Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alain M. Gowing
CLAS 330
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 HSTAM 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 2010) may be viewed at

Student learning goals

To acquire sound familiarity with the basic sources for and chief issues associated with this historical period

To think critically about 'history' -- what 'history' is, how it is investigated, the limits of historical knowledge, the nature and breadth of historical evidence

To think comparatively in terms of disciplines: this course inherently and deliberately overlaps between 'history' and 'classics' and seeks to unite the methodologies associated with these two related but in some ways distinct fields.

General method of instruction

Lecture, but with ample opportunity for question and discussion

Recommended preparation


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.

This course may be taken for W credit -- this entails writing an additional short paper, or substituting a longer, traditional research paper for three shorter papers.

Demonstrating familiarity with material via examination; timely completion of assigned papers, which are evaluated for content as well as for writing.

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: 08/15/2011