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HSTAM 330 A: The Age of Augustus

Meeting Time: 
MTWThF 8:30am - 9:20am
MOR 230
Joint Sections: 
CLAS 330 A
Alain M. Gowing

Syllabus Description:

 Gemma Augustea

Classics 330/HSTAM 330: The Age of Augustus

Autumn Quarter 2021 

MTWThF 8:30-9:20 AM

230 More Hall


PLEASE NOTE: Updated 9/22/21.  In accordance with the University's guidance and policies on returning to live instruction circulated on 8/31/21, and as long as circumstances and the University/state guidelines do not change, this class will be taught live and in-person as indicated in the Time Schedule.  All participants in the class will be expected to be able and willing to attend class (there will be no alternative or parallel 'online' version); and all participants will expected to abide by the University's policies and guidelines.  

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

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

Autumn Quarter Office Hours: Please note the Thursday conference (see below), reserved solely for members of this class.

Regular office hour: M 11 AM - 12 PM, by Zoom.  Here's the Zoom link.  Also available by appointment (email me).

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.  But for your convenience, I'm making scanned pdf's of this available HERE.  But this is NOT meant to be a substitute for having the hardcopy!]
  •  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%)

  1. Midterm (25%) and Final Examination (30%) Both exams will consist of short answer and brief essay questions; both exams will be administered through Canvas with generous time frames for completion (at least a day). 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.  CLICK HERE FOR A DESCRIPTION OF THE FINAL EXAMINATON
  2. Two 3-5 page papers (40%, 20% each).  Information including instructions and grading criteria are now posted HERE; suggested topics for Paper #1 may be found HERE (Paper #2 topics will be posted later 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: With the exception of first Thursday meeting (9/30), and unless you are otherwise notified, there will be no class meeting on Thursdays.  This time (8:30-9:20 AM) is set aside for individual conferences only with participants in this class.  This quarter these conferences will be by Zoom...HERE IS THE ZOOM LINK:

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 intention to this no later than the fourth week of the quarter) 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:

  • UW Language on Face Covering in the Classroom (COVID): To ensure the health and safety of the University campus community, face coverings are required to be worn indoors when other people are present regardless of vaccination status. Eating and drinking will not be permitted in the classroom. This requirement is in accordance with UW’s COVID-19 Face Covering Policy:

    For the purposes of this policy, a face covering must: Fit snugly against the sides of the face; completely cover the nose and mouth; bandanas and gaiters are not considered face coverings for this policy. Students who forget a face mask or refuse to wear one will be asked to leave the classroom. Repeated failure to wear a face covering may result in being referred to the Student Conduct Office for possible disciplinary action. In these still-difficult times, it is important that we all do our part to keep each other safe.  (September 2021)

  • 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:

☞PLEASE note that it is an absolute certainty that I will get a bit behind in lectures, but the following represents roughly where you should be in the reading at any given time. It will, in any case, be obvious from lectures. It is also a certainty that I will always eventually catch up to the syllabus.

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).

Another NOTE: For a very select bibliography on Augustus, including some relevant websites, click HERE

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

Part I.  History and Politics

Week 1

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

Sept. 29: Introduction

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

Oct. 1: breakdown cont'd. Caesar's heir.  Jones Chap. 2; C&F B2-B12


Week 2

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

Oct. 4: The triumvirate (formation down to 35 BC).  Jones Chap. 3; C&F B13-B22, B50 and I39

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

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

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


Week 3

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

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

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

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

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


Week 4

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

18: magistracies and the senate cont'd.

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

20: the provinces cont'd.

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


Week 5

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

25: the army and finance cont'd. 

26: Analysis: the Augustan reforms.  WH Chap. 2.  FIRST PAPER DUE.

27: Review



Part II. Culture and Society

Week 6

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

Nov. 1: Overview.  WH Chap. 3; Jones Chap. 14

2: Vergil.  C&F B50, F1-3

3: Vergil.  C&F F4

5: Vergil. C&F F5-6


Week 7

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

8: Horace.  C&F F7-10

9: Horace. C&F F11-17

10: Horace.  C&F F18-27, I2b

12: Ovid.  C&F F28-30


Week 8

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

15: Ovid.  C&F F31

16: Ovid.  C&F F32-43

17: Buffer day to finish up!

19: Analysis: Augustan poetry.  WH Chap. 5


Week 9:

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

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

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

24: 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)

29: Augustan art and architecture cont’d.

30: Analysis: The Augustan building program.  WH Chap. 4.

Dec. 1: religion.  Jones Chap. 13; C&F D1-13, I3, I5-18, J1a-e

3: 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)

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

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

8: The legacy of Augustus. C&F K1-5; WH Chap. 7

10: Summary and review

December 14 (Tuesday): FINAL EXAMINATION. administered on Canvas and due by 11:59 PM on this date.  Details provided as quarter progresses,


Catalog Description: 
Detailed study of the history and culture of the reign of Augustus, the first Roman emperor (31 BC-AD 14). Includes readings in Augustan authors such as Vergil, Ovid, and Horace as well as the study of Augustan art and architecture. Offered: jointly with CLAS 330.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
May 1, 2021 - 7:22am