29446 - History of the Roman Empire (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

After completing this module , students will have highly specialized skills and appropriate research methodologies in history of Rome and the provinces of the roman empire in the imperial age. The student will be able to analyze historiographical and documentary sources, in the original language, and to discuss the evidence on the basis of modern bibliography, written in european languages other than italian. He has a sound knowledge of themes, events, phenomena concerning the history of the roman world in the imperial age. He competently uses tools and databases for distance research and distance learning.

Course contents

The course will be devoted to the theme Rome and China: empires in contact, empires in comparison, this year too. In the first introductory part we will deal with the subject of the course, the methodology of the approaches to the theme and the problems of ancient documentation; a central part will examine the contacts between the Roman Empire and the Chinese Empire, in a perspective of World History; finally a conclusive part will be dedicated to a comparison on some fundamental structures of the Roman Empire and the Chinese Empire, in a perspective of comparative history.

Lectures will then cover the following issues:

  1. Themes and methods of the course (about 11 hours)
    1. Presentation of the course (about 1 hour)
    2. The subject of the course and its chronological, geographical and thematic limits (about 2 hours).
    3. The problems of World History, of Global History and of comparative history (about 2 hours).
    4. The classical sources on the relations between the Roman world and the Chinese world (about 2 hours).
    5. Chinese textual sources (about 2 hours).
    6. Chinese archaeological sources (about 2 hours).
  2. Empires in contact (about 10 hours):
    1. The story of the lost legion (about 2 hours)
    2. Diplomatic explorations and contacts in the Roman perspective (about 2 hours).
    3. China seen from Rome (about 2 hours).
    4. Diplomatic explorations and contacts in the Chinese perspective (about 2 hours).
    5. Rome seen from China (about 2 hours).
  3. Empires in comparison (9 hours)
    1. A general framework of the administration of the two Empires (about 3 hours).
    2. The phenomenon of urbanization and the role of cities in the administration of the two Empires (about 3 hours).
    3. The war, the army and the formation of the two Empires (about 3 hours).

The program will be completed with the study, by the students, of the main structural problems of the history of the roman empire.

For attending students the course also includes the writing of a short paper (5-10 pages) on one of the topics covered in class or related to the history of roman empire, to be agreed with the teacher. The paper must be submitted at least one week before the examination. The preparation of the paper will be the subject of a special seminar (about 8 hours), which will cover the following topics:

  1. The main features of a paper in the history of the roman empire (about 1 hour).
  2. Finding modern bibliography (about 2 hours).
  3. Finding ancient evidence (about 2 hours).
  4. The analysis of the modern bibliography (about 1 hour).
  5. Writing the paper (about 2 hours).

The seminar will deal with the tools (both in the traditional format, and the new digital tools) for research in the history of the roman empire.

Readings/Bibliography

For attending students:

  1. On the main structural problems of the history of the Roman Empire: A. Giardina – A. Schiavone, Storia di Roma, Torino, Einaudi, 1999, part III, pp. 339-540: I principi e il mondo [the text is available in the library of the Department of Storia Culture Civiltà – Sezione di Storia Antica, via Zamboni 38, 4th floor, under the signature CONS V Giar].
  2. On the special theme of the course: lecture notes, which will also be published in the form of slides, on the platform Insegnamenti on line (https://iol.unibo.it/).
  3. For writing the paper: special literature, in foreign languages too, identified by the students themselves, thanks to the bibliographic tools which will be presented in the seminar.

For not attending students:

  1. On the main structural problems of the history of the Roman Empire: A. Giardina – A. Schiavone, Storia di Roma, Torino, Einaudi, 1999, part III, pp. 339-540: I principi e il mondo [the text is available in the library of the Department of Storia Culture Civiltà – Sezione di Storia Antica, via Zamboni 38, 2nd floor, under the signature CONS V Giar].
  2. On the special theme fo the course: W. Scheidel (ed.), Rome and China. Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009, or W. Scheidel (ed.), State Power in Ancient China and Rome, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015 [for these texts contact me, by email too at alessandro.cristofori@unibo.it].

For an alternative program (particularly on item 2 of the program for non-attending students) contact me, by email too at alessandro.cristofori@unibo.it.

Basic bibliography

The topics that will be dealt with in class assume a good knowledge of the main historical events of the Roman Empire. To recover this general historical picture you can consult a good handbook of Roman History, for example G. Geraci – A. Marcone, Storia romana, Firenze, Le Monnier, 2002 or later editions, also available at the Library of the Department of Storia Culture Civiltà - sezione di Storia antica, via Zamboni 38, 2nd floor, under the signature CONS V. Geraci.

For a historical overview of the events of the ancient Chinese Empire you can consult M. Sabattini – P. Santangelo, Storia della Cina, Roma – Bari 20052, pp. 85-188 [Library of the Department of Storia Culture Civiltà - sezione di Scienze del Moderno, Storia, Istituzioni, Pensiero politico, piazza S. Giovanni in Monte 2, under the signature PRO 4010].

This basic bibliography is useful for a better understanding of the topics that will be covered in class, but will not be the subject of the final assessment.

Teaching methods

Lectures on the problems of World History, Global History and comparative history, on the nature of the evidence and on the special theme Rome and China, empires in contact, empires in comparison. In the lectures I will try to actively involve students, especially in reading and interpreting the ancient sources that we will examine in class.

Special seminar on the preparation of the paper.

Assessment methods

The assessment, through an oral examination (and, for attending students, in form of a written essay), will test:

  • a knowledge the main structural problems of the history of the roman empire;
  • a knowledge of the special theme Rome and China, empires in contact, empires in comparison;
  • a critical approach to ancient evidence and to modern historiographical interpretations;
  • a good ability to communicate orally, in particular skills in synthesis and in logical organization of the topics and the mastery of an appropriate vocabulary;
  • for attending students, the ability to use the main tools for research in history of the roman empire (both in the traditional format, and the new digital tools) and a good ability to communicate in written form; also for the written essay, in addition to the correctness and completeness of the contents, the logical organization of the arguments and the use of a lexicon and a style appropriate to the discipline will be evaluated.

For each of the criteria outlined above, the following assessment scale can be proposed:

  • Excellent (30 cum laude)
  • Very Good (28-30)
  • Good (25-27)
  • Satisfactory (22-24)
  • Sufficient (18-21)
Evaluation of the individual parameters will contribute to determine final vote. In the assessment of attending students, I will take into account constancy and active participation to the lectures.

In detail, oral examination tipically involves, for attending students:

  • one question on the main structural problems of the history of the roman empire (based on A. Giardina – A. Schiavone, Storia di Roma, Torino, Einaudi, 1999);
  •  two questions on topics discussed in class, on the special theme Rome and China, empires in contact, empires in comparison;
  • a discussion of the paper.

There will be three questions for not attending students:

  • one question on the main structural problems of the history of the roman empire (based on A. Giardina – A. Schiavone, Storia di Roma, Torino, Einaudi, 1999);
  • two question on the special theme of the course (based on W. Scheidel (ed.), Rome and China. Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009 or on W. Scheidel (ed.), State Power in Ancient China and Rome, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015).

In the assessment of the integrated course of Storia romana (12 credits), the overall grade will be the result of the arithmetic average between the vote of this module of Storia dell’Impero romano and the vote in the module of Storia romana arcaica e repubblicana.

Teaching tools

In lessons we will use PowerPoint slide shows, which will be published on the website of the course on the platform Insegnamenti on line (https://iol.unibo.it/).

Office hours

See the website of Alessandro Cristofori