COR 046H: Ancient Rome in Film, Fiction, Fact

Syllabus, Fall 1998
Barbara F. McManus

Roman woman

DESCRIPTION: Ancient Rome has captured the imaginations of playwrights, novelists, and film directors from George Bernard Shaw to Stanley Kubrick. In this course we will develop a picture of Rome from the fall of the Republic through the beginnings of the Empire, perhaps the most exciting and certainly the most frequently dramatized period of Roman history. We will compare the popular view of Rome, derived from novels, plays, and films, with the facts as established by modern scholarship (history and archaeology). With the help of readings, varied internet resources, and videos, we will learn how the Romans lived, dressed, loved, fought, governed, and entertained themselves; we will get to know fascinating figures like Julius Caesar, Augustus, and Caligula. In exploring a culture which was in many ways similar to our own, we will also learn something about ourselves and about the complex relationship between fiction and fact. In the course of our journey back in time, we will also acquire important technological skills, including web authoring and MOOing.


Skills: Students will be able to

Content: Students will demonstrate


Required Texts (listed in order of use in the course):

Audio-visual Materials:

General Internet Links:


Class periods: The class will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 2-3:15 in the Computer Classroom (CC 136). This will be our time for lecture and discussion, using electronic resources, primarily on the web (including those prepared by the instructor). Class periods will occasionally also be used to introduce computer skills or to carry out activities on the VRoma MOO.

Lab sessions: These will be held every Tuesday from 3:30-5:00 in the Computer Classroom (CC 136). This will be our time to learn and practice computer skills while working on collaborative course projects.

Feature films: The two required feature-length films (both at least 3 hours long) will be scheduled outside of class hours. The departmental copy of the videotape will be available on campus for students who cannot attend at the scheduled time, or students can easily rent copies of these films for viewing at home.


Every student in this class must have an e-mail account; please apply immediately for a CNR account. Expect to dedicate at least one floppy disk (probably more) exclusively to this course.

Attendance: Regular attendance in this course is particularly crucial because of the nature of the material. Since students are responsible for attending all classes, they will lose three points from the class participation portion of the grade for each absence above four whether excused or unexcused. No unexcused absences from lab sessions will be permitted. (Please note that I will not give any "Incompletes" at the end of this course unless the student has a very serious reason which she has discussed with me in advance).

Completion of all assigned readings; viewing of all films and videotapes; participation in class discussions; completion of all assigned computer activities. Further details regarding assignments and grading will be posted on the web syllabus.

Final Examination and Sample Student Web Pages

OFFICE HOURS: Castle 315 (extension 5399)

September, 1998
Ancient Rome Course Page
Barbara McManus Home Page

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