David K. Coblentz
Introduction to the discipline of history for new or prospective majors. Emphasizes the basic skills of reading, analysis, and communication (both verbal and written) that are central to the historian's craft. Each seminar discusses a different subject or problem.
Few things have ever changed the face of the Mediterranean world more dramatically and permanently than the first two Punic Wars. These epic conflicts, which raged from North Africa to France and from the Straits of Gibraltar to Macedonia over a period of sixty years, permanently altered the balance of power in the Mediterranean and transformed the Roman Republic from a regional power into the dominant force in the ancient world. This period contains famous statesmen and generals, sea disasters that dwarf the greatest modern catastrophes, enormous social and political change across two continents, and daring tales of adventure that sit with the best history has to offer in any era.
In this course, we will explore the political and military history of Rome’s long struggle with Carthage and discuss the impact of the Punic Wars on Roman society.
Student learning goals
In addition to gaining an appreciation of the scope of the Punic Wars and the long shadow they cast over subsequent history, students will explore the difficulties in using primary source material from the ancient world, improve their writing skills, and gain an understanding of Mediterranean geography.
General method of instruction
The course will meet once a week for two hours. Classes will consist primarily of discussion of the assigned readings, though they will usually begin with lecture-style overviews to introduce background information useful for interpreting/understanding the texts.
Some introductory knowledge of Roman history is recommended but not required.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments will consist of three papers each approximately five pages in length and periodic geography quizzes. As classroom discussion will be a large part of this course, regular participation is vital. There will be no exams.