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Introduction to Roman Culture & Literature

This course is no longer being offered.

Course Description

Spectacles, brutality, gluttony, decadence, ruthless ambition, limitless empire: these are a few of the terms associated with the Romans in modern culture. This course examines another side of one of the greatest societies of the Western World from the point of view of their cultural accomplishments. We will learn about their society through their own words, seeing Roman culture through Roman eyes.

With authors like Cicero, Virgil, Pliny the Younger, Ovid, Seneca, Catullus and others as our guides, we will gain a comprehensive introduction to many aspects of Roman culture at first hand. We shall pay special attention Roman mythology, religion, history, politics, daily life, the role of women and slaves, spectacle culture, the army, and Roman architecture to chart the similarities and differences between their society and ours. Our course should lay a strong foundation for reading Roman literature and grasping the legacy of Rome - visual, political, ideological - by situating Roman social realities in their proper contexts.

By the end of this course, students should be able to write a concise response paper that makes a brief but clear argument; they should be better acquainted with the Roman world and what life in Rome was really like; they should be proficient in library research.