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HIST 222: Fall of the Roman Republic

Term: Fall

Credits: 4

Degree Requirements: F3

Major Requirements: History of Europe, Period prior to 1500

Rome's transition from Republic to Empire, when power shifted from the Senate and People to asingle emperor, is one of the most well-known periods of Roman history, involving a number offamous characters: Julius Caesar, Cicero, Pompey, Antony, and Augustus. In this course, we willinvestigate the nature and causes of the fall of the Roman Republic. What was the Republic, andwhy did it end? How did Rome come to be ruled by emperors? Focusing especially on the lastcentury BC, we will examine Roman politics and society to find answers to a question that hasperplexed some of the greatest thinkers of the last two millennia: How does a proud andpowerful republic slip into one-man rule?In the process, we will problematize the study of the "fall", considering questions such as thefollowing: Was the Roman Republic really so different from the Empire? What are thecontinuities between these two eras, and where does the break really occur? In our study of theRepublic, how does our knowledge of what happens next - the Empire - enhance and distort ourunderstanding of late republican events?

Prerequisites: none.