Commodus (Facial Reconstruction)

Commodus (Facial Reconstruction)

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Ancient Narcissism: Nero’s Hair, Commodus’ Beard, and Constantine’s Colossus

Colossus of Constantine / Byzantine Legacy, Flickr, Creative Commons

The bronze colossus originally portrayed Nero, thereafter Commodus, before it was given its present appearance in the early 4th century.

By Dr. Marina Prusac
Associate Professor, Numismatics and Classical Archaeology
Museum of Cultural History
University of Oslo


Months (Roman) Lengths before 45 BC Lengths as of 45 BC Months (English)
Ianuarius [3] 29 31 January
Februarius 28 (in common years)
In intercalary years:
23 if Intercalaris is variable
23–24 if Intercalaris is fixed
28 (leap years: 29) February
Intercalaris (Mercedonius) (only in intercalary years) 27 (or possibly 27–28)
Martius 31 31 March
Aprilis 29 30 April
Maius 31 31 May
Iunius [3] 29 30 June
Quintilis [4] (Iulius) 31 31 July
Sextilis (Augustus) 29 31 August
September 29 30 September
October 31 31 October
November 29 30 November
December 29 31 December
Total 355 or 377–378 365–366 365–366


The ordinary year in the previous Roman calendar consisted of 12 months, for a total of 355 days. In addition, a 27- or 28-day intercalary month, the Mensis Intercalaris, was sometimes inserted between February and March. This intercalary month was formed by inserting 22 or 23 days after the first 23 days of February the last five days of February, which counted down toward the start of March, became the last five days of Intercalaris. The net effect was to add 22 or 23 days to the year, forming an intercalary year of 377 or 378 days. [5] Some say the mensis intercalaris always had 27 days and began on either the first or the second day after the Terminalia (23 February). [6]

According to the later writers Censorinus and Macrobius, the ideal intercalary cycle consisted of ordinary years of 355 days alternating with intercalary years, alternately 377 and 378 days long. In this system, the average Roman year would have had 366 + 1 ⁄ 4 days over four years, giving it an average drift of one day per year relative to any solstice or equinox. Macrobius describes a further refinement whereby, in one 8-year period within a 24-year cycle, there were only three intercalary years, each of 377 days (thus 11 intercalary years out of 24). This refinement averages the length of the year to 365.25 days over 24 years.

In practice, intercalations did not occur systematically according to any of these ideal systems, but were determined by the pontifices. So far as can be determined from the historical evidence, they were much less regular than these ideal schemes suggest. They usually occurred every second or third year, but were sometimes omitted for much longer, and occasionally occurred in two consecutive years.

If managed correctly this system could have allowed the Roman year to stay roughly aligned to a tropical year. However, since the pontifices were often politicians, and because a Roman magistrate's term of office corresponded with a calendar year, this power was prone to abuse: a pontifex could lengthen a year in which he or one of his political allies was in office, or refuse to lengthen one in which his opponents were in power. [7]

If too many intercalations were omitted, as happened after the Second Punic War and during the Civil Wars, the calendar would drift out of alignment with the tropical year. Moreover, because intercalations were often determined quite late, the average Roman citizen often did not know the date, particularly if he were some distance from the city. For these reasons, the last years of the pre-Julian calendar were later known as "years of confusion". The problems became particularly acute during the years of Julius Caesar's pontificate before the reform, 63–46 BC, when there were only five intercalary months (instead of eight), none of which were during the five Roman years before 46 BC.

Caesar's reform was intended to solve this problem permanently, by creating a calendar that remained aligned to the sun without any human intervention. This proved useful very soon after the new calendar came into effect. Varro used it in 37 BC to fix calendar dates for the start of the four seasons, which would have been impossible only 8 years earlier. [8] A century later, when Pliny dated the winter solstice to 25 December because the sun entered the 8th degree of Capricorn on that date, [9] this stability had become an ordinary fact of life.

