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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alain M. Gowing
Seattle Campus

The Age of Augustus

Detailed study of the history and culture of the reign of Augustus, the first Roman emperor (31 BC-AD 14). Includes readings in Augustan authors such as Vergil, Ovid, and Horace as well as the study of Augustan art and architecture. Offered: jointly with CLAS 330.

Class description

This course will examine all aspects of the Age of Augustus (31 BC - AD 14), a period of profound political and cultural change that permanently altered the course of Roman history.  The history, politics, literature, art, architecture, and religion of the period will all come under scrutiny as we investigate the various ways in which Rome's first emperor sought to repair and redirect a society fragmented by years of civil war -- and the various ways in which the citizens of Rome reacted to the Augustan reforms.  The readings will be drawn largely from primary texts, including Augustus' own account of his rule (the Res Gestae); selections from the works of Vergil, Ovid, Horace, and other Augustan writers; Suetonius' Life of Augustus; and numerous inscriptions illustrating various aspects of life in Rome as well as in the provinces.

A previous syllabus used the last time this class was taught (Winter Quarter 2002) may be viewed at

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture; discussion

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Midterm Examination and Final Examination. Both exams will consist of short answer and brief essay questions.  While the final exam will focus principally on material covered in the second half of the course, familiarity with the issues covered in the first half will be assumed. In addition, students will write two 3-5 page papers in the course of the quarter. These are not traditional research papers. Rather, the principal aim of each paper is to have the student compose something (for example, a letter, fragment of a history, etc.) addressing a particular topic from the perspective of a person living in the Augustan period. You may opt to to extra writing in order to earn W credit for this class.

Performance on exams and papers.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Alain M. Gowing
Date: 05/02/2011