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AHIS1220 – Introduction to Roman History: The Republic in Crisis

2020 – Session 1, Online with attendance for exam, Exam centre within Australia

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Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor and Lecturer
Lea Beness
Contact via lea.beness@mq.edu.au
Australian Hearing Hub, South Wing, Level 2, until April break then Arts Precinct, Building B110
By appointment
Unit Convenor
Ray Laurence
Contact via ray.laurence@mq.edu.au
Australian Hearing Hub, South Wing, Level 2
By appointment
Credit points Credit points
10
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit concerns itself with the beginnings of the so-called Roman Revolution, paying special attention to the period from 168 BCE (the battle of Pydna) to Sulla's dictatorship. The main questions will be how and why the traditional political order was challenged and finally overrun by violence, leading to military autocracy and the radical transformation of the Republic. Larger social and economic developments in Italy and the Mediterranean and the distinctive features of the moral and political thought of the period will also be considered. The course is largely a study of the Roman nobility and its members' response to change and crisis.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: acquire knowledge of the Roman Republican political process and of the fundamental political developments in Rome at the beginning of the so-called Roman Revolution
  • ULO2: acquire basic research skills
  • ULO3: acquire the skill to evaluate source material and, in particular, an ability to use ancient sources critically and evaluate modern interpretations of those sources
  • ULO4: acquire the ability to formulate arguments and articulate ideas
  • ULO5: acquire the ability to demonstrate an appreciation of the larger issues that engage historians (for example, the factors that lead to social cohesion and the factors that lead to social and political dysfunction, the desirable qualities of political leadership)
  • ULO6: gain a lifelong ability to enjoy the study of ancient Rome and an inability to forget the word prosopography

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

ABOUT THIS UNIT

This unit concerns itself with the beginning of the Roman Republic's drift towards its political collapse, and in particular with the beginnings of the so-called "Roman Revolution". Special attention will be paid to the period from 168 BC, when Roman troops destroyed the Macedonian army at the battle of Pydna, to the establishment of Sulla's dictatorship (82–80 BC), when the age of the General was at hand and the Republic's days were numbered. Developments in this period, both internal and external, are of critical significance in the history of western civilization. We look closely at traditional political and social institutions, values and practice, and try to assess the effect on these of Rome's emergence as the dominating power in the Mediterranean. The main questions will be how and why the traditional political order was challenged and finally overrun by violence leading to military autocracy and the radical transformation of the Republic. Larger social and economic developments in Italy and the Mediterranean will need to be addressed, and the distinctive features of the moral and political thought of the period will also be considered. The course is largely a study of the Roman nobility and its members' response to change and crisis.

 

CLASSES FOR INTERNAL STUDENTS

For lecture times and classrooms, internal students should consult the MQ Timetable website: <http://www.timetables.mq.edu.au>. This website will display up-to-date information on classes and classroom locations.

Lectures:

The lectures for this unit will be recorded and the audio recordings can be downloaded or streamed via the Echo 360 system which can be accessed via the iLearn site.

Tutorials:

Topics for discussion and questions to be addressed are set out under the appropriate week on the iLearn site. All tutorials will focus upon the historiographical aspects of studying this period and the material covered will form an essential preparation for your responses in Part (i) in the Examination. Preparation for each tutorial is advised, since the material covered in these sessions will be examined. Only by reading the material set for discussion in advance will you receive the full benefit of these sessions. There are tutorials each week for most weeks of the session. We hope that participation in these discussions will be a vital and rewarding part of the unit.

 

EXPECTATIONS FOR EXTERNAL STUDENTS  

Lectures:

As for internal students, the lectures for this unit will be recorded and the audio recordings can be downloaded or streamed via the Echo 360 system which can be accessed via the iLearn site.

Tutorials:

Topics for discussion and questions to be addressed are set out under the appropriate week on the iLearn site. You should use the Tutorial Forum for External Students at the top of the iLearn site to discuss at least one of the questions posed each week. All tutorials will focus upon the historiographical aspects of studying this period and the material covered will form an essential preparation for your responses in Part (i) in the Examination. Preparation for each tutorial is advised, since the material covered in these sessions will be examined. Only by reading the material set for discussion in advance will you receive the full benefit of the questions and issues discussed in the forum. There are tutorial topics set each week for most weeks of the session. We hope that participation in these discussions will be a vital and rewarding part of the unit.