Context of the reform

The octaeteris, a cycle of eight lunar years popularised by Cleostratus (and also commonly attributed to Eudoxus) which was used in some early Greek calendars, notably in Athens, is 1.53 days longer than eight mean Julian years. The length of nineteen years in the cycle of Meton was 6,940 days, six hours longer than the mean Julian year. The mean Julian year was the basis of the 76-year cycle devised by Callippus (a student under Eudoxus) to improve the Metonic cycle.

In Persia (Iran) after the reform in the Persian calendar by introduction of the Persian Zoroastrian (i. e. Young Avestan) calendar in 503 BC and afterwards, the first day of the year (1 Farvardin=Nowruz) slipped against the vernal equinox at the rate of approximately one day every four years. [11] [12]

Likewise in the Egyptian calendar, a fixed year of 365 days was in use, drifting by one day against the sun in four years. An unsuccessful attempt to add an extra day every fourth year was made in 238 BC (Decree of Canopus). Caesar probably experienced this "wandering" or "vague" calendar in that country. He landed in the Nile delta in October 48 BC and soon became embroiled in the Ptolemaic dynastic war, especially after Cleopatra managed to be "introduced" to him in Alexandria.

Adoption of the Julian calendar

Caesar's reform only applied to the Roman calendar. However, in the following decades many of the local civic and provincial calendars of the empire and neighbouring client kingdoms were aligned to the Julian calendar by transforming them into calendars with years of 365 days with an extra day intercalated every four years. [20] [21] The reformed calendars typically retained many features of the unreformed calendars. In many cases, the New Year was not on 1 January, the leap day was not on the bissextile day, the old month names were retained, the lengths of the reformed months did not match the lengths of Julian months, and, even if they did, their first days did not match the first day of the corresponding Julian month. Nevertheless, since the reformed calendars had fixed relationships to each other and to the Julian calendar, the process of converting dates between them became quite straightforward, through the use of conversion tables known as hemerologia. [22] Several of the reformed calendars are only known through surviving hemerologia.

The three most important of these calendars are the Alexandrian calendar, the Asian calendar and the Syro-Macedonian calendar. Other reformed calendars are known from Cappadocia, Cyprus and the cities of Syria and Palestine. Most reformed calendars were adopted under Augustus, though the calendar of Nabatea was reformed after the kingdom became the Roman province of Arabia in AD 106. There is no evidence that local calendars were aligned to the Julian calendar in the western empire. Unreformed calendars continued to be used in Gaul, Greece, Macedon, the Balkans and parts of Palestine, most notably in Judea.

The Alexandrian calendar adapted the Egyptian calendar by adding a 6th epagomenal day as the last day of the year in every fourth year, falling on 29 August preceding a Julian bissextile day. It was otherwise identical to the Egyptian calendar. The first leap day was in 22 BC, and they occurred every four years from the beginning, even though Roman leap days occurred every three years at this time (see Leap year error). This calendar influenced the structure of several other reformed calendars, such as those of the cities of Gaza and Ascalon in Palestine, Salamis in Cyprus, and the province of Arabia. It was adopted by the Coptic church and remains in use both as the liturgical calendar of the Coptic church and as the civil calendar of Ethiopia.

The Asian calendar was an adaptation of the Macedonian calendar used in the province of Asia and, with minor variations, in nearby cities and provinces. It is known in detail through the survival of decrees promulgating it issued in 8 BC by the proconsul Paullus Fabius Maximus. It renamed the first month Dios as Kaisar, and arranged the months such that each month started on the ninth day before the kalends of the corresponding Roman month thus the year began on 23 September, Augustus' birthday. Since Greek months typically had 29 or 30 days, the extra day of 31-day months was named Sebaste—the emperor's day—and was the first day of these months. The leap day was a second Sebaste day in the month of Xandikos, i.e., 24 February. This calendar remained in use at least until the middle of the fifth century AD.

The Syro-Macedonian calendar was an adaptation of the Macedonian calendar used in Antioch and other parts of Syria. The months were exactly aligned to the Julian calendar, but they retained their Macedonian names and the year began in Dios = November until the fifth century, when the start of the year was moved to Gorpiaios = September.

