A spectacle of murder and mysterious omens crafted the foundation stories of ancient Rome. A city founded on bloodshed, civil strife, and crime seems an unlikely future setting for a great empire. But later Romans who lived during the time of the Empire appear to have reconciled the legends of their violent past with their current political and social milieu of peace and prosperity. But what was the price they paid for this reconciliation? How does this reconciliation affect Roman literature, history, and material culture?
This course will explore the interconnections between place, literature, and Roman cultural identity. We will look at the early foundation stories of Rome and examine how Rome’s past shaped the Romans’ perception of history and literature. By examining the tensions between the stories of Rome’s legendary past and its history during the empire, we will learn how the Romans created an ethos of virtue and honor from their humble yet violent beginnings. We will investigate how this ethos sharply contrasted with the realities of living during the time of the Roman Empire.
During the course of the semester, students will have the opportunity to do close readings of significant Roman literary and historical texts and explore Roman material culture. Emphasis will be placed on critically thinking about and interpreting the past. Viewing of key scenes from "I, Claudius" and the movie "Gladiator" will help shape the class discussions of violence as a cultural norm in the ancient world.
Livy, The Early History of Rome
Vergil, The Aeneid
Tacitus, The Annals
Petronius, The Satyricon
These Were the Romans
All textbooks are available for purchase at The University of
There will be three unit exams and each exam will be worth 1/3 of your final grade. The exam format will consist of identifications (short answer) and essay questions based on the materials covered in the readings and lectures.
Your final grade
will be based on how
well you do on three equally weighted multiple choice exams. In
during the course of the semester you will have several opportunities
participate in extra-credit "minute paper"
where you may write an essay
based on a question I ask about the evening's lecture or reading
and each essay you write will have the ability to raise your final
one full point. Opportunities for writing minute
papers will be assigned to you based on the letters of the alphabet
I have chosen for the evening; I will select random letters of the
and if the first letter of your last name corresponds to one of the
of the alphabet I have selected,then you may write an essay if you
You must be present to participate and hand in your essay at the end of
the class period.
A=100-90 B+=89-88 B=87-80 C+=79-78 C=77-70 D+=69-68 D=67-60 E=59 and below.
Class Schedule (all reading assignments are to be completed for
Unit One: Livy and Augustus
Lecture: "Romulus and the Origins of Rome"
Assignment: Livy 1-165
Lecture Guides: A History of Violence
First Reading Guide for Livy
Lecture: "The Later Republic"
Lecture Guides: The Republic, Part II
Assignment: Vergil I-VI
Outline of Vergil's Aeneid
Vergil's Aeneid with Explanatory Notes
Review Sheet for Exam I
How to write an essay exam
Lecture: "An Empire Reclaimed"
Assignment: Tacitus Chapters 7-8, TWTR pp. 43-106
Review for Exam II
Unit Three: Tacitus and Petronius
March 11: Spring Break
If you have any disability or special concern, it is your responsibility to notify me at the start of the semester so that your needs may be accommodated. You
will also need to give me a letter from the Dean of Students Office indicating that you need academic accommodations.
The following pledge is either required or implied on all work submitted for credit by University of Florida students: "On my honor, I have neither given nor
received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment." For a full statement of UF's Academic Honor Code see either the Undergraduate Catalog or the web site.
About the Instructor:
Jennifer A. Rea is an Assistant Professor of Classics at UF. She received her Ph.D. in Classical Philology from the University of Wisconsin and her M.A. from Indiana University. Her areas of specialty are Augustan Age Literature and Roman Topography.