81710 - Rome and the Universal (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will have developed understanding of the conceptual grounds of the Universal claim in the Roman culture, which are to be connected to political-military elements as well as to cultural and juridical patterns. Students will show critical awareness of elements of continuity and change in representations and auto-representations of the roman universal cosmic order within historiographical debate and will be able to critically assess the relevance of the theme in the actual organisational and political patterns. Students will demonstrate capacity of applying a comparative approach to ancient sources and connect the roman idea of a Universal empire with other contemporary Universal empires, like e.g. Alexander the Great's empire or the Chinese Han dynasty’s Empire, as well as a diachronic approach, by taking into account how the notion of universal imperial rule has shaped the idea of international order after the end of Antiquity, from the Middle Ages to the present days.

Course contents

The course will deal about the reception of the historical experience of ancient Rome as a universal model, examining some aspects in which the influence of this historical experience was particularly significant. After a short introduction to the course (about 1 hour), the case studies we will analyze are:

  1. The Roman world as the first example of a globalized world (about 5 hours).
  2. The constitution of republican Rome as a model for constitutions of the modern age (about 6 hours).
  3. The Roman Empire as a paradigm of the Empires, from the Middle Ages to the contemporary world (about 6 hours).
  4. Slavery in ancient Rome and slavery in the modern world (about 6 hours).
  5. Roman law as a universal model (about 6 hours).

For attending students the course also includes the writing of a short paper (5-10 pages) or a review of a monograph (5-10 pages too) on one of the topics of the lectures or related to the subject of the course, to be agreed with the teacher. The essay or the review must be delivered at least one week before the examination.

Readings/Bibliography

For attending students

  1. Students with no previous experience in Roman history can take advantage in the reading of G. Woolf, Rome. An Empire's Story, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.
  2. For an introduction to the case studies, which will be the subject of lectures:
  1. The Roman world as the first example of a globalized world: F. G. Naerebout, Global Romans? Is globalization a concept that is going to help us understand the Roman empire ?, «Talanta», 38-39 (2006-2007), pp. 149-170.
  2. The Constitution of the republican of Rome as a model for constitutions of the modern age: A. Lintott, Theory of the Mixed Constitution in Rome, «Philosophia Togata, II, Plato and Aristotle at Rome», edited by J. Barnes – M. Griffin, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1997, pp. 70-85 and D.J. Bederman, The Classical Foundations of the American Constitution. Prevailing Wisdom, Cambridge 2008, chap. 2, pp. 50-94: Classical political models and the Founders.
  3. The Roman Empire as a paradigm of the Empires, from the Middle Ages to the Modern World: A. Pagden, Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France c.1500-c.1800, London, Yale University Press, 1995, pp. 11-28.
  4. Slavery in ancient Rome and slavery in the modern world: E. Dal Lago – C. Katsari, The study of ancient and modern slave systems: setting up a program for comparison, «Slave Systems. Ancient and Modern», edited by E. Dal Lago – C. Katsari, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp. 3-31.
  5. Roman law as a universal model: D. Ibbetson – A. Lewis, The Roman Law Tradition, The Roman Law Tradition, edited by A.D.E. Lewis – D.J. Ibbetson, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 1-14.

Non-attending students will add to texts of points A and B of the program the reading of R. Hingley, Globalizing Roman culture. Unity, diversity and empire, London, Routledge, 2005.

For the availability of these texts, you can contact me, at e-mail address alessandro.cristofori@unibo.it too.

Teaching methods

Lectures on some aspects in which the influence of the historical experience of Rome was particularly significant. In the lectures students are expected to participate actively, especially in reading and interpreting the evidence that we will examine in class.

Assessment methods

The assessment, through an oral examination (for attending students, based also on the discussion of a written essay), will test:

  • a knowledge of case studies about the reception of the historical experience of ancient Rome as a universal model;
  • 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 a good ability to communicate in written form, particularly, in addition to the correctness and completeness of the contents, skills in organizing the arguments in logical order and the use of a lexicon and a style appropriate to the discipline.

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 regular and active participation to the lectures.

In detail, oral examination tipically involves for attending students:

  • two questions on case studies about the reception of the historical experience of ancient Rome as a universal model (based on lecture notes, on slides projected in lectures and on articles indicated in point B of the program);
  • a discussion of the written essay or the review.

There will be three questions for not attending students too:

  • two questions on case studies about the reception of the historical experience of ancient Rome as a universal model (based on articles indicated in point B of the program);
  • a question on R. Hingley, Globalizing Roman culture. Unity, diversity and empire, London, Routledge, 2005.

Teaching tools

In lectures 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/). For the written essay or the review: bibliographic materials, mainly from the Library of the Department of Storia Culture Civiltà, via Zamboni 38, 2nd floor.

Office hours

See the website of Alessandro Cristofori