Ancient Mediterranean

History 180: Cities and Empires

This course introduces the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean - the vast, culturally diverse regions that have deeply influenced the modern world. The course begins by exploring the agricultural and urban revolutions - and the forms of kingship and divinity - that evolved in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It then looks to the globalization of the Bronze Age, to new interactions between "East" and "West," and to the concepts of citizenship, polis-structure, and Hellenic identity that developed in the Greek-speaking world. From there, it analyzes the conquests of Alexander the Great as forging a new internationalism - the Hellenistic - with transformed approaches to political power, urbanism, and identity. The focus then shifts, to Rome's meteoric rise to empire and position as arbiter of pan-Mediterranean citizenship - a citizenship ultimately defined in Christian terms. From about 3000 BCE to the fifth century CE, this course is therefore an investigation into grand-narrative processes and interpretations of continuity, change, and power. It also introduces the various forms of evidence encountered by historians of the ancient world, from literary to epigraphic and archaeological.

Prof. Davies, 3 credits, MTuTh 9:00-9:50

-Open to first-year students.


History 315: Carthage and Rome

This course explores the epic rivalry and long history of interaction between the ancient cities of Carthage and Rome, from earliest beginnings to the Punic Wars, and from imperial age through late antiquity. There was - and is - an abiding sense that the collision course between Carthage and Rome largely determined the trajectory of the western Mediterranean world. However, there is much more to the story than mere animosity, and to better grasp the complexities of exchange, this course will investigate the development of Carthage (the defeated) in negotiation, discord, and assimilation with that of Rome (the victor). Class discussions will focus on the interplay between ancient texts and archaeological evidence, and on ancient and modern views regarding Carthaginian and Roman cultures.

Prof. Davies, 4 credits, TuTh 2:30-3:50

-Counts toward the Department's Comparisons and Encounters Requirement