This course examines the history of the Roman Empire, from the establishment of a veiled monarchy under Augustus to the Christianization of the empire following the reign of Constantine (ca. 1st century B.C. to 5th century A.D). Throughout the course, we will analyze and interpret ancient textual and archaeological evidence, from both Italy and the provinces, to assess the multi-faceted institutions and cultures of the Roman people. This body of material includes the writings of emperors (Augustus, Marcus Aurelius) and ancient historians (Tacitus, Suetonius, Ammianus Marcellinus), as well as the personal letters of Pliny to the emperor Trajan. Major themes discussed in the course include the nature of despotism, dynasties and the problem of succession; imperial governance of the Mediterranean (central, provincial, and local); cultural diversity and acculturation (so-called "Romanization"); religions and the imperial cult (worship of the Roman emperor); citizenship; urbanism, politics, and the economy; mortality and ecology; and the discrepant identities of women, children, slaves, freedmen, and freeborn under the imperial system of Rome.
MW 12:50-1:40; F 12:50-1:40 (Discussion groups)