Ancient History II


Course Objective

Acquiring a working knowledge of the history of Rome, Roman Italy, and
the Roman Empire.

Course Content

At the end of Ancient History 1, we have observed that by the turn of
the Common Era the Mediterranean had been united by Roman conquest. In
Ancient History 2, we first return to the origins of Rome as a major
city state in central Italy, initially ruled by kings, but a Republic
since the late sixth century BCE. We study the internal developments in
the Early Republic (fifth to third centuries BCE), especially the
so-called Struggle of the Orders (Patricians and Plebeians), resulting
in a compromise solution and a curious oligarchic constitutional system.
We’ll see how Rome, from the fourth century BCE onwards, first became
the ruling power of Italy, subsequently to conquer the Mediterranean in
a series of wars against Carthage and the kingdoms founded by the
Successors of Alexander the Great. We’ll also see that Roman expansion
had devastating effects on internal stability: in the first century BCE
the Republic crumbled in a series of civil wars, and by the turn of the
Common Era a monarchic system had been established. The holders of
monarchic power in this system are nowadays usually (at least in
English) labelled ‘emperors’ (from Latin imperator, meaning something
like ‘commander-in-chief’). The first and second centuries CE were for
the Roman Empire, now encompassing the Mediterranean and a considerable
part of north-western Europe, a period of stability guaranteed by
military superiority and accompanied by progressive integration of the
population of the provinces in the Roman citizenry. This stability was
shaken in the third century, when the Empire was confronted with a
severe crisis which, however, it survived, although not without
considerable adaptations in the administrative, military, and
ideological sphere. In Late Antiquity (from the fourth century onwards),
the Roman Empire in north-western Europe and the western Mediterranean
was superseded by Germanic kingdoms. In the Eastern Mediterranean,
however, it survived as what we call the Byzantine Empire. In addition
to the events and developments here sketched, we’ll also go into more
structural aspects of Roman history: social relations, economic
developments, class conflict, political institutions, law, warfare, and
last but not least changes in the religious sphere. The dominant
position of Christianity in European history is, after all, a legacy of
the Roman Empire.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, group tutorials.

Method of Assessment

Written examination (75%), assignments (25%).


L. de Blois, R.J. van der Spek, An Introduction to the Ancient World.
Second edition, London & New York 2008.

Target Audience

Obligatory for first year students of History. Recommended for other
students with a serious interest in ancient history.

Additional Information

This course is part of the regular first year bachelor program. Lectures
are in English, group tutorials either in English or in Dutch (at least
one group).

General Information

Course Code L_GOBAGES103
Credits 3 EC
Period P2
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. J.J. Flinterman
Examiner dr. J.J. Flinterman
Teaching Staff dr. J.J. Flinterman
dr. N.F.F. Karrouche

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: