gauls differ between Cicero’s speech and Caesar’s account? 
    Why might Cicero and Caesar choose to emphasize the different aspects of the Gauls that they do? 
    What do Cicero’s and Caesar’s accounts of the Gauls say about Roman perceptions and beliefs about their northern neighbors? 
    Compare the original speech of Claudius with its adaptation in Tacitus - how do they justify admitting Gallic senators? 
    What do the differences between the speeches say about Tacitus’ attitudes towards the Gauls versus Claudius’? 
    How do the attitudes of Cicero and Caesar contrast with Tacitus and Claudius, and what might account for these changes? 

    Oral Report:The Rise and Fall of the Gallic Iulii - Rachael 2 

March 12 - Gaul 2
    Oral Report:Local Cult in Imperial Context - Rick 2 
    Oral Report:A negotiated Syncretism - the development of Romano-Celtic Religion - Sarah 2 
    Oral Report:Urbanization and its discontents in early Roman Gaul - JP 3 

March 24 - Britain 
  Tacitus, The Agricola (book) 
    What elements of the Britons and their culture makes them barbarians, according to Tacitus? 
    What does the Agricola show about the methods and purposes of Roman imperialism? 
    How does Tacitus’ characterization of the Britons help define the Romans? 
    What, in Tacitus’ view, makes one a Roman? What aspects of “Romanness” does Tacitus dislike? 
    Is there any aspect of the Britons that Tacitus admires compared to the Romans, and why? 
    How would Tacitus define “Civilization” as opposed to barbarism? 
    Why is Agricola such a successful governor? 
    How does Agricola contrast with Calgacus, and what does this show about Tacitus’ views on Romans v. Barbarians? 
    What policies does Agricola pursue towards the Britons? Does he encourage Romanization, and if so, how? 
    What broader conclusions about Roman policies towards the provinces can we make from the Agricola? 

March 26 - Britain / Draft Bibliographies Due 
    Oral Report: Writing to the gods in Britain - Meg 3 
    Oral Report: Alternative Iconographies - Stewart 2 
    Oral Report: Social Distribution of Roman Artefacts - Chris 3 

March 31 - The Rhineland and Germany 
  Tacitus, The Germany
    What elements of the Germans make them barbarians? 
    How does the landscape influence the nature of the Germans? 
    What qualities in the Germans does Tacitus most admire, and why? 
    How does Tacitus use the Germans as a way of defining what it is to be Roman? 
    What, if anything, does Tacitus want his Roman audience to learn from the Germans? 
    How is Rome a force among the Germans, whether directly or indirectly, according to Tacitus? 
    Why, according to this account, were the Romans never able to conquer the Germans? 
    How does Tacitus’ portrayal of the Germans compare with his portrayal of the Britons? 
    What larger inferences can we draw from these two works about the views of Romans towards “Barbarians?” 

April 2 - The Frontiers of Rome 
    Oral Report: Confrontation and Interactions: Celts, Germans, and Romans - Robert 3 
    Oral Report: The Romanization of the diet in the western empire - Sarah 3 
    Oral Report: Seal-boxes and the spread of Latin literacy in the Rhine delta - Bryan 3 

April 7 - Judaea / Draft Papers Due 
  Josephus: Against Apion, Book 2
    What are the common prejudices against Jews according to Josephus, and what does this say about those who hold them? 
    What can we ascertain about the Jews and why they had such a hard time living alongside others in the Graeco-Roman World, or being Romanized? 
    What is Josephus’ attitude in general towards Graeco-Roman culture? 
    What aspects of Jewish culture does Josephus most strongly assert, and why? 
    How is Josephus making use of themes from Graeco-Roman thought (think back to the Second Sophistic) in order to present the Jews, and why might he do so? 
    Why so much emphasis on Moses? 
    How does Josephus try to make the Jews sound more acceptable to the Greeks? What does this say about what a Greek might find attractive about Judaism? 

April 9 - Judaea 
 Tacitus: Histories Book 5
    What does Tacitus find most offensive about the Jews? 
    How does his portrayal of the Jews compare with the Germans and the Britons? 
    Do the Jews have any redeeming characteristics according to Tacitus? 
    How does Tacitus define what it means to be Roman by his description of the Jews? 

    Oral Report: Anti-Semitism in antiquity - Avalon 3 
    Oral Report: The influence of Judaism among non-Jews - Stewart 3 
    Oral Report: Roman religious policy and the Bar-Kokhba War - Rachael 3 

April 14 - The Egyptians / Peer Comments due 
  The Acts of the Pagan Martyrs (handout), the Oracle of the Potter (handout) 
    How is the emperor portrayed in the Acts, and what does this show us about how the Alexandrian felt about him? 
    What, according to the Acts, the main reason for Alexandrian resistance to Rome? 
    How much actual “resistance” to Rome is really going on here? 
    What can be inferred about the intended audience of the Acts? 
    What can be inferred about the nature of Egyptian resistance from the Oracle of the Potter? 
    What can be inferred about the audience of the Oracle of the Potter? 
    What signs of Romanization, if any, can be seen in these texts? 

April 16 - The Egyptians 
  Juvenal, Satire XV (handout), Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
    How does Juvenal define the Romans through his portrayal of the Egyptians? 
    How is Juvenal criticizing his Roman audience through this satire? 
    How does Plutarch make the myth of Isis and Osiris into a part of universal Greek knowledge? 
    How might Plutarch and Juvenal be said to “conquer” Egypt by way of these texts? 
    How are these two texts similar in their presentation of Egypt, and what does this show about the dissemination of Egyptian culture in the larger Roman world? 

    Oral Report: Urbanization in Roman Egypt 
    Oral Report: Bilingualism in Roman Egypt 

April 21 - The Egyptians 
  Apuleius, The Golden Ass, Book XI 
    What Egyptian elements in the Isis cult are particularly emphasized and why? 
    What generic elements of the Isis cult are particularly emphasized and why? 
    What might account for the appeal of the Isis cult among the Romans? 
    Is The Golden Ass an advertisement for Isis? 
    How does the portrayal of Egyptian religion here contrast with Juvenal Satire XV, and is it possible to reconcile the two?

    Oral Report: Obelisks in Exile 

April 23 - Modern views of Rome 

April 28 - Presentations of Final Papers 

April 30 - Presentations of Final Papers