Classics 322: The Romans


Grant Nelsestuen
Literature, Comm B, Elementary
3 credits

The ancient Romans are a people of paradox: capable of producing works of profound beauty and deep pathos, they are also responsible for the slaughter of millions in the course of imposing their empire on the Mediterranean world; morality in the public and private spheres is a constant concern for them, yet their reputation for luxury and decadence is not entirely undeserved; and their avowed commitment to such values as freedom, republicanism, and religious piety stands alongside their practice of slavery, the emergence of autocracy, and their (sometimes) intolerant approach to matters involving the divine.  In the course of exploring these tensions, this class provides both a chronological survey of Roman civilization and a more detailed look into particular topics in Roman culture.  We will read a series of Roman texts, most of which are regarded as major works of literature and will be illuminating for the study of the cultural topics selected.  Discussion will give you the chance to present your own ideas and learn from others.  In fulfillment of the requirements for Communication B, you will complete and revise several short papers and present one of them orally in section.