01009 - Roman History

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

After completing the course the student is able to analyze critically issues relating to the history and the institutions of the Roman world, considering historical and documentary sources, read in the original language. He has a good knowledge of the key issues, events, phenomena in the history of the Roman world. He is able to organize specific problems in a broader contexts and to evaluate the results on the basis of scientific criteria, he possesses a precise geographical and chronological framework, knows the main tools for research, in digital form too. He can read historiographical texts in at least one language besides Italian and is able to communicate orally using the proper terminology of the discipline.

Course contents

The course will include an introduction, in which we will focus on the object of Roman history and we will discuss the main methodological problems about the sources on this period. In the second part of the course, through the analysis of case studies, we will investigate some cross-cutting themes of Roman history, analyzing ancient documents and the historical debate on each of the subjects. Lectures will then cover the following issues:

  1. Introduction to the course (about 2 hours)
  2. The object of Roman history (about 7 hours)
    1. The limits of Roman history (about 2 hours)
    2. A brief history of Roman history studies (about 3 hours)
    3. Roman history today (about 2 hours)
  3. The evidence for reconstructing Roman history (about 13 hours)
    1. The common characters of the sources for Roman history (about 1 hour)
    2. Literary sources (about 3 hours)
    3. Epigraphic sources (about 3 hours)
    4. The evidence of papyri (about 2 hours)
    5. Numismatic sources (about 2 hours)
    6. The archaeological sources (about 2 hours)
  4. The debate on forms of government (about 7 hours)
    1. The theory of the mixed constitution in Polybius (about 5 hours)
    2. The theory of Cicero and the afterlife of the idea of a mixed constitution (about 2 hours)
  5. The role of family ties in roman politics (about 9 hours)
    1. The enhancement of family ties (about 3 hours)
    2. The exemplum of the ancestors (about 3 hours)
    3. Adoptions and marriages (about 1 hour)
    4. Politics in Rome: familism or ideology? (About 2 hours)
  6. The role of cities in roman history (about 9 hours)
    1. The city, base unit of the Roman world (about 3 hours)
    2. The different statutes of the cities in the Roman world (about 4 hours)
    3. Citizens, residents and foreigners (about 2 hours)
  7. The role of the army and the war (about 13 hours)
    1. The idea of the peasant soldier (about 2 hours)
    2. The reorganization of the army in the age of the Principate (about 4 hours)
    3. The composition of the armed forces of Rome (about 2 hours)
    4. The foreign policy of Augustus (about 3 hours)
    5. The internal tasks of the armed forces (about 2 hours)

The program will include the study, by the students, of the key events in roman history, from its origins to the fifth century AD, focusing on the evidence for the reconstruction of these events, too.

The program also includes further reading on the institutional aspects of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.

Readings/Bibliography

For attending students:
1. For the key events of  Roman history, from its origins to the fifth century AD:

  1. G. Geraci – A. Marcone, Storia romana, Firenze, Le Monnier, 2002 or later edition [available at the library of the Department of Storia Culture Civiltà – Sezione di Storia Antica, via Zamboni 38, 2nd floor, under the signature ESAMI CONS] or G. Geraci – A. Marcone, Storia romana. Editio maior, Firenze, Le Monnier Università – Mondadori Education, 2017 [at the same library, under the signature ESAMI CONS].
  2. G. Geraci – A. Marcone, Fonti per la storia romana, Firenze, Le Monnier, 2006 [a the same library, under the signature F. RACC 201].

2. For the institutional aspects of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire:
  1. C. Nicolet, Strutture dell'Italia romana (sec. III-I a.C.), Roma, Jouvence, 1984 or later edition [at the same library, under the signature CONS V Nico].
  2. One of the following volumes:
  • D.S. Potter (a cura di), A Companion to the Roman Empire, Malden, Blackwell Publishing, 2006, pp. 175-280 (Part III: Administration) [at the same library, under the signature SR I 118].
  • P. Le Roux, Le Haut-Empire romain en Occident d'Auguste aux Sévères, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, 1998, pp. 89-174 (cap. 3: L'empire monarchique ou le gouvernement du monde e cap. 4: Le centre conquérant: Rome et l'Italie) [at the same library, under the signature SR I 114].
  • K. Christ, Geschichte der römische Kaiserzeit, München, Beck, 2002, pp. 434-480 (Ziele und Mittel imperiales Politik) [at the same library, under the signature SR I 115].

