Ancient Rome

History 112


CSU Sacramento

GE: C-1 World Civilizations

TR - 10:30-11:45 AM


Office: Tahoe Hall 3091

Office Hours: Tues/Thurs. 9-10:00 AM 
Office Phone: 278-6234

Home Phone 486-0400



Catalog Description: Rome from its foundation to Justinian with emphasis on its political institutions, their strengths and weaknessess, social structure, the ancient economy, paganism and Christianity, and the end of ancient civilization..

Course Objectives

  • A firm grasp of the distinguishing characteristics of each phase of Roman history
  • An Understanding of the varied elements involved in the historical transformations in Roman history from its founding until the division into Western Medieval Europe and Byzantium.
  • The reasons for Rome's undoubted success in goverment both externally and internally as it integrated a diverse world into a stable and pragmatic empire.
  • To examine the Empire as a period of change: the constant changes Rome underwent to establish its workable system and the retention of its elemental features while Rome adapted and adjusted the specifics.
  • To emphasize the role of social structures in political change, with emphasis throughout the course on social history, both in its familial life and its social classes.
  • To examine the economic structures of the Roman Empire as a basis of Rome's enduring success.
  • To examine Rome's history at periods of stress and rebuilding: the First Century BC and the First and Fourth Centuries AD
  • To analyze the religious crisis posed by Christianity and the stages by which the Empire adjusted the new revolutionary religion into a new cultural amalgam.
  • To understand the Roman concept of "civis" as a cultural and political ideal.
  • To contribute to students' writing skills with two essays and two essay exams.
  • To develop student computer and Web skills.

Attendance: Students from either section may attend the 7:30 AM classes or watch the class via cable or computer DSL connections. There is no reason to attend the first class meeting. Students may attend or watch the class at their convenience, but it is necessary to follow the course responsibly. Otherwise the breadth of Ancient Roman history may overwhelm them. General class notes and powerpoints are available within WebCt, but they should be used as supplements not replacements for lecture material.

Students may submit the two papers via email, but it is advisable to save copies until final course grades are posted. The two essay exams must be taken on campus either at the assigned meeting time for the course or at the Testing Center at 5:00 PM, Monday thru Thursday the week of the exams.

Ancient Rome has a WebCt site where notes and powerpoints can be accessed. All grades are posted within the site within two weeks of the assignment if not sooner. Quiz grades are posted immediately following the electronic submission. It is expected that the class will have an electronic study session within WebCt to prepare for the two exams from the study questions posted on WebCt.


  • Assignments


    Due Date

    Each assignment is graded on a 100 point scale, but each is weighted differently according to the following scale.

    500 points

    Essay Exam on Republican Rome

    100 pts = 25% weighted

    Oct. 24

    Essay Exam on Roman Empire

    100 pts = 25 % weighted

    December 21

    Paper I on Shelton's Documents

    100 pts =20 % weighted


    November 7


    Paper II

    100 pts =20 % weighted

    December 1

    Six Quizes (Five Highest will count)

    100 pts.= 10%

    2 % each

  • Grades:

    A: 90-100%

    B: 80-89%

    C: 70-79%

    D: 60-69%

    F: 59-0%


    Reading Materials


    M. LeGlay, et al. A HISTORY OF ROME. 3d Edition. Blackwell, 2004.

    Jo Ann Shelton. AS THE ROMANS DID. 2nd Edition. Oxford, 1998)


    Weekly Lectures and Readings: Fall 2007 AD

    Introduction to Roman History

    • Periods, Terms and Geographical Realities
    • Historical Context

    Readings: LeGlay, History, introd. xxi-xxvi, pp. 3-16.

    Sept 4-6.


    Archaic Rome: 753-509 BC

    • Etruscans and Latins
    • Archaic Institutions
    • Peasant Value System

    Leglay, pp. 17-36;

    Shelton, 1-19, 291-300

    Powerpoint Etruria


    Creation of the Classical Republic: 509-287 BC

    • Mixed Constitution and Senatorial Supremacy
    • Role of Peasantry in Assemblies and Voting
    • Democracy or Peasant Integration

    LeGlay, 37-55;

    Shelton, 11-23, 203-225.


    Sept. 18-20

    Roman Expansionism

    • Conquest of Italy
    • Punic Wars and Mediterranean Conquest
    • Civis and the Roman System of Rule
    • Roman Philhellenism

    LeGlay, 57-111; Shelton, 243-251.

    Quiz #1

    Sept. 25-27

    Consequences of Imperium

    • Economic Effects
    • Nobiles as a Closed Governing Class
    • Structural Supports of Power
    • Social and Economic Effects of Large Scale Slavery

    Shelton, 163-185, 225-230.

    October 2-4

    Roman Revolution: Gracchi to Sulla, 133-80 BC

    • Gracchi and the Peasant Soldier
    • Peasantry in Literature: Myth and Reality
    • Marius and the New Army
    • Sulla and the Social War: Will Civis be extended?

    LeGlay, 111-129;

    Shelton, 163-185, 225-230.

    Quiz #2

    Oct 9-11.


    Collapse of the Civis System

    • Pompey, Cicero, Cato, and Caesar: Politicians, Statesmen, or Dynasts?
    • Republican Institutional and Moral Collapse
    • Caesar's Choice
    • Revolution and Establishment of a New Governing Class

    LeGlay, 130-160;

    Shelton, 268-284.

    Oct. 16-18.

