Course Syllabus


Classics 330/HSTAM 330: The Age of Augustus

Autumn Quarter 2020 -- MTWThF 8:30-9:20 AM -- TAUGHT REMOTELY

5 credits ** satisfies VLPA/I&S  ** Optional W class (see below)


IMPORTANT NOTICE (7/1/2020): In accordance with guidelines from University administration, this class will be taught remotely (that is, no in person class meetings).  I will record (on Panopto) and post the lectures to Canvas -- there will be no live class meetings; tests and papers will be administered entirely via Canvas as well.  Office hours will be by Zoom.

Professor A. M. Gowing
Office: Denny M262C
Phone: 543-2266 (Dept. of Classics)

Autumn Quarter Office hours (by Zoom):

Mondays 11 AM -12 PM (PT), Wednesdays 11 AM-12 PM (PT); Thursday conference (see below); and by appointment

Use THIS LINK to reach me by Zoom during my M and W office hours; email me if you need to make a different appointment.  Please use the separate Zoom link if you wish to meet during our Thursday conference.

Description: This course will examine all aspects of the Age of Augustus (31 BC - AD 14), a period of profound political and cultural change that permanently altered the course of Roman history. The history, politics, literature, art, architecture, and religion of the period will all come under scrutiny as we investigate the various ways in which Rome's first emperor sought to repair and redirect a society fragmented by years of civil war -- and the various ways in which the citizens of Rome reacted to the Augustan reforms. The readings will be drawn largely from primary texts, including Augustus' own account of his rule (the Res Gestae); selections from the works of Vergil, Ovid, Horace, and other Augustan writers; Suetonius' Life of Augustus; and numerous inscriptions illustrating various aspects of life in Rome as well as in the provinces.

Course goals: At the conclusion of this class students will have:

  • learned to think critically and knowledgeably about an important period in Roman history specifically and western civilization generally
  • acquired the skill to evaluate and analyze a wide variety of historical evidence relevant to the period, from inscriptions to coins to literary texts and material remains
  • imaginatively re-created in writing a piece of 'lost' historical evidence
  • learned to think critically about and acquired an appreciation for the impressive literary and artistic legacy of the Augustan period.

Required texts:

  • Coursepack with readings from K. Chisholm and J. Ferguson, edd. Rome. The Augustan Age. Oxford 1981. This will be available at Univ. Bookstore with other texts.   

NOTE: Even though I strongly encourage you to obtain a hardcopy of the coursepack if at all possible, I am providing scanned pdfs of it HERE.

  •  A.H.M. Jones. Augustus. New York and London 1970.
  • P. Zanker. The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus. Alan Shapiro, trans. Michigan 1988.
  • A. Wallace-Hadrill. Augustan Rome. Bristol Classical Press 2018 (2nd edition).  

Requirements: 1) Regular class attendance is strongly urged (5%)

            2) Midterm (25%) and Final Examination (30%) Both exams will consist of short answer and brief essay questions. While the final exam will focus principally on material covered in the second half of the course, familiarity with the issues covered in the first half will be assumed.  Details on both will be made available as the quarter progresses, but: PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING: Both exams will be administered through Canvas; both will be made available very early on the day shown on the schedule and must be completed within the period of time allotted (at least a couple of days) unless otherwise noted; both are generously timed -- but once begun they must be completed within the time allotted; for both exams you will be allowed to use notes and your texts.

            3) Two 3-5 page papers (40%, 20% each).  Information including instructions, grading criteria, and suggested topics for each paper will be posted to Canvas early in the quarter. The principal aim of each paper is to have you compose something (for example, a letter, fragment of a history, etc.) addressing a particular topic from the perspective of a person living in the Augustan period. Unless previously cleared with me, late papers will be penalized.

Thursday Conference: Unless you are otherwise notified, there will be no lecture posted on Thursdays, but I will be available via Zoom during our regular class period (8:30-9:20 AM) for individual conferences. 

Optional W-Course: You may elect to take this as a W-Course. This will entail EITHER writing an additional paper along the lines of the required two (this 3rd paper will be due on or before the day of the final exam) OR if you prefer, you may elect -- in lieu of 3 shorter papers -- to write a 12-15 page research paper on a topic of your choice and approved by me (you should let me know of your wish to do this by Friday, October 23). A draft of this will be due in Week 8; the final draft is due at the next-to-last class meeting.  

Important UW policy-related things to know:

  • The UW's Religious Accommodations Policy: “Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (Links to an external site.). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (Links to an external site.).”
  • The UW's Student Conduct Code: "The University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-121) defines prohibited academic and behavioral conduct and describes how the University holds students accountable as they pursue their academic goals. Allegations of misconduct by students may be referred to the appropriate campus office for investigation and resolution. More information can be found online at" (Links to an external site.)
  • Access and Accommodation: Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

    If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or  (Links to an external site.)DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS.  It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

  • Academic Integrity: University of Washington students are expected to practice high standards of academic and professional honesty and integrity as outlined here: (Links to an external site.)

