Fall 2019 - HIST 275 D100

From Alexander to the Caesars: The Hellenistic and Roman Worlds to the end of Antiquity (4)

Class Number: 7932

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Tue, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2019
    Wed, 8:30–11:30 a.m.



This is an overview of Near Eastern and Mediterranean history from Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire to early Byzantium and the rise of Islam that covers the Hellenistic, Roman, and early Byzantine Worlds with emphasis on the place of Hellenism in the social, political, religious and cultural life at the time. Students with credits for HIST/HS 308 or HS 275 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


On the North shores of the Aegean Sea, from the lands of Macedonia, kings emerged in the fourth century BCE who conquered lands all the way to the rivers of India, the Mountains of Afghanistan, the Arabian Desert and the sands of Egypt. Across the Adriatic Sea, one city in the center of Italy, Rome, flexed its might, defeated Etruscan neighbors, and eventually clashed with the rich and adventurous Carthaginians.

This course follows the parallel rise of the Hellenistic and Roman worlds and the eventual clash between the two. It examines the outcome of the wars between Hellenistic Kings and Roman citizens and studies the world created by the victory of Roman imperialism, following the legacy of Alexander in the world of Caesar’s heirs.

The Hellenistic and Roman worlds spread the language and culture of the Greeks to Jews, Persians, Latins, Britons, Egyptians, and North Africans. Cities built on Greek grid plans and laws enacted with Roman punctiliousness spread from Greece and Italy all the way to Tunisia, England, Gaul, and the Near East, shaping the living environment and daily experience of millions. Alexander, the Hellenistic Kings and Caesar were heroes whose exploits we still celebrate today but they were also state builders and administrators who created a world where ideas, goods, and people traveled inspiring and enriching myriads. In this very world the teachings of an obscure Jewish preacher would meet Greek philosophy and morph into the dynamic and world-changing religion of Christianity.

This coming semester we will follow the history of the Hellenistic and Roman worlds from the death of Alexander the Great to the reign of Justinian at the end of Antiquity. We shall ask questions regarding war, politics, culture, and religion, and explore texts that address the vitality and complicated legacy of this vast Greco-Roman space.


  • Class participation 20%
  • In class assignments 20%
  • Midterm exam 25%
  • Final exam 35%



All course material will be provided on the course website in openly accessible URL or in PDF format

Registrar Notes:

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