Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quizzes for Week 2

Dear Roman Readers,

I'm pleased to announce that our quiz module is finally ready to go.

By Friday, January 30, 11:00 p.m. (that is, tomorrow night), please take the following quizzes:
  • Quiz 0: Configuring your browser (optional); and
  • Quiz 1: Basic Roman topography (17 points, 3 min.).
For both quizzes you will see a confirmation of your results, and receive a follow-up to your Skidmore email.

Good luck, and please let me know if you have any questions.


Assignment for Friday, 01-30-15

Dear Roman Readers,

For Friday, January 30, please do the following:

(1) Download, print, and read "The City and the Gods," chapter 13 of John Stambaugh's book, The Ancient Roman City. Stambaugh discusses the fundamentals of Roman public religion and its physical connection with civic space.

(2) Read the following sections of the Blue Guide:
  • Historical sketch, pp. 10–13 (The early Republic, Imperial expansion, Civil war);
  • The Temple of Jupiter, p. 45 (item 14 on the Capitoline Museums itinerary); and
  • The Temples of Portunus and Hercules Victor, p. 239.
We'll synthesize all of this on Friday with a discussion of what became known in Christian Rome as pagan religion, including a look at the Roman pantheon.

Stay tuned for the posting about Friday's quizzes.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Assignment for Wednesday, 01-28-15

Dear Roman Readers,

For Wednesday, January 28, please do the following:

(1) Read the initial page of our Quizzes module, which describes the policies and procedures for our online quizzes. Note any questions you want to ask next class.

(2) Download, print, and read the factsheet on Propertius, our next Roman author.

(3) Download, print, and read Propertius' poem about Tarpeia and the Tarpeian rock. You'll remember Tarpeia from our initial Livy readings. Propertius gives an erotic dimension to her character, and you should consider what, if anything, this dimension adds to her legend.

(4) Download, print, and read this second round of selections from Livy's History of Rome from its Foundation.

We'll read the following excerpts:
  • The death of king Servius Tullius due to the treachery of his daughter, Tullia the Younger. (The woman Tullia is jealous of, Tanaquil, was the wife of the preceding king, Tarquinius Priscus.)
  • The rise of Tullia's husband, Tarquinius Superbus, the last Roman king.
  • The rape of Lucretia by Sextus Tarquinius, the son of Superbus.
As before, these stories should probably come with a trigger warning.

Class discussion will be led by our capable Peer Mentor, Sarah.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Assignment for Monday, 01-26-15

Dear Roman Readers,

For Monday, January 26, please do the following:

(1) Get acquainted with the online interactive topography guide. Click every number on the map and read every narrative. Try to memorize the names of all seventeen features in preparation for our quizzes next week.

(2) Read, in the Blue Guide's Historical Sketch, the section entitled "Origins of the City" (pp. 9–10). Also have a look at the list of Rome's seven Kings in the Rulers of Ancient Rome section (p. 595). (Or look them up online if you don't yet have the Guide.)

(3) Download, print, and read the factsheet on Livy, our first Roman author.

(4) Download, print, and read these selections from Livy's History of Rome from its Foundation.

Some notes on Livy, beyond  the factsheet. We'll read the following excerpts:
  • Livy's Preface, in which he lays out his task.
  • The legend of Romulus and Remus. (We pick up after the arrival of the Trojan hero, Aeneas, in Italy, and the reign of his son, Ascanius. What's essential in the first paragraph of page 37 is the trouble between the brothers Numitor and Amulius.)
  • The rape of the Sabine women.
  • The treachery of the Vestal Virgin, Tarpeia, when the Sabine men retaliate.
Some of these stories are rather unpleasant, especially in their attitudes toward women, so they should probably come with a trigger warning.

Those of you new to Rome or historical writing or both, do not obsess over every detail. We're not using Livy for historical "truth" so much as a recorder of Roman memories and the ideologies behind those memories. The excerpts are brief, so you should have time to read them deeply. Note any questions along the way, and come prepared for discussion on Monday.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Assignment for Friday, 01-23-15

Dear Roman Readers,

For Friday, January 23, please do the following:

(1) Download, print out, and read "City Imaginaries" by Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson, the lead essay from their edited volume, A Companion to the City (Blackwell 2000). The authors lay out some theoretical approaches to the urban experience that will inform our study of Rome, and we'll be returning to them again and again this spring. Don't get hung up on references to every last theorist, but follow the main threads. Please note any questions and come prepared to discuss the essay.

(2) Read the first page-and-a-half of the Blue Guide's introductory "Historical Sketch" (pp. 8–9). As you proceed, and see if you can determine where on Bridge and Watson's city spectrum the Guide is situating itself.


Sunday, January 18, 2015


Dear Roman Readers,

Welcome to the blog for CC 265: Reading Rome!  Here we'll post assignments and notices, as well as other ephemera pertaining to the study of the Eternal City.

With each posting, you'll get an email alerting you to the new content.  The message will contain the entire post, so you'll have the option of reading it on email or navigating over to the blog.  Similarly, if you'd like to reply to a post, you can either use the "Comments" feature on the blog, or you can reply to the email message you received.  Either way, everyone in the class will be able to read your response.

None of this is meant to substitute for in-class interaction.  However, since our sessions together will go by quickly, we hope the blog will save us precious minutes here and there.