10473 Rome: Imperialism and Empire

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Ancient History

Prerequisites: none

Recommended: Classical Greece

The course is based on A History of the Roman Republic, by Israel Shatzman (Jerusalem, Magnes Press, 1989, in Hebrew), and on a course book by Israel Shatzman and Rachel Zelnick.

The process by which Rome evolved from a city-state to a superpower and the manner in which it ruled its empire is considered a classic model of imperialism. The course examines this process from its origins through the 2nd century CE. It covers the political, social and economic factors that characterized Roman imperialism; Rome’s political government and the changes it underwent following its emergence as an empire; the organizational, administrative and control methods applied by the Roman empire at the height of its power; relations between rulers and subjects and the involvement of the latter in managing the empire; approaches to and definitions of imperialism as a phenomenon.

The course provides students with methods for analyzing historic phenomena, as well as providing important background to courses dealing with the history of the Jewish people during the Second Temple period.

Topics: Imperialism – definitions and approaches; Rome and Italy; The Punic wars and conquest of the Western Mediterranean; Rome and the Hellenistic east; Roman government in the 2nd century; Roman army and population; The Roman revolution – from the Gracchi to Sulla; Pompeius and Caesar; The fall of the Republic; Augustus and the principate; The phenomenon of Roman imperialism; Romanization and the rise of the provinces; The Roman Empire in literature and philosophy.