HIST 312 The Fall of the Roman Republic

Spring, Fall

Major Requirement: History of Europe, Period prior to 1500
Rome’s transition from Republic to Empire, when power shifted from the Senate and People to a single emperor, is one of the most wellknown periods of Roman history, involving a number of famous characters: Julius Caesar, Cicero, Pompey, and Augustus. In this course, we will investigate the nature and causes of the fall of the Roman Republic. What was the Republic, and why did it end? How did Rome come to be ruled by emperors? Focusing especially on the last century BC, we will examine Roman politics and society to find answers to a question that has perplexed some of the greatest thinkers of the last two millennia: How does a proud and powerful republic fall into one-man rule? In the process, we will problematize the study of the “fall,” considering questions such as the following: Was the Roman Republic really so different from the Empire? What are the continuities between these two eras, and where does the break really occur? (Course offered in alternate years.)

Prerequisite: Sophomore Status