Schedule of readings and lectures:

NOTE: Links to any document or PowerPoint I use in lecture will be posted below each week as they become relevant.  They will also be collected in a  single page entitled 'Overheads and PowerPoint Presentations'  (in Pages).

Abbreviations: C&F=Chisholm & Ferguson, the coursepack; Jones=Jones Augustus; WH=Wallace-Hadrill Augustan Rome; Zanker=Zanker Power of Images

☞ For those of you who wish to explore more about Augustus, here's a very brief bibliography.

Part I.  History and Politics

Week 1

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 1 may be found HERE)

Sept. 30: Introduction

Oct. 1: The breakdown of the Republic.  Jones Chap. 1; C&F G2, G5.  Optional: Zanker Chap. 1

2: breakdown cont'd. Caesar's heir.  Jones Chap. 2; C&F B1-B12

Week 2

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 2 may be found HERE)

5: The triumvirate (formation down to 35 BC).  Jones Chap. 3; C&F B13-B22, B50 and I39

6: The triumvirate cont'd. (35 to Battle of Actium in 31).  C&F B24-B26

7: Finishing up the triumvirate down to Actium...

9: Analysis: the myth of Actium.  WH Chap. 1. Optional: Zanker Chap. 2

Week 3

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 3 may be found HERE)

12: The 'restoration' of the Republic and the Augustan settlement.  Jones Chap. 4; C&F B27-B29

13: restoration cont'd (down to 19 BC).  C&F I39, B30-34; Zanker Chap. 3

14: the principate (19 BC - AD 14).  Views of Augustus; his death.  Jones Chap. 5; C&F A1, B35-49, B51-53

16: Augustus’ ‘constitutional’ position.  Jones Chap. 6; C&F C1

Week 4

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 4 may be found HERE)

19: magistracies and the senate.  Jones Chap. 7; C&F C5-6

20: magistracies and the senate cont'd.

21: the provinces. Jones Chap. 8.  C&F C9-10, C13-32, L5, L7, L9, M6, M8, N8-9, O1, O10, O15

23: the provinces cont'd.

Week 5

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 5 may be found HERE)

26: the army and finance. Jones Chaps. 9 and 10; C&F C3-4; M5. 

27: the army and finance cont'd. FIRST PAPER DUE.

28: Analysis: the Augustan reforms.  WH Chap. 2


Part II. Culture and Society

Week 6

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 6 may be found HERE)

Nov. 2: Overview.  WH Chap. 3; Jones Chap. 14

3: Vergil.  C&F B50, F1-3

4: Vergil.  C&F F4

6: Vergil. C&F F5-6

Week 7

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 7 may be found HERE)

9: Horace.  C&F F7-10

10: Horace. C&F F11-17


13: Horace.  C&F F18-27, I2b

Week 8

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 8 may be found HERE)

16: Ovid.  C&F F28-30

17: Ovid.  C&F F31

18: Ovid.  C&F F32-43

20: Analysis: Augustan poetry.  WH Chap. 5

Week 9:

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 9 may be found HERE)

23: Augustan art and architecture.  Zanker Chap. 4; C&F E1-6, J6

24: Augustan art and architecture cont’d.  Zanker Chap. 5; C&F E7-17

25: Augustan art and architecture cont’d.  Zanker Chap. 6; C&F E18-19


Week 10

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 10 may be found HERE)

30: Augustan art and architecture cont’d.

Dec. 1: Analysis: The Augustan building program.  WH Chap. 4.

2: religion.  Jones Chap. 13; C&F D1-13, I3, I5-18, J1a-e. 

4: religion cont'd. Analysis: Augustus as god.  WH Chap. 6; Zanker Chap. 8. 

Week 11

(Any 'overheads' or PPs used in Week 11 may be found HERE)

7: judicial system/laws. Jones Chaps. 11 & 12; C&F D15-32, I33, I50.  

8: judicial system/laws cont'd.  SECOND PAPER DUE.

9: What was it like to live in Augustan Rome?  Jones Chap. 15; I1.  Optional: Zanker Chap. 7

11: The legacy of Augustus. C&F K1-5 [sorry, these passages are actually missing from the you can skip them!]; WH Chap. 7; Summary and review

FINAL EXAMINATION: AVAILABLE as of 12:00 AM on Tuesday, Dec. 15 and due by 5:00 PM Thursday, Dec. 17 (all times Pacific Time).  Click HERE for a description of this examination.


Course Summary:

Date Details