History 204: Introduction

Ancient Rome, Winter 2020-21

Introduction to the Course

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4


G.I.F. Tingay & J. Badcock, These Were the Romans, 2nd Edition (referred to on the syllabus as T&B; available in the bookstore)

Photocopied readings that I will give you. Some will be loose copies, passed out individually, some will be in a bound reader

A three ring binder for notes, handouts, quizzes and test. Please save all the quizzes after I give them back to you.

A good source for maps: http://explorethemed.com/Default.asp. Especially the interactive maps. At verious points in the term you will also be reading about geography of Rome at this Vox site: 40 Maps that Explain the Roman Empire.

THEMES. The course is divided into four units, each with a separate theme:

1. Founding, development of republican government, rise to dominance in the Mediterranean.

2. Impact of military power on republican government, collapse of the republic and its replacement with an imperial system.

3. Roman culture.

4. The decline of the Roman Empire.

5. Geography. Most Americans are pretty ignorant about geography. In 2002 only 17% of young Americans could find Afghanistan on a map. Meanwhile, other young Americans were fighting a war there. If you pass this course, you will know the geography of ancient Rome.

ASSIGNMENTS: Papers, quizzes (including map quizzes), in-class essays, debates, etc.

NOTES/QUIZZES: Read about note-taking on the Course Requirements page. As you do the reading each night, take about a page or two of notes. As you read, pay attention to when and where things are happening. Answering the When? question is of course particularly important in history. You need to know the sequence of events to make sense of them and your papers will need to take account of chronology. You should also know where things were happening and the general layout of the Mediterranean world. These notes will help you to do well on quizzes and papers.

Also, make notes on questions, key terms, historical figures, concepts, and new vocabulary. Draw mental maps in your notes.

When taking quizzes, you may look at your notes, but not the readings. Map quizzes must be done without notes.

For all other information on the course, read Course Requirements. The first quiz might include a question about the course requirements.


You will notice in the navigation bar to the left that there are a number of pages offering guidance for students in my courses. The Paper Writing Guide is particularly helpful; it goes over what I consider to be the fundamentals of writing a history paper. Everyone should read the History Department statement on plagiarism on the Writing History page.


Engineering An Empire. Available from the library website.

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4