Ancient History

History 280A.001

Fall 2017
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Th 12-2
Class Number: 
Claudian, the poet and “political consultant” for the emperors Theodosius and Honorius and their most important military leader Stilicho, wrote some of the most impressive passages on barbarians, eunuchs, and the relations between the Eastern and Western parts of the later Roman empire. 
What did it mean to be Roman? What to make of military leaders such as Gildo, Stilicho, or Rufinus? What should one think of a Roman consul, who was made into a eunuch as a child and hence had been a slave? 
We will read a good number of Claudian’s texts in their context, namely the so-called barbarian migrations, and then compare them to the writings of Prudentius, another late Roman author who grappled with the meaning of being Roman at a time of ideological change (i.e. the Christian Theodosian age), always with a view toward recent scholarship on the fall of the Roman empire and its gendered nature.
Requirements include an in class presentation, a book report, and a final research paper.