Syllabus. Objectives: Course Policies:

Syllabus CLAS 172: Roman studies: Rocks, coins, and pots Meetings: MWF 9:15 Instructor: C. Roncaglia ([email protected]) Office: 874 Lafayette St. (...
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Syllabus CLAS 172: Roman studies: Rocks, coins, and pots Meetings: MWF 9:15 Instructor: C. Roncaglia ([email protected]) Office: 874 Lafayette St. (big blue Victorian house), Room #207 Office hours: TBA Course Description: This course provides an introduction to the study of the Roman world, with emphasis on the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Students will be introduced to the disciplines of archaeology, numismatics, epigraphy, and ceramic studies and within these disciplines will examine and compare different methods of evaluating ancient evidence and data sets. Through utilizing different types of evidence and modes of analysis, the course introduces students to the society, culture, history, and economy of the Roman world from the Iron Age to Late Antiquity. Objectives: i)


Core Learning Objectives: (1) Students will apply deductive and inductive reasoning to analyze social science topics. (2) Students will evaluate evidence used to validate theories, hypotheses, or predictions. (3) Students will appreciate that theories and data analysis often admit multiple interpretations, and evaluate the relative merits of alternative perspectives. Department of Classics Learning Objectives: (1) Students should develop cross-disciplinary skills that enable them to collect and master various types of important data, to distinguish fact from opinion, and to make a cogent and compelling argument supported by the appropriate use of evidence. (2) Students should develop critical and self-critical thinking that enables them to identify and assess the personal and cultural assumptions that underlie social institutions.

Course Policies: Attendance – Come to class prepared and on time. If due to illness or other obligations you are not able to come to class, please inform the instructor via email. Unexcused absences will result in a lower participation grade. Laptops – As on flights before an altitude of 10,000 feet is reached, the use of laptops, tablets, cell-phones, and other portable electronic devices is prohibited. Only students with university given special accommodations will be permitted to use laptops for note taking.

Readings – Please bring the assigned reading for the day to class. If readings are on Camino, please print them out and bring them to class. Class Participation – Try to speak at least once each class. If you have trouble speaking in class, try to make this a habit early on in the quarter. Remember that your contributions are welcome, and be respectful of other students. As a rough guideline, attending class and simply listening will result in a C participation grade, while thoughtful and regular participation in class discussion will result in an A participation grade. Cheating – Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will result in a failing grade for the class for the assignment or course. Instances of plagiarism and cheating will also be reported to the Office of Student Life. Disability Accommodation Policy: To request academic accommodations for a disability, students must be registered with Disabilities Resources, located in Benson, room 216. In order to register, please go on-line to You will need to register and provide professional documentation of a disability prior to receiving academic accommodations. It is best to read "Required Documentation" on the website before starting the registration process in order to determine what is needed. You may contact Disabilities Resources at 408-554-4109 if you have questions. Texts: Peachin, M. (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Social Relations in the Roman World. Oxford University Press. Peña, T., Roman Pottery in the Archaeological Record. Cambridge University Press. Ward-Perkins, B., The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization. Oxford University Press. Cooley, A. and M. G. L. Cooley (eds.), Pompeii and Herculaneum. A Sourcebook. Routledge. Barchiesi, A. and W. Scheidel (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies. Oxford University Press. Grading Summary: Participation: 15% Project: 25% Midterm: 25% Final: 35% Assessment:

1) Participation – This portion of the grade will include attendance, and participation in class discussions [1.1, 1.2, 1.3]. 2) Project – Students will collect and analyze a data set of their choice. For the project students will: a) Develop a topic related to the Roman world i) Some possible topics include the economy of Roman Egypt, Roman republican politics, propaganda and communication in the Roman Empire, social networks along Hadrian’s Wall, the archaeology of Roman slavery, Roman ethnicity and identity, Roman domestic economies, gladiatorial games, and religious tourism in the ancient Mediterranean. b) Collect ancient evidence to explore that topic. i) Evidence and data sets may include: coins, inscriptions, archaeological survey, graffiti, pottery, papyri, and literature. c) Evaluate the evidence to validate theories about the chosen Roman topic d) Produce written work that consists of: i) A summary of ancient evidence (textual and/or material) used for evaluation ii) A 1 page outline of the research project [1.1, 1.2] iii) A 6-8 page paper discussing the results of the analysis [1.1, 1.2, 1.3] 3) Midterm and Final - The two tests in this class will each consist of four parts: (1) IDs – Students will be expected to provide a brief description of selected terms, places, persons, and events. Students will have a choice of terms (for example, out of ten terms listed, students will be asked to define seven). For each term students must also provide a date or chronological reference and explain the significance of the term. (2) Map IDs - Students will be given a list of places and a blank map. Students will locate a given number of places on the map. There will be choice in this section, (i.e. 7 out of 15). (3) Image and text analysis - Students will be provided with textual passages from the primary source readings and also images (of building or city plan, object, coin, statue, etc.) taken from the readings and slides. Students will choose one image or passage and then (i) identify and (ii) discuss its significance. (4) Essay. Students will choose from a selection of essay topics and write an essay that makes a strong central argument well supported by specific ancient evidence. Readings and Course Schedule: Unit # 1: Archaeology and History Class Topics Reading 1.1 Introduction to the Roman world and None assigned 1.3