These reformed calendars generally remained in use until the fifth or sixth century. Around that time most of them were replaced as civil calendars by the Julian calendar, but with a year starting in September to reflect the year of the indiction cycle.

The Julian calendar spread beyond the borders of the Roman Empire through its use as the Christian liturgical calendar. When a people or a country was converted to Christianity, they generally also adopted the Christian calendar of the church responsible for conversion. Thus, Christian Nubia and Ethiopia adopted the Alexandrian calendar, while Christian Europe adopted the Julian calendar, in either the Catholic or Orthodox variant. Starting in the 16th century, European settlements in the Americas and elsewhere likewise inherited the Julian calendar of the mother country, until they adopted the Gregorian reform. The last country to adopt the Julian calendar was the Ottoman Empire, which used it for financial purposes for some time under the name Rumi calendar and dropped the "escape years" which tied it to Muslim chronology in 1840.

Realignment of the year

The first step of the reform was to realign the start of the calendar year (1 January) to the tropical year by making AUC 708 (46 BC) 445 days long, compensating for the intercalations which had been missed during Caesar's pontificate. This year had already been extended from 355 to 378 days by the insertion of a regular intercalary month in February. When Caesar decreed the reform, probably shortly after his return from the African campaign in late Quintilis (July), he added 67 more days by inserting two extraordinary intercalary months between November and December. [note 1]

These months are called Intercalaris Prior and Intercalaris Posterior in letters of Cicero written at the time there is no basis for the statement sometimes seen that they were called "Undecimber" and "Duodecimber", terms that arose in the 18th century over a millennium after the Roman Empire's collapse. [note 2] Their individual lengths are unknown, as is the position of the Nones and Ides within them. [23]

Because 46 BC was the last of a series of irregular years, this extra-long year was, and is, referred to as the "last year of confusion". The new calendar began operation after the realignment had been completed, in 45 BC. [24]


The Julian months were formed by adding ten days to a regular pre-Julian Roman year of 355 days, creating a regular Julian year of 365 days. Two extra days were added to January, Sextilis (August) and December, and one extra day was added to April, June, September, and November. February was not changed in ordinary years, and so continued to be the traditional 28 days. Thus, the ordinary (i.e., non-leap year) lengths of all of the months were set by the Julian calendar to the same values they still hold today. (See Sacrobosco's incorrect theory on month lengths (below) for stories purporting otherwise.)

The Julian reform did not change the method used to account days of the month in the pre-Julian calendar, based on the Kalends, Nones and Ides, nor did it change the positions of these three dates within the months. Macrobius states that the extra days were added immediately before the last day of each month to avoid disturbing the position of the established religious ceremonies relative to the Nones and Ides of the month. [25] However, since Roman dates after the Ides of the month counted down toward the start of the next month, the extra days had the effect of raising the initial value of the count of the day following the Ides in the lengthened months. Thus, in January, Sextilis and December the 14th day of the month became a.d. XIX Kal. instead of a.d. XVII Kal., while in April, June, September and November it became a.d. XVIII Kal.

Romans of the time born after the Ides of a month responded differently to the effect of this change on their birthdays. Mark Antony kept his birthday on 14 January, which changed its date from a.d. XVII Kal. Feb to a.d. XIX Kal. Feb, a date that had previously not existed. Livia kept the date of her birthday unchanged at a.d. III Kal. Feb., which moved it from 28 to 30 January, a day that had previously not existed. Augustus kept his on 23 September, but both the old date (a.d. VIII Kal. Oct.) and the new (a.d. IX Kal. Oct.) were celebrated in some places.

The inserted days were all initially characterised as dies fasti (F – see Roman calendar). [26] The character of a few festival days was changed. In the early Julio-Claudian period a large number of festivals were decreed to celebrate events of dynastic importance, which caused the character of the associated dates to be changed to NP. However, this practice was discontinued around the reign of Claudius, and the practice of characterising days fell into disuse around the end of the first century AD: the Antonine jurist Gaius speaks of dies nefasti as a thing of the past. [27]


The old intercalary month was abolished. The new leap day was dated as ante diem bis sextum Kalendas Martias ('the sixth doubled day before the Kalends of March'), usually abbreviated as a.d. bis VI Kal. Mart. hence it is called in English the bissextile day. The year in which it occurred was termed annus bissextus, in English the bissextile year.