    Examination I

    Oct. 23

    Augustan Principate

    • Foundations of a New System
    • Maius Imperium & Tribunician Potestas
    • Military Settlement
    • Imperial Succession: Julio-Claudians and Flavians

    LeGlay, 163-281;

    Shelton, 226-235, 252-267.

    Deeds of Divine Augustus and Lex De Imperio Vespansiano (WebCt files)


    Oct 25-30

    Golden Age of Roman Literature

    • Cicero's Latin Stoicism, Horace's Odes, Virgil's Aeneid, and Tacitus' Annals in Shelton, 100-122, 318-321.
    • Rhetorical Education and Humanitas

    Shelton, 100-122, 318, 321.

    Nov. 1..


    Imperium Romanum

    • New Institutions and Forms of Rule: Civitas Unity from Diversity.
    • Persistence of Local Government: Greek/Near Eastern & Latin West
    • Imperial Law as a Social and Political Unifier: Corpus Juris Civilis
    • Impact of the Formula System as a Pragmatic System of Law

    LeGlay, 283-329; 358-367.

    Shelton, 9-10, 17,43-44, 238-241


    Nov 6-8.

    Paper I


    Nov. 6

    Roman Town Life

    • Pompeii and Herculaneum
    • Provence, Hispania, and Asia Minor.

      Britain As Exemplar of Romanitas

    • Hadrian's Wall and Defense Strategies

    • Roman Army In Britain

      • Urbanization and Romanitas

    Leglay, 339-345

    Shelton, 59-78, 123-132, 323-346.

    Powerpoints: Pompeii and Britain

    Quiz # 3


    Roman Social Classes

    • Women and Family Life
    • Peasant and Slave Labor

    Shelton, 20-58, 288-306; 180-202.

    Quiz #4


    Nov. 15.

    Pax Romana: Economic Strengths andStructures

    • Models of the Roman Economy
    • Long Distance Trade. How Important?
    • Mare Nostrum: Ancient Seafaring.

    LeGlay, 329-339.

    Powerpoint: Economy

    Nov. 20


    Agriculture in the Roman Empire

    • Expansion of the Ager: Hispania, Gaul, and Britannia
    • Urbanization and Agricultural Development
    • Regional Variations in Agriculture.
    • Villa Economic Growth


    Powerpoint: Agriculture

    Quiz # 5.

    Nov. 27

    Third Century Collapse and Recovery

    • Social and Economic Collapse of Agriculture
    • Transformation of the Labor Supply from Slave to Free
    • Long Distance Trade & Regional Economies
    • Collapse of Tax System and Coinage
    • Rome as a Command Economy
    • Strategic Frontier Defense and the Dyarchy of Diocletian
    • Corporate State as a Vehicle for Defense

    LeGlay, 369-430.

    Nov 29.





    Paper II


    Nov 29.

    Constantine and the New Christian Empire

    • Mystery Religions and the New Christian Empire.
    • Cultural and Political Factors as Religious Determinants
    • Conversion of Constantine
    • Constantine as Vicegerent of God
    • Definition of Orthodoxy

    LeGlay, 431-500;

    Shelton, 359-429.

    Powerpoint Contantine

    Quiz # 6

    Dec 4-6.

    Late Antiquity: Roman,Christian, or Barbarian?

    • Collapse of Economic Resources in the West
    • Frontier Defense: East and West.
    • Augustine and the "Holy Man"
    • Late Roman Cultural Continuities

    LeGlay, 501-512.

    Dec. 11

    Rome to Byzantium

    • Justinian as Restorer of Rome
    • Constantinople as New Rome
    • Ravenna and Ostrogothic Italy
    • Historical Change and the End of the Ancient World.

    Powerpoint: Justinian

    Dec. 13

    Exam II



    Dec. 20



    Each student will write two four to five page essays on designated documents from the Shelton text. I will provide specific documentary assignments and topics for all papers. Papers can be dropped off at the History Department Office in Tahoe Hall, mailed via US mail, or sent as attached documents to the instructor. I will acknowledge all papers sent as attached documents. If you do not receive an acknowledgment, then you should presume the transmission failed and send a hard copy or try again. In all cases, please do not delete papers from hard drives until you have received final grades for the course.

    Cribbing other peoples' work is a serious issue and will not be tolerated in your papers. Sacramento State has a campus policy with consequences that wil be enforced. If you are using information or sentences from an author, you must cite the source in your paper.

    All examinations are essay and short answers with the essay for each test valued at 50% and the short answers for the remaining 50%. You will have at least two essay questions to select from and a variety of short answers to select from from. Study questions for both the essays and short answers will be available for both the midterm and final examinations. The second exam (final) will cover the Empire and material since the midterm exam.

    Six quizes will be available during the term via WebCt as indicated by the syllabus. Each quiz will be available from Tuesday through Sunday during the designated week. Students should review the material for the specific quiz before taking it. The quiz may be taken a second time shortly following the first attempt. The higher score will be posted on WebCt as will all assignment and test grades. The five highest quiz grades will count toward the course grade.

    Computer Requirements:

    1) Students must have access to a computer and the Web and a Saclink account. Students may use CSUS computers if they do not have their own. CSUS Computer Services provides Saclink accounts free of charge to all students. Once students have a Saclink account, they will be automatically added to the database for WebCt access for this course. Access to the WebCt is via a web navigator with the saclink account as the ID and the individual password.

    2) All students will need a saclink account to access the course WebCt site for course materials, email, assignments, quizzes, and grades



    Page updated: August, 2007 AD