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HSTAM 330 A: The Age of Augustus

Meeting Time: 
MTWThF 9:30am - 10:20am
LOW 105
Joint Sections: 
CLAS 330 A
Alain M. Gowing

Syllabus Description:

Classics 330/HSTAM 330: The Age of Augustus

Autumn Quarter 2016 -- MTWThF 9:30-10:20, Loew 105

Professor A. M. Gowing
Office: (until 9/9/16) Condon 304; (after 9/9/16) Denny M262C
Phone: 543-2266 (Dept. of Classics)



Description: This course will examine all aspects of the Age of Augustus (31 BC - AD 14), a period of profound political and cultural change that permanently altered the course of Roman history. The history, politics, literature, art, architecture, and religion of the period will all come under scrutiny as we investigate the various ways in which Rome's first emperor sought to repair and redirect a society fragmented by years of civil war -- and the various ways in which the citizens of Rome reacted to the Augustan reforms. The readings will be drawn largely from primary texts, including Augustus' own account of his rule (the Res Gestae); selections from the works of Vergil, Ovid, Horace, and other Augustan writers; Suetonius' Life of Augustus; and numerous inscriptions illustrating various aspects of life in Rome as well as in the provinces.

Course goals: At the conclusion of this class students will have:

  • learned to think critically and knowledgeably about an important period in Roman history specifically and western civilization generally
  • acquired the skill to evaluate and analyze a wide variety of historical evidence relevant to the period, from inscriptions to coins to literary texts and material remains
  • imaginatively re-created in writing a piece of 'lost' historical evidence
  • learned to think critically about and acquired an appreciation for the impressive literary and artistic legacy of the Augustan period.

Required texts:

  • Coursepack with readings from K. Chisholm and J. Ferguson, edd. Rome. The Augustan Age. Oxford 1981. Available at Univ. Bookstore with other texts.
  •  A.H.M. Jones. Augustus. New York and London 1970.
  • P. Zanker. The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus. Alan Shapiro, trans. Michigan 1988.
  • A. Wallace-Hadrill. Augustan Rome. Bristol Classical Press 1993.

Requirements: 1) Regular class attendance is strongly urged (5%)

            2) Midterm (25%) and Final Examination (30%) Both exams will consist of short answer and brief essay questions. While the final exam will focus principally on material covered in the second half of the course, familiarity with the issues covered in the first half will be assumed.

            3) Two 3-5 page papers (40%, 20% each).  Information sheets including instructions, grading criteria, and suggested topics for each paper will be posted on the course website. The principal aim of each paper is to have you compose something (for example, a letter, fragment of a history, etc.) addressing a particular topic from the perspective of a person living in the Augustan period. Unless previously cleared with me, late papers will be penalized.

Thursday Conference: Unless you are otherwise notified, there will be no class meeting on Thursdays, but I will be available in my office during our regular class period (9:30-10:20 AM) for individual conferences.

Optional W-Course: You may elect to take this as a W-Course. This will entail EITHER writing an additional paper along the lines of the required two OR if you prefer, you may elect -- in lieu of 3 shorter papers -- to write a 12-15 page research paper on a topic of your choice and approved by me. A draft of this will be due in Week 8; the final draft is due at the next-to-last class meeting.


Catalog Description: 
Detailed study of the history and culture of the reign of Augustus, the first Roman emperor (31 BC-AD 14). Includes readings in Augustan authors such as Vergil, Ovid, and Horace as well as the study of Augustan art and architecture. Offered: jointly with CLAS 330.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 9:02pm