There is debate about the exact position of the bissextile day in the early Julian calendar. The earliest direct evidence is a statement of the 2nd century jurist Celsus, who states that there were two-halves of a 48-hour day, and that the intercalated day was the "posterior" half. An inscription from AD 168 states that a.d. V Kal. Mart. was the day after the bissextile day. The 19th century chronologist Ideler argued that Celsus used the term "posterior" in a technical fashion to refer to the earlier of the two days, which requires the inscription to refer to the whole 48-hour day as the bissextile. Some later historians share this view. Others, following Mommsen, take the view that Celsus was using the ordinary Latin (and English) meaning of "posterior". A third view is that neither half of the 48-hour "bis sextum" was originally formally designated as intercalated, but that the need to do so arose as the concept of a 48-hour day became obsolete. [28]

There is no doubt that the bissextile day eventually became the earlier of the two days for most purposes. In 238 Censorinus stated that it was inserted after the Terminalia (23 February) and was followed by the last five days of February, i.e., a.d. VI, V, IV, III and prid. Kal. Mart. (which would be 24 to 28 February in a common year and the 25th to 29th in a leap year). Hence he regarded the bissextum as the first half of the doubled day. All later writers, including Macrobius about 430, Bede in 725, and other medieval computists (calculators of Easter) followed this rule, as does the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. However, Celsus' definition continued to be used for legal purposes. It was incorporated into Justinian's Digest, [29] and in the English statute De anno et die bissextili of 1236, [30] which was not formally repealed until 1879.

The effect of the bissextile day on the nundinal cycle is not discussed in the sources. According to Dio Cassius, a leap day was inserted in 41 BC to ensure that the first market day of 40 BC did not fall on 1 January, which implies that the old 8-day cycle was not immediately affected by the Julian reform. However, he also reports that in AD 44, and on some previous occasions, the market day was changed to avoid a conflict with a religious festival. This may indicate that a single nundinal letter was assigned to both halves of the 48-hour bissextile day by this time, so that the Regifugium and the market day might fall on the same date but on different days. In any case, the 8-day nundinal cycle began to be displaced by the 7-day week in the first century AD, and dominical letters began to appear alongside nundinal letters in the fasti. [31]

During the late Middle Ages days in the month came to be numbered in consecutive day order. Consequently, the leap day was considered to be the last day in February in leap years, i.e., 29 February, which is its current position.

Sacrobosco's incorrect theory on month lengths

The Julian reform set the lengths of the months to their modern values. However, a different explanation for the lengths of Julian months, usually alleged to the 13th century scholar Sacrobosco, [32] but also attested in 12th century works, [33] is still widely repeated, but is certainly wrong.

Allegedly according to Sacrobosco, the month lengths for ordinary years in the Roman Republican calendar were a standard lunar calendar, similar the Greek city calendars. From Ianuarius to December, the month lengths were:

Ian Feb Mar Apr Mai Iun Qun Sex Sep Oct Nov Dec
30 29 30 29 30 29 30 29 30 29 30 29 11

Sacrobosco then thought that Julius Caesar added one day to every month except Februarius, a total of 11 more days to regular months, giving the ordinary Julian year of 365 days. A single leap day could now be added to this extra-short Februarius:

Ian Feb Mar Apr Mai Iun Qun Sex Sep Oct Nov Dec
31 29
31 30 31 30 31 30 31 30 31 30

He then said Augustus changed this, by taking one day from Februarius to add it to Sextilis, and then modifying the alternation of the following months, to:

Ian Feb Mar Apr Mai Iun Qun
Sep Oct Nov Dec
31 28
31 30 31 30 31 31 30 31 30 31

so that the length of Augustus (August) would not be shorter than (and therefore inferior to) the length of Iulius (July), giving us the irregular month lengths which are still in use.

Although plausible and filled with ingenious arithmetical organization, there is abundant evidence disproving this theory.