 

RESOURCES  

Required Reading and Texts

(i) Ancient Sources

All students are expected to have a copy of the ancient sources listed below. All tutorial exercises which do not draw on material in the Unit Book of Readings (see below) will be based on source material in these works.

Plutarch Roman Lives: A Selection of Eight Lives (Oxford World's Classics)* Appian The Civil Wars (Penguin Classics)

* Please note that the Lives of Plutarch that are covered in this unit are also available in two Penguin editions: Plutarch Makers of Rome (Penguin Classics) and Plutarch The Fall of the Roman Republic (Penguin Classics). These two books could be purchased as an alternative to the first of the two books above.

Other essential ancient sources to which reference will be made in the lectures have been compiled in a Book of Readings: Introduction to Roman History: The Republic in Crisis (revised edition) which will be available at the beginning of the session from the Co-op Bookshop on campus: <https://www.booktopia.com.au/books-online/text-books/higher-education-vocational-textbooks/cXA-p1.html?utm_source=coop.com.au&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=301&utm_term=default&bk_source=coop&bk_source_id=default&hb=coop>

**Internal students should bring the Book of Readings to all lectures and tutorials.

NOTE

In this course emphasis is placed upon the direct examination of the ancient sources and evidence. Students are expected to base all their work on a personal examination of these sources. It will not be sufficient simply to read modern studies on any topic, however sound and highly recommended these are: it will be essential to look first at the ancient sources on which all modern studies are necessarily based.

(ii) Modern Studies

A useful textbook account for the period will be found in H.H. Scullard, From the Gracchi to Nero (5th edition, 1982) whose notes on pp. 381ff. provide reference to more recent modern studies. It is highly recommended for background reading. An online version of Scullard is available through the Library website. Required and recommended texts are available for purchase at the Co-op bookstore <https://www.booktopia.com.au/books-online/text-books/higher-education-vocational-textbooks/cXA-p1.html?utm_source=coop.com.au&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=301&utm_term=default&bk_source=coop&bk_source_id=default&hb=coop>.

Shorter paperbacks which provide an introduction to Republican history and a background to the period we are studying are: Michael Crawford, The Roman Republic (London 1978); P.A. Brunt, Social Conflicts in the Roman Republic (London 1971); David Shotter, The Fall of the Roman Republic (New York, 2nd edition 2005); and Catherine Steel, The End of the Roman Republic 146 to 44 BC. Conquest and Crisis (Edinburgh 2013). These (the last two especially) are readily available and are recommended for purchase to those wanting a wider perspective. A stocktaking of modern scholarship and a useful summation of many of the problematic issues arising in this topic will be found in M. Beard and M. Crawford Rome in the Late Republic. Problems and Interpretations (London 1985). Even more recent introductions to various themes are provided by Harriet I. Flower (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic (Cambridge 2004), designed for readers new to the subject; and Nathan Rosenstein and Robert Morstein-Marx (eds), A Companion to the Roman Republic (Oxford 2006).

There are two essential works of reference for the course which are to be consulted in the Library: The Oxford Classical Dictionary (abbreviated OCD) is the standard work of reference in English for Roman and Greek history and culture. It provides reliable and succinct explanations and definitions of technical terms, summary biographies of prominent individuals, and accounts of institutions, etc. Hard copies of the various editions are held in the library and the latest edition is available online through the library website. Copies of T.R.S. Broughton The Magistrates of the Roman Republic (abbrev. MRR; 2 vols, 1951-2; Vol. 1 covers the period 509-100 BC; vol. 2 the period 99-31 BC) will be held in Reserve in the library and is available for consultation online. This is an invaluable work which gives, year by year, a full, systematic list of the known political officials and magistrates, a summary of their actions in office and full references to the known ancient sources. A supplementary volume (vol. 3) was published in 1986. Also to be regarded as a standard work of reference is J.A. Crook et al. (ed.), The Cambridge Ancient History vol. IX (Cambridge 2nd ed. 1994). More detailed reading lists relating to particular topics will be made available electronically on the iLearn unit site. The most important recommended books and articles will be held either in Reserve in the Library or will be available electronically on the Library website or through the Leganto link on the iLearn website.

 

UNIT WEBPAGE AND TECHNOLOGY USED AND REQUIRED

This unit will use iLearn: <https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/login/MQ/>. PC and Internet access are therefore required. Basic computer skills (e.g., internet browsing) and skills in word processing are also a requirement. Please consult teaching staff for any further, more specific requirements.

