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CLASSICS 2LD3 HistofRomefrDictofCaesar

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Patricia White


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 702

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24372

Office Hours: Monday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Course Objectives:

This course picks up where Classics 2LC3 left off. We shall begin with Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon in 49 BCE (as a review), and end around 600 CE. Attention will be paid to the political, social, economic, and military developments that occurred during these centuries, particularly in light of the literary and archaeological evidence. This evidence is crucial for the modern scholar’s understanding of ancient Roman society and culture. Lectures are integral not only to the student’s understanding of the historical events and narrative of the time period to be covered, but also to the student’s understanding of the problems facing scholars of Roman imperial history.

Regular class attendance is necessary to do well in this course. Important terms, concepts, and events will be explained and discussed in lecture. Content discussed in the readings will also be examined in lecture; since there are no tutorials for this class, the only time at which the readings will be examined is during lecture. In addition, PowerPoint slides of lecture content will not be posted online.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

The following texts are required for this course, and can be purchased at Titles Bookstore:

  • A.M. Ward et al. A History of the Roman People (6th edition; Pearson Education, 2013);
  • W.E. Kaegi, Jr., and P. White (eds.). University of Chicago Readings in Western Civilization; Volume 2: Rome: Late Republic and Principate (The University of Chicago Press, 1986).

Method of Assessment:

The following is a breakdown of the final grade for the course:

Passage-for-comment Exercise


Iconography Assignment


Midterm Test


Final Exam


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

It is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor prior to any scheduled test in order to figure out alternate accommodations. A missed test will receive a mark of zero unless the student has a legitimate excuse and can provide the instructor with the necessary documentation.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:



Lecture Topic

Ward et al.

Kaegi and White

Important Dates


Jan. 4

Introduction; The Sources and Problems Facing the Historian

pp. 200-208



Jan. 5

Caesar Crosses the Rubicon; Caesar’s Defeat and Legacy

pp. 209-216

5, 6



Jan. 9

The Rise of Octavian and the Triumviral Period

pp. 217-227

7, 8, 21, 22


Jan. 11

Civil War and the Last Days of the Republic

pp. 227-230



Jan. 12


Augustus and the Principate

pp. 250-260




Jan. 16

Augustan Reforms and Conquests

pp. 260-278



Jan. 18

Augustus’ Impact

pp. 279-293



Jan. 19

The Roman Army and the “Grand Strategy” of the Roman Empire

(finish previous readings)




Jan. 23

The Julio-Claudians: Tiberius

pp. 294-305


Passage-for-comment Exercise due (in lecture)

Jan. 25

The Julio-Claudians: Little Boots and Claudius

pp. 306-311



Jan. 26


Nero and The End of The Julio-Claudians

pp. 311-316




Jan. 30

The Year of the Four Emperors (69 CE)

pp. 317-320



Feb. 1

The Flavians (69-96 CE)

pp. 320-326



Feb. 2

The Five “Good” Emperors (96-180 CE)

pp. 327-342

12, 14-18



Feb. 6

The Five “Good” Emperors (cont’d.)

(finish previous readings)

(finish previous readings)


Feb. 8




Midterm (30%)

Feb. 9

Roman Literature in the First and Second Centuries CE

pp. 343-352




Feb. 13, Feb. 15

Roman Religion and Architecture in the First and Second Centuries CE

pp. 352-361

25, 26


Feb. 16

Roman Society and the Economy in the First and Second Centuries CE

pp. 361-366

23, 24



Feb. 18-26

Mid-term recess: no classes



Feb. 27

Commodus (180-192 CE)

pp. 367-371



Mar. 1

The Severans (193-235 CE)

pp. 372-381



Mar. 2

Imperial Authority, Legitimacy, and Crises under the Severans

(finish previous readings)




Mar. 6, Mar. 8

The Third-Century Crisis (235-285 CE)

pp. 382-391



Mar. 9

Roman Life during the Third Century CE

pp. 392-407




Mar. 13

Diocletian (285-305 CE)

pp. 408-419


Iconography Assignment due (in lecture)

Mar. 15

Constantine (306-337 CE)

pp. 420-430



Mar. 16

The Post-Constantinian Roman Empire (337-395 CE)

pp. 431-438




Mar. 20

Roman Life during the Fourth Century CE

pp. 439-453



Mar. 22


pp. 454-471



Mar. 23

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Survival of the East

pp. 472-486




Mar. 27, Mar. 29

The Fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Survival of the East (cont’d.)

(finish previous readings)



Mar. 30

Justin and Justinian

pp. 487-499

re-read 18



Apr. 3

Justinian’s Successors

pp. 499-501



Apr. 5

The Late Antique Roman World

pp. 502-521



Apr. 6

Conclusion; Review





Exam period: April 11-27, 2017