First, the Fasti Antiates Maiores, a wall painting of a pre-Julian Roman calendar has survived. [34] [35] That pre-Julian calendar confirms the literary accounts that the months were already irregular before Julius Caesar reformed them, with an ordinary year of 355 days (not evenly divisible into Roman weeks), not 354, with month lengths arranged as:

Ian Feb Mar Apr Mai Iun Qun Sex Sep Oct Nov Dec
29 28 31 29 31 29 31 29 29 31 29 29 10

Also, the Julian reform did not change the dates of the Nones and Ides. In particular, the Ides were late (on the 15th rather than 13th) in March, May, July, and October, showing that these months always had 31 days in the Roman calendar, [36] [37] whereas Sacrobosco's theory requires that March, May, and July were originally 30 days long and that the length of October was changed from 29 to 30 days by Caesar and to 31 days by Augustus.

Further, Sacrobosco's theory is explicitly contradicted by the 3rd and 5th century authors Censorinus [38] and Macrobius, [39] and it is inconsistent with seasonal lengths given by Varro, writing in 37 BCE, [8] before Sextilis was renamed for Augustus in 8 BCE, with the 31 day Sextilis given by an Egyptian papyrus from 24 BCE, [40] and with the 28 day Februarius shown in the Fasti Caeretani, which is dated before 12 BCE. [41]

Year length leap years

The Julian calendar has two types of year: "normal" years of 365 days and "leap" years of 366 days. There is a simple cycle of three "normal" years followed by a leap year and this pattern repeats forever without exception. The Julian year is, therefore, on average 365.25 days long. Consequently, the Julian year drifts over time with respect to the tropical (solar) year (365.24217 days). [42]

Although Greek astronomers had known, at least since Hipparchus, [43] a century before the Julian reform, that the tropical year was slightly shorter than 365.25 days, the calendar did not compensate for this difference. As a result, the calendar year gains about three days every four centuries compared to observed equinox times and the seasons. This discrepancy was largely corrected by the Gregorian reform of 1582. The Gregorian calendar has the same months and month lengths as the Julian calendar, but, in the Gregorian calendar, year numbers evenly divisible by 100 are not leap years, except that those evenly divisible by 400 remain leap years. [44] (Even then, the Gregorian calendar diverges from astronomical observations by one day in 3,030 years.) [42]

The difference in the average length of the year between Julian (365.25 days) and Gregorian (365.2425 days) is 0.002%, making the Julian 10.8 minutes longer. The accumulated effect of this difference over some 1600 years since the basis for calculation of the date of Easter was determined at the First Council of Nicea means for example that, from 29 February Julian (13 March Gregorian) 1900 and until 28 February Julian (13 March Gregorian) 2100, the Julian calendar is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar one day after (i.e. on 29 February Julian or 14 March Gregorian), the difference will be 14 days.

Although the new calendar was much simpler than the pre-Julian calendar, the pontifices initially added a leap day every three years, instead of every four. There are accounts of this in Solinus, [45] Pliny, [46] Ammianus, [47] Suetonius, [48] and Censorinus. [49]

Macrobius [50] gives the following account of the introduction of the Julian calendar:

Caesar's regulation of the civil year to accord with his revised measurement was proclaimed publicly by edict, and the arrangement might have continued to stand had not the correction itself of the calendar led the priests to introduce a new error of their own for they proceeded to insert the intercalary day, which represented the four quarter-days, at the beginning of each fourth year instead of at its end, although the intercalation ought to have been made at the end of each fourth year and before the beginning of the fifth.

This error continued for thirty-six years by which time twelve intercalary days had been inserted instead of the number actually due, namely nine. But when this error was at length recognised, it too was corrected, by an order of Augustus, that twelve years should be allowed to pass without an intercalary day, since the sequence of twelve such years would account for the three days which, in the course of thirty-six years, had been introduced by the premature actions of the priests.

