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Updated 1/14/2011


Lecture 1: HOW AND WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE ROMANS

I. Some modern perspectives

A. Rome and America; Pax Romana and Pax Americana; some other identifications America/Rome:
            Founders' (e.g. Jefferson) admiration of Roman Republic (509-31 B.C.) vs. decadent Empire (31 B.C. - A.D. 476)
            Constitution: checks and balances, veto
            arena spectacles; Colosseum (note spelling)
B. Differences: mos maiorum [mores of the majors, i.e. elders) vs. progress; life expectancy; technology; long-term vs. short-term perspectives
C. The Romantic view: creative Greeks and Roman "imitators"; Greek and Roman temples
D. The Romans as Stoics and decadents
E. Rome as a melting pot; ecumenical [from oikumene]; peculium - peculiar
F. Antiquity as inspiration: classicizing architecture, e.g. Disney HQ
II. The tasks of the historian
A. Documentation; modern vs. ancient
B. Interpretation; revisionism (cf. historians on U.S. Presidents)
III. Sources and evidence
A. Literary: Greek and Roman historians, e.g. Plutarch (c. A.D. 50-120); his sources:

1. Official documents, e.g. Annales Maximi ["Greatest Annals"; from annus = year; cf. annual]; Gallic sack of Rome (390 B.C.)
2. Family archives and historians; their biases
3. Early Greek and Roman historians; their limitations
B. Auxiliary disciplines

1. Archaeology; UT's excavations at Metaponto (southern Italy), Crimea (Ukraine), and Pylos (Greece); Institute of Nautical Archaeology at A&M
2. Inscriptions (epigraphy); lapidary
3. Coins (numismatics): EID MAR = Ides of March; but who looks at coins and bills: Annuit Coeptis, Novus Ordo Seclorum

IV. Conclusion: how to use and interpret this evidence; cultural history vs. political and institutional history

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1//14/MMXI