 

SATISFACTORY COMPLETION OF UNIT

Attendance It is expected that internal students attend lectures and tutorials and that they spend 10 hours per week on individual study and participation in class across the 15 weeks of the session. External students should devote the same time to the unit, listening to lectures through the Echo 360 system and participating in the discussion forum on the set tutorial topics online. The importance of a regular commitment to the activities in the unit is reflected in the final examination in which questions are drawn directly from material covered in the lectures and tutorials. Students will be expected to attempt each of the 5 assessment tasks and will need to achieve an overall mark of 50% or above to complete the unit satisfactorily.

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Lecture and Tutorial Program  

Week 1

Lecture 1: Introduction to the Course

Lecture 2: The Culture of Republican Rome

There are TUTORIALS in the first week but they will be introductory (no preparation required).

 

Week 2

Lecture 1: The Rise of Rome I

Lecture 2: The Rise of Rome II

THERE ARE NO TUTORIALS THIS WEEK. Use the time to do your preparatory reading for next week's tutorial topic on Rome's Destruction of Carthage and to familiarize yourself with the Unit Guide and the AHIS1220 iLearn site.

 

Week 3

Lecture 1: The Roman 'Constitution' & Roman Society

Lecture 2: The Roman 'Constitution' & Roman Society

Tutorial Discussion Topic: Rome's Destruction of Carthage

*The Self-Assessment Exercise is due this week.

 

Week 4

Lecture 1: Scipio Aemilianus I

Lecture 2: Scipio Aemilianus II

Tutorial Discussion Topic: The Values and Goals of the Roman Nobility

 

Week 5

Lecture 1: Problems facing Rome in the mid-2nd Century I (military)

Lecture 2: Problems facing Rome in the mid-2nd Century II (agrarian/slave)

Tutorial Discussion Topic: The Attitudes and Values of Cato the Elder

*The Preparatory (Documentation) Exercise is due this week.

 

Week 6

Lecture 1: Problems facing Rome in the mid-2nd Century III (urban problems)

Lecture 2: Tiberius Gracchus (early career)

Tutorial Discussion Topic: The Introduction of the Secret Ballot

 

Week 7

Lecture 1: Tiberius Gracchus (reform and revolution: the crisis of 133 BC)

Lecture 2: Essential Essay Preparation: an introduction to prosopography

Tutorial Discussion Topic: a discussion on the Ancient Source Dossier, Essay and Elogium

*(No preparation is required but don't miss this tutorial!)

 

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MID-SESSION RECESS (two weeks)

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Week 8

Lecture 1: Archaeological Evidence for the Gracchan Land Program

Lecture 2: The Gracchan Aftermath: Punishments, Crisis and Politics

Tutorial Discussion Topic: The Latin Sources for Tiberius Gracchus

*The Ancient Source Dossier is due this week.

 

Week 9

Lecture 1: Gaius Gracchus (early career and character)

Lecture 2: Gaius Gracchus (reform program)

Tutorial Discussion Topic: Greek Sources on the Deposition of M. Octavius and the Death of Tiberius Gracchus

 

Week 10

Lecture 1: The assassination of Gaius Gracchus and the Rise of Marius

Lecture 2: The Extraordinary Military Career of Marius

Tutorial Discussion Topic: The Letter of Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi

 

Week 11

Lecture 1: Saturninus and Political Violence

Lecture 2: The Italian Question and the Italian War

THERE ARE NO TUTORIALS THIS WEEK. You will be working on Assessment 4 (due this week).

*The Prosopographical Paper and Elogium are due this week.

 

Week 12

Lecture 1: Sulla, Pompeius Strabo, Cinna and Civil War

Lecture 2: The Cinnan dominatio and the Return of Sulla

Tutorial Discussion Topic: Marius' Consular Speech and Plutarch's Life of Marius (in the first part we return to the topic of Roman elite values and in the second we focus on historiography in preparation for the examination).

 

Week 13

Lecture 1: Sulla's Dictatorship

Lecture 2: Epilogue: from Sulla to Augustus

Tutorial Discussion Topic: Sulla's memoirs and Plutarch's Life of Sulla (This tutorial will also focus on historiographical issues in preparation for the examination.)

 

Friday June 5th Last day of classes (Valete!)

Monday June 8th Examination Period begins (All the best!)

Friday June 26th Examination Period ends (Have a good break!)

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​

Results

Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

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Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

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