So, according to Macrobius,

  1. the year was considered to begin after the Terminalia (23 February), [51]
  2. the calendar was operated correctly from its introduction on 1 January 45 BC until the beginning of the fourth year (February 42 BC) at which point the priests inserted the first intercalation,
  3. Caesar's intention was to make the first intercalation at the beginning of the fifth year (February 41 BC),
  4. the priests made a further eleven intercalations after 42 BC at three-year intervals so that the twelfth intercalation fell in 9 BC,
  5. had Caesar's intention been followed there would have been intercalations every four years after 41 BC, so that the ninth intercalation would have been in 9 BC,
  6. after 9 BC, there were twelve years without leap years, so that the leap days Caesar would have had in 5 BC, 1 BC and AD 4 were omitted and
  7. after AD 4 the calendar was operated as Caesar intended, so that the next leap year was AD 8 and then leap years followed every fourth year thereafter. [52]

Some people have had different ideas as to how the leap years went. The above scheme is that of Scaliger (1583) in the table below. He established that the Augustan reform was instituted in AUC 746 (8 BC). The table shows for each reconstruction the implied proleptic Julian date for the first day of Caesar's reformed calendar (Kal. Ian. AUC 709) and the first Julian date on which the Roman calendar date matches the Julian calendar after the completion of Augustus' reform.

Alexander Jones says that the correct Julian calendar was in use in Egypt in 24 BC, [40] implying that the first day of the reform in both Egypt and Rome, 1 January 45 BC , was the Julian date 1 January if 45 BC was a leap year and 2 January if it was not. This necessitates fourteen leap days up to and including AD 8 if 45 BC was a leap year and thirteen if it was not.

Pierre Brind'Amour [53] argued that "only one day was intercalated between 1/1/45 and 1/1/40 (disregarding a momentary 'fiddling' in December of 41) [54] to avoid the nundinum falling on Kal. Ian." [55]

Scholar Date Triennial leap years (BC) First Julian day First aligned day Quadriennial leap year resumes
Bennett [56] 2003 44, 41, 38, 35, 32, 29, 26, 23, 20, 17, 14, 11, 8 31 Dec 46 BC 25 Feb 1 BC AD 4
Soltau [57] 1889 45, 41, 38, 35, 32, 29, 26, 23, 20, 17, 14, 11 2 Jan 45 BC 25 Feb AD 4 AD 8
Matzat [58] 1883 44, 41, 38, 35, 32, 29, 26, 23, 20, 17, 14, 11 1 Jan 45 BC 25 Feb 1 BC AD 4
Ideler [59] 1825 45, 42, 39, 36, 33, 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 15, 12, 9 1 Jan 45 BC 25 Feb AD 4 AD 8
Kepler [60] 1614 43, 40, 37, 34, 31, 28, 25, 22, 19, 16, 13, 10 2 Jan 45 BC 25 Feb AD 4 AD 8
Harriot [61] After 1610 43, 40, 37, 34, 31, 28, 25, 22, 19, 16, 13, 10 1 Jan 45 BC 25 Feb 1 BC AD 4
Bünting [61] 1590 45, 42, 39, 36, 33, 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 15, 12 1 Jan 45 BC 25 Feb 1 BC AD 4
Christmann [61] [62] 1590 43, 40, 37, 34, 31, 28, 25, 22, 19, 16, 13, 10 2 Jan 45 BC 25 Feb AD 4 AD 7 [61]
Scaliger [63] 1583 42, 39, 36, 33, 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 15, 12, 9 2 Jan 45 BC 25 Feb AD 4 AD 8

By the systems of Scaliger, Ideler and Bünting, the leap years prior to the suspension happen to be BC years that are divisible by 3, just as, after leap year resumption, they are the AD years divisible by 4.

In 1999, a papyrus was discovered which gives the dates of astronomical phenomena in 24 BC in both the Egyptian and Roman calendars. From 30 August 26 BC (Julian) , Egypt had two calendars: the old Egyptian in which every year had 365 days and the new Alexandrian in which every fourth year had 366 days. Up to 28 August 22 BC (Julian) the date in both calendars was the same. The dates in the Alexandrian and Julian calendars are in one-to-one correspondence except for the period from 29 August in the year preceding a Julian leap year to the following 24 February. [64] From a comparison of the astronomical data with the Egyptian and Roman dates, Alexander Jones [40] concluded that the Egyptian astronomers (as opposed to travellers from Rome) used the correct Julian calendar.

