Rome and the Near East

History 103A.002

Fall 2009
Instructor (text): 
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Tues 10-12

The Roman empire was not born overnight. While Roman territorial expansion beyond peninsular Italy began with a war against the north African power Carthage in 264 BCE, it only reached its highpoint with the Roman emperor Trajanâ€_Äôs conquest of Mesopotamia around 115 CE. The process, then, stretched centuries. And all the while, the resulting empire stretched thousands of miles, taking in all regions touching the Mediterranean sea, as well as deep swathes of inland territory. This course will explore the nature and development of Roman involvement outside the confines of Italy, specifically in the Near East. Of interest will be the circumstances initiating and evolution of Roman relations with the states and peoples of this region from the 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century CE. At each stage of our investigation, we will consider Roman aims and their significance. A variety of topics will be covered, including the Roman encounters with Syria, Pontus, Armenia, Parthia, Judaea, and Egypt. Along the way we will discuss a wide selection of impressive figures, such as Antiochus the Great, Mithridates of Pontus, Sulla, Lucullus, Tigranes of Armenia, Pompey, Crassus, Mark Antony, Cleopatra of Egypt, Herod the Great, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius, Nero, and Trajan.