Roman archaeology Archaeology and History: The Roman Republic • Early and Middle Republic • Roman nomenclature • Roman Religion • Italy and Rome Archaeology and History: The Roman Republic, part 2 • Roman politics • Roman political theory • The Late Republic Archaeology and History: The Roman Empire, part 1 • The Principate


Archaeology and History: The Roman Empire, part 2 • The Dominate


Archaeology and History: Late Antiquity • Christianity • Conversion rates • The fourth through sixth centuries CE

“Early Rome” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

1.1, 1.3

“The Imperial Republic” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

1.1, 1.3

“The Early Imperial Monarchy” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies “The Later Roman Empire” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies “After Antiquity” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

1.1, 1.3

“Politics and Public Life,” in Pompeii and Herculaneum sourcebook “Papyrology” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

“Epigraphy and Communication” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Social Relations Sourcebook documents on Camino

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

1.1, 1.3

1.1, 1.3

Unit #2: Words 3.1




Graffiti • Introduction to Roman graffiti • Politics and competition in Roman towns Papyrology • Economies • Prices • workshop production • Egypt – a special case? Epigraphy – modes of communication • Introduction to Roman inscriptions Epigraphy - emperors and propaganda • Augustus • Claudius • The Antonines

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

1.1, 1.2, 1.3





Epigraphy – local elites • Comparative urban politics • Pliny the Younger • The politics and finance of euergetism Epigraphy – freedmen • Prosopography • Social Mobility • Elite self-presentation Epigraphy – slaves and missing persons • Epigraphic biases • Quantifying Roman slavery Epigraphy – Bandits! • Murder, sheep rustling, and the stationarii • Banditry in the Roman countryside • Quantifying crime in the ancient world

Sourcebook documents on Camino

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

“Organized Societies: Collegia” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Social Relations

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

“Slaves in Roman 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Society,” and “Women in Roman Society”, Oxford Handbook of Roman Social Relations “Bandits in the Roman 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Empire” (on Camino)

Unit #3: Objects 5.3



Coins – Republic • Introduction to numasmatics • Circulation and monetization • Audience and politics Coins – Empire • Emperors and propaganda • Provincial issues


6.3 7.1 7.2 7.3

Coins – case studies workshop Pottery – Life cycles Pottery – Manufacture Pottery – case studies *Data sets and project outlines due

None assigned; please bring green book and a pen. “Numismatics” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

“Coins and Communication” in Oxford Handbook of Roman Social Relations None assigned

1.1., 1.2, 1.3

Peña, chapter 1 Peña, chapter 3 Peña, chapter 11

1.1, 1.2, 1.3 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 1.1, 1.2, 1.3

Unit #4: Words, objects, and archaeology: systems and patterns

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

1.1, 1.2, 1.3





Roman cities: places and regions Rank size distributions and central place theory Roman cities: Pompeii case study 1 • Mapping religious practice • Quantifying religious practice Roman cities: Pompeii case study 2 • Prostitution • foot traffic • trash disposal The Roman countryside: Settlement distribution and survey archaeology




Connectivity in the Roman world *Finished Projects due World Systems analysis and globalization


10.2 10.3

None assigned

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

“Religion,” in Pompeii and 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Herculaneum sourcebook

Quantifying the Fall of the Roman Empire Quantifying the Fall of the Roman Empire

Final Exam Day and Time: TBA

“Leisure,” in Pompeii and Herculaneum sourcebook

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

Patterson, “Rural Landscapes of Imperial Italy” (on Camino) Scheidel, “Population and demography” (on Camino) The Corrupting Sea, chapter 1 (on Camino) Selections from Globalisation and the Roman world: world history, connectivity and material culture (on Camino); chapter assignment varies by student Ward-Perkins , pp. 1-31 Ward-Perkins, pp. 87-137

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

1.1, 1.2, 1.3

1.1, 1.2, 1.3 1.1, 1.2, 1.3

1.1, 1.3 1.1, 1.2, 1.3

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