Classics 190. Senior Seminar: Fall of the Roman Republic

imageClassics 190. Senior Seminar: Fall of the Roman Republic (4 units)
Rex Stem

TR 1:40-3:00P
140 Physics Building
CRN 54623

Course Description: This course is designed as a capstone course for Classics majors in their senior (or possibly junior) year. The topic for this year’s seminar will be the Fall of the Roman Republic. We will follow the story of the last century of the Republic, from Tiberius Gracchus to Caesar Augustus, in a modern history (by H. H. Scullard) and in a series of ancient texts. We will discuss the lives of some of the key individuals of the period (the Gracchi, Sulla, Cato, Brutus [by Plutarch]) as well as some of the historical ideals (the ideal orator and general in Cicero and Caesar), some of the defining events (Catiline’s conspiracy, the Jugurthine War [described by Sallust]), and some of the cultural options (Catullus’ lyric poetry, Lucretius’ Epicurean philosophy) outside of political careers. We will explore what happened, how the Romans understood what was happening, and how they responded to the changing times.

The reading will be heavy and the discussion open-ended but in-depth. There will be short writing prompts in class and formal papers at the middle and end of term (2,000 and 3,000 words, respectively). Each student will also be responsible for leading class discussion (more than once, if numbers permit) and designing the in-class writing prompts for that discussion.

Prerequisite: Completion of one upper division course in Latin, Greek or Hebrew or consent of instructor (

GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities and Writing Experience.

Format: Seminar - 3 hours; Term Paper.