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These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (CAMS)

CAMS 033 (GH;IL) Roman Civilization (3) Origin of the Romans; sociopolitical development; food, homes, education, marriage, family life, amusements, private and public worship.

CAMS 033 Roman Civilization (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Roman Civilization (CAMS 033) provides a comprehensive survey of one of the major and most interesting societies from which contemporary western culture developed. For over 1200 years, the Romans expanded and ruled over the largest empire in recorded history. An understanding of their successes and failures can inform our own understanding of modern politics and international relationships. Many ideas in such diverse areas as government, law, military organization and strategy, the calendar, social practices, urban life, literature, art, and architecture clearly derive from Roman practices. Knowledge of the Romans, and the similarities and important differences between their lives and ours provides an opportunity to reflect on human values and contemporary culture.

The course includes discussion of the origins of the Romans, how they saw it themselves, and the rather different picture painted by modern archaeology. How the Romans expanded and maintained their power with long periods of peace from what is now Great Britain to the borders of India, and how their power waned in the later Roman period is one of the great illustrations of political institutional design. Roman society included various social groups, from slaves to the wealthy members of the traditional nobility. The opportunity for movement from slave to freedman or freedwoman to landowner helps explain why for generations Roman rule was widely accepted. Roman urban life, with its great public meeting halls, baths, arenas, race courses, and luxurious houses and comfortable apartment blocks was eagerly accepted across Europe, North Africa, and the Near East. Many of these areas were more intensively and successfully populated under the Romans than at any time since. The greatest achievements of Rome's poets, Virgil's "Aeneid" and Ovid's "Metamorphoses" remain rich sources for current writers, composers, and choreographers. Major Roman historians and thinkers also continue to inform and inspire. Religious beliefs and the causes for the growth of Christianity are also important features of the Roman Empire. Almost two thousand years separate us from the summit of Roman power and yet we still benefit from a study of their society to understand our own.

The class meetings include twice weekly lectures for all students enrolled and once a week discussion sections of thirty students or less. Small enrollment classes meeting three times each week may also be scheduled. Assignments include individual and group papers, tests, and a final examination. Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions.

In addition to twice weekly lectures for the 200 students in this course, smaller discussion sections of 30 students or less are scheduled once per week. All students will be expected to participate actively in the class discussions. In addition, students will write one individual paper and a longer paper based on collaborative work. In preparation of the written papers, students will gather information from both computer/electronic resources and use of the library. WEB resources for the study of classical antiquities and ancient texts are extremely rich. By integrating these various sources, students will be expected to synthesize various sources and to analyze the relationships between ancient and modern culture. A major assignment in this course requires collaborative learning and the preparation of a written paper in groups of 4 students. Study of the Romans includes learning in detail about the geography, resources, and cultures of a very large area of the world from southern Scotland to North Africa, and from Gibraltar to the borders of India. Many basic features of these areas remain relatively unchanged, and the realities of the resources and climate continue to regulate modern societies who inhabit the same spaces, often less successfully.

General Education: GH
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Summer 2005

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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