3. For the topics discussed in class, attending students will count, as well as on personal notes, on the slides projected during the lessons, which will be published on the website of the course, on the platform Insegnamenti on line (https://iol.unibo.it/).

For non attending students:

1. For the key events of Roman history, from its origins to the fifth century AD:

  1. G. Geraci – A. Marcone, Storia romana. Editio maior, Firenze, Le Monnier Università – Mondadori Education, 2017 [available at the library of the Department of Storia Culture Civiltà – Sezione di Storia Antica, via Zamboni 38, 2nd floor, under the signature ESAMI CONS].
  2. G. Geraci – A. Marcone, Fonti per la storia romana, Firenze, Le Monnier, 2006 [at the same library, under the signature F. RACC 201].


2. For the institutional aspects of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire:

  1. C. Nicolet, Strutture dell'Italia romana (sec. III-I a.C.), Roma, Jouvence, 1984 or later edition [at the same library, under the signature CONS V Nico].
  2. One of the following volumes:
  • D.S. Potter (a cura di), A Companion to the Roman Empire, Malden, Blackwell Publishing, 2006, pp. 175-280 (Part III: Administration) [at the same library, under the signature SR I 118].
  • P. Le Roux, Le Haut-Empire romain en Occident d'Auguste aux Sévères, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, 1998, pp. 89-174 (cap. 3: L'empire monarchique ou le gouvernement du monde e cap. 4: Le centre conquérant: Rome et l'Italie) [at the same library, under the signature SR I 114].
  • K. Christ, Geschichte der römische Kaiserzeit, München, Beck, 2002, pp. 434-480 (Ziele und Mittel imperiales Politik) [at the same library, under the signature SR I 115].

Finally, I recommend the use of a good historical atlas, e.g. Atlante storico De Agostini, Novara, Istituto Geografico De Agostini, 2003 [available at the same library, under the signature CONS ATL 36].

Teaching methods

Introductory lectures on the object of Roman history and on the methodological problems of the sources for the reconstruction of this historical period; lectures on case studies regarding some cross-cutting themes of Roman history. During these lessons we will read several textual sources (in the original language, Greek or Latin, and in Italian translation) and we will examine the iconographic evidence too.

Assessment methods

The assessment, through an oral examination, will test:

  • a knowledge of key events of Roman history, from its origins to the fifth century AD;
  • a knowledge of the institutional aspects of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire;
  • a knowledge of some cross-cutting themes of Roman history, through the analysis of ancient documents and their modern interpretations;
  • an ability to communicate orally, in particular skills in synthesis and in logical organization of the topics and the mastery of an appropriate vocabulary.

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 five questions; for attending students:

  • a question on the key events of Roman history from its origins to the end of the Republic (on the basis of handbooks listed in section 1 of the recommended readings);
  • a question on the key events of Roman history from Augustus to the fifth century. A.D. (on the basis of handbooks listed in section 1 of the recommended readings);
  • a question on C. Nicolet, Strutture dell'Italia romana (sec. III-I a.C.), Roma, Jouvence, 1984, or later edition;
  • a question on D.S. Potter (a cura di), A Companion to the Roman Empire, Malden, Blackwell Publishing, 2006, pp. 175-280, or on P. Le Roux, Le Haut-Empire romain en Occident d'Auguste aux Sévères, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, 1998, pp. 89-174 or on K. Christ, Geschichte der römische Kaiserzeit, München, Beck, 2002, pp. 434-480;
  • a question about the topics discussed in class, on the basis of students notes and Power Point slides projected, available through the website of the course.

There will be five questions for not attending students, too:

  • one or two questions on the key events of Roman history from its origins to the end of the Republic (on the basis of handbooks listed in section 1 of the recommended readings);
  • one or two questions on the key events of Roman history from Augustus to the fifth century. A.D. (on the basis of handbooks listed in section 1 of the recommended readings);
  • a question on C. Nicolet, Strutture dell'Italia romana (sec. III-I a.C.), Roma, Jouvence, 1984, or later edition;
  • a question on D.S. Potter (a cura di), A Companion to the Roman Empire, Malden, Blackwell Publishing, 2006, pp. 175-280, or on P. Le Roux, Le Haut-Empire romain en Occident d'Auguste aux Sévères, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, 1998, pp. 89-174 or on K. Christ, Geschichte der römische Kaiserzeit, München, Beck, 2002, pp. 434-480.

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 at https://iol.unibo.it/); the slides will contain guidelines for each lesson, and especially texts and images that will be analyzed and commented in class.

Office hours

See the website of Alessandro Cristofori