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Syllabus HIA 321

“Can any one be so indifferent or idle as not to care to know by what means, and under what kind of government, almost the whole inhabited world was conquered and brought under the dominion of the single city of Rome?” — POLYBIUS

Course Info
HIA 321, section 81W
Spring 2015
Room CA-212
Thursdays 6:00 – 8:40 p.m.
Mark Wilson
(718) 960-8288
     Office Hours
Room CA-292
Tuesdays and Thursdays
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Drop-in Thursdays 12–6 p.m.


The colossal achievement of the Romans—a single city indelibly suffusing its unique sensibility through the entire ancient Mediterranean world—is only part of the Roman story. The people of Rome gained economic, political, military, and cultural dominance over the ancient West and laid the foundations for the medieval and modern worlds through a fascinating mixture of synthesis and adaptation, on the one hand, and unshakable faith in the Roman identity, on the other. How the Romans acquired an empire, and how that empire constantly reshaped Roman society, tells us not only about the Western civilization that descended from them, but about the dynamics of society, empire, and power.


Foundation and development of the Roman state, including the rise and decline of the Roman Republic and the establishment and fall of the Empire, with emphasis on its political, economic, social, and cultural achievements.

Specific Learning Objectives

In this course we’ll be pursuing a number of goals, including:

Course Readings

The following two books are required:

Allen M. Ward, Fritz Heichelheim, & Cedric Yeo.
A History of the Roman People, 6th edition.
Pearson, 2014.
ISBN: 978-0-205-84679-5.

Make sure you get the right edition, especially if you’re buying a used copy. The sixth edition is new and the page numbers may not match up with earlier editions.

De Roma: Excerpts from Ancient Writers About Rome, 2nd edition.
CreateSpace, 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-481-90543-5.

If you prefer, an online version is available on the course website.

Both are available from Lehman College Bookstore, either in person or online. (The website URL for the bookstore is http://www.lehmancollege.bkstr.com.) They are also available from Amazon and other online retailers. (There are links on my website.) If you order online, make sure you do so enough in advance that you’ll receive the books in time for the assignments.


Submitting Assignments

You may email me your written assignments, but it doesn’t “count” unless you get an email back from me saying I received it. Unless I reply back to you, I didn’t receive it. If there’s any question about whether I’m receiving your emails, please talk to me about it in class. I will accept only the following file formats: DOCX, DOC, RTF, ODT, and PDF.

Late assignments will be marked down. Written assignments will be marked down one letter grade per class meeting after the assignment due date, up to a maximum of 30 points. That means you’re still better off turning in your paper late, and having it be marked down, than not turning it in at all.


Your grade for the course will be determined from the following:

  1. Quizzes — 15%
  2. Presentation and Write-Up on a Primary Source (2) — 20%
  3. Representations and Images Essay — 10%
  4. Position Paper — 25%
  5. Final Exam — 30%

I do not give extra credit opportunities except to the entire class. I do not grade on a curve. I do not give incompletes unless we’ve discussed and agreed on the grounds for giving one prior to the final exam.


We’ll have very short quizzes at the start of most class meetings, to help gauge our relationship with the material in the readings.

Quizzes are based on the readings for that class in both the textbook and the additional readings. If you did your reading for the class, you should be prepared for the quiz. Quizzes are always based on the readings listed on the assignment sheet, even if I am slightly behind the syllabus in the topics I discuss in class. Make sure you do the assigned readings.

Missed quizzes are not made up. If you come late to class and miss a quiz, you’ll get a zero for that quiz. Therefore, please make sure you come to class on time and prepared.

Presentation and Write-Up on a Primary Source (2)

You’ll make two short presentations on a primary source excerpt from the Reader: one during the first half of the course, and another during the second half. Your presentation will give the class your perspective on what this reading means and how it relates to the material being discussed in the course.

Your presentation will be given the day that that reading is assigned on the schedule.

A 2–3 page write-up of your take on the reading is due the following class.

Representations and Images Essay

You’ll take in your choice of various nonwritten artistic depictions of ancient Rome, including sculpture, painting, performance, or film, and relate them with primary sources in order to compare the history of Rome with how it has been represented. We’ll talk about what’s expected, and I’ll have a handout with the specific assignment.

Position Paper

You’ll write an essay discussing a turning point in Roman history of your choice, examining the source material, causes, and effects of the event or transformation and drawing your own conclusions about its meaning.

We’ll talk about what’s expected, and I’ll have a handout with the specific assignment. Your essay will be based on your assessment of the reading and its context in the society that produced it, both of which will be discussed thoroughly in class.

I’ll ask you to submit a proposal for the paper partway through the semester, so I can give you feedback on what you’re planning to write about.

You can submit a draft of the paper up to two weeks before it’s due; I’ll give general feedback (but not a grade). Because I accept drafts, I do not allow students to submit revised versions of their paper after the final due date.


Academic Policies

Academic Integrity

Lehman College is committed to the highest standards of academic honesty. Acts of academic dishonesty include—but are not limited to—plagiarism (in drafts, outlines, and examinations, as well as final papers), cheating, bribery, academic fraud, sabotage of research materials, the sale of academic papers, and the falsification of records. An individual who engages in these or related activities or who knowingly aids another who engages in them is acting in an academically dishonest manner and will be subject to disciplinary action.

Plagiarism includes the incorporation of any material that is not original with you without attribution, whether from a book, article, web site, or fellow student, in any paper or assignment. Assignments that include any plagiarism will receive a zero and the offending student will be subject to additional action by the College. Students engaging in repeated instances of plagiarism will fail the course outright and will be remanded to the College for disciplinary action.

For more information, visit: http://www.lehman.edu/undergraduate-bulletin/academicintegrity.htm

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Lehman College is committed to providing access to all programs and curricula to all students. Students with disabilities who may need classroom accommodations are encouraged to register with the Office of Student Disability Services. For more information, please contact the Office of Student Disability Services, Shuster Hall, Room 238; phone number: (718) 960-8441.