Greek and Roman Citizenship (Proseminar in Ancient History)

History 103A.001

Fall 2016
Instructor (text): 
Randall Souza
204 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
M 12-2P

Modern democracies trace the roots of their political systems to the Classical Greek and Roman world, but what exactly did it mean to be a citizen of Rome, Athens, or the thousands of other communities in the ancient Mediterranean? This course approaches this question of citizenship from a formal standpoint in a manner accessible both to students with prior knowledge of the Classical world and to those with experience or interest in the nature of belonging in other settings. We will analyze literary accounts, archaeological remains, and documentary sources as we explore how political communities in antiquity defined themselves, both in relation to outsiders and within the citizen body itself. Chronologically, we will track changes in the ideology and practice of citizenship from the rise of the Greek city-state in the eighth century BCE through the new hierarchies of belonging in the High Roman Empire of the third and fourth centuries CE. We will draw on comparative studies of citizenship in other times and places, and we will see how communal institutions and individual expressions of status yield a complex picture of ancient citizenships that does not always fit widely held preconceptions about the birthplace(s) of democracy.  Class meetings will consist primarily of discussion of the week’s readings, though some material will be presented in a lecture format and some student presentation of progress on course assignments will be required as well. The two shorter papers will prepare each student to complete a longer final paper that may serve as groundwork for an honors thesis on an ancient topic.

Course Books

The Roman citizenship by Sherwin-White, A. N Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN: 978- 0198148470 Required
The Origins of Citizenship in Ancient Athens by Manville, P. B Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691600925 Required