HIA 321    WILSON    SPRING 2011


HIA 321: History of Ancient Rome

XM81 / 2696                            Office Hours
M 6:008:40 p.m.                    M, W 12:301:30 p.m.
Room CA 212                           Room CA 293

Course Description: 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.

In this course well be pursuing a number of goals, including:

– Exploration of the emergence of Roman civilization and its implications for humanity;

– Relation of the cultures and beliefs of other ancient Mediterranean societies to those of Rome;

– Exploration of the transformation of Roman social, military, religious, and other norms from the emergence of Rome as a city-state to its dominion of the Mediterranean world;

– Discussion of the relationship between the ideals of Roman tradition and the modern Western ethos; and

– Development of the skills associated with the study of history, including the interpretation of primary sources and other evidence.



Mark B. Wilson

Office:      Room CA-293
Phone:     (718) 960-8522
               (during office hours only)

History Department

Office:      CA-202C
Phone:     (718) 960-8288
Mailbox:   I have a mailbox in the History Department that
               you can use to drop off assignments.

Please use me as a resource. Come to my office hours, talk to me after class, or send me emails with any questions you havewhether they relate to the requirements of the course or ideas were reading about or discussing in class.

You may email me your written assignments, but it doesnt count unless you get an email back from me saying I received it. Unless I reply back to you, I didnt receive it. If theres any question about whether Im receiving your emails, please talk to me about it in class.


The following textbook and reader are required for this course.

Nagle, D. Brendan.
Ancient Rome: A History. (1st ed.).
Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y.: Sloan Publishing, 2010.

ISBN: 978-1-59738-021-8

Course Reader:
De Roma: Excerpts from Ancient Writers About Rome.


– The textbook available from Lehman College Bookstore, either on person or via their website:

– It is also available from Amazon and other online retailersuse the ISBNs to search. Also available from the publishers web sites. If you order online, make sure you do so enough in advance that youll receive the books in time for the assignments.

– For links to purchase online, go to



– Photocopies of the Course Reader will be provided during the first class meeting.

– A PDF version will also be posted online at the course websitego to



Dont waste this opportunity! Make the most out of this class.

– Be on time and prepared. By prepared, I mean you should come into class having done the readings for that day and thought about them. Come in ready to talk about your reactions to the readings and the questions they raised in your mind.

– Class attendance is required (and extremely important). Missing classes will damage your grade. The textbook is designed to just give you the basics; its in class that we try to make sense of things and sift out whats important. Missing classes means you miss out on a key part of our trying to put things together. Plus, if you miss classes, youll miss quizzes, which will put a big crimp in your grade for the course. Religious observances that affect your class attendance should be discussed with me in advance.

– Cell phones and electronics need to be silenced and stowed. A phone ringing during class is hugely disruptive. Texting during class is just as rude and insulting as talking on the phone.

– 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 youre still better off turning in your paper late, and having it be marked down, than not turning it in at all, and getting a zero.

– Make-up exams are given only in cases of documented medical emergencies.

– Check your email. Make sure I have a good email address for you and check it, as I occasionally send information and updates by email. If you have not gotten an email from me within the first week after school begins, check your spam folders. If you cant find an email from me, email me to let me know.

– Plagiarism will result in a zero. CUNY, like all academic institutions, does not tolerate academic dishonesty. Single instances of plagiarism will yield a zero for the assignment. Multiple instances will result in a zero for the course and disciplinary action from the College. (See below.)

– Talk to me if youre struggling. Come to me in office hours or after class, and the sooner the better. Dont wait until its too late to turn things around.

Academic Dishonesty

Lehman College is committed to the highest standards of academic honesty. Acts of academic dishonesty includebut are not limited toplagiarism (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. For more:

Center for Student Disability Services

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; their phone number is 718-960-8441.


Your course grade will be based on the following:



Well 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.

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

– 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.


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

Youll make two short presentations on a primary source excerpt from the Reader: one during the first half of the course, and another one 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 23 page write-up of your take on the reading is due the following class.


Position Paper

Youll 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.

– Well talk about whats expected, and Ill have handouts with the specific assignments.

– 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.

– You can submit a draft of the paper to me up to a week before its due; Ill give general feedback (but not a grade). Because I accept drafts, I do not allow students to submit revised versions of their final paper after the final due date.


Final Exam

I do not grade on a curve. Individual extra credit will not be offered; any extra credit opportunities will be offered to the whole class.