Like many societies before and since, the Romans thought their civilization was the greatest that had ever existed. For the Romans, however, there was some justification for their boast. Within a relatively short period of time the city of Rome came to dominate Italy, then the Mediterranean region, and then most of Europe, including the distant and barbaric island of Britannia. The effect that Roman conquest had on Europe was immense, and endures to this day in the languages, laws, political structures, culture, and educational expectations of European-influenced societies such as our own.

In this course we will examine the development of the Roman republic, the increasing dominance of Rome over its neighbours, and the transition from republican to monarchical rule. We'll look at how the Romans cooperated or fought amongst themselves, how they dealt with their neighbours, what it was like to live under Roman rule, why the Romans came to have emperors, and the fundamental importance of religion, gender, class, and slavery. Throughout the course we'll ask ourselves the questions: how is Rome like our own society? and how is it different?