An inscription has been discovered which orders a new calendar to be used in the Province of Asia to replace the previous Greek lunar calendar. [65] According to one translation

Intercalation shall commence on the day after 14 Peritius [a.d. IX Kal. Feb, which would have been 15 Peritius] as it is currently constituted in the third year following promulgation of the decree. Xanthicus shall have 32 days in this intercalary year. [66]

This is historically correct. It was decreed by the proconsul that the first day of the year in the new calendar shall be Augustus' birthday, a.d. IX Kal. Oct. Every month begins on the ninth day before the kalends. The date of introduction, the day after 14 Peritius, was 1 Dystrus, the next month. The month after that was Xanthicus. Thus Xanthicus began on a.d. IX Kal. Mart., and normally contained 31 days. In leap year, however, it contained an extra "Sebaste day", the Roman leap day, and thus had 32 days. From the lunar nature of the old calendar we can fix the starting date of the new one as 24 January, a.d. IX Kal. Feb 5 BC in the Julian calendar, which was a leap year. Thus from inception the dates of the reformed Asian calendar are in one-to-one correspondence with the Julian.

Another translation of this inscription is

Intercalation shall commence on the day after the fourteenth day in the current month of Peritius [a.d. IX Kal. Feb], occurring every third year. Xanthicus shall have 32 days in this intercalary year. [67]

This would move the starting date back three years to 8 BC, and from the lunar synchronism back to 26 January (Julian). But since the corresponding Roman date in the inscription is 24 January, this must be according to the incorrect calendar which in 8 BC Augustus had ordered to be corrected by the omission of leap days. As the authors of the previous [ which? ] paper point out, with the correct four-year cycle being used in Egypt and the three-year cycle abolished in Rome, it is unlikely that Augustus would have ordered the three-year cycle to be introduced in Asia.

The Julian reform did not immediately cause the names of any months to be changed. The old intercalary month was abolished and replaced with a single intercalary day at the same point (i.e., five days before the end of February). January continued to be the first month of the year.

The Romans later renamed months after Julius Caesar and Augustus, renaming Quintilis as "Iulius" (July) [3] in 44 BC and Sextilis as "Augustus" (August) in 8 BC. Quintilis was renamed to honour Caesar because it was the month of his birth. [68] According to a senatus consultum quoted by Macrobius, Sextilis was renamed to honour Augustus because several of the most significant events in his rise to power, culminating in the fall of Alexandria, occurred in that month. [69]

Other months were renamed by other emperors, but apparently none of the later changes survived their deaths. In AD 37, Caligula renamed September as "Germanicus" after his father [70] in AD 65, Nero renamed April as "Neroneus", May as "Claudius" and June as "Germanicus" [71] and in AD 84 Domitian renamed September as "Germanicus" and October as "Domitianus". [72] Commodus was unique in renaming all twelve months after his own adopted names (January to December): "Amazonius", "Invictus", "Felix", "Pius", "Lucius", "Aelius", "Aurelius", "Commodus", "Augustus", "Herculeus", "Romanus", and "Exsuperatorius". [73] The emperor Tacitus is said to have ordered that September, the month of his birth and accession, be renamed after him, but the story is doubtful since he did not become emperor before November 275. [74] Similar honorific month names were implemented in many of the provincial calendars that were aligned to the Julian calendar. [75]

Other name changes were proposed but were never implemented. Tiberius rejected a senatorial proposal to rename September as "Tiberius" and October as "Livius", after his mother Livia. [76] Antoninus Pius rejected a senatorial decree renaming September as "Antoninus" and November as "Faustina", after his empress. [77]

Much more lasting than the ephemeral month names of the post-Augustan Roman emperors were the Old High German names introduced by Charlemagne. According to his biographer, Charlemagne renamed all of the months agriculturally into German. [78] These names were used until the 15th century, over 700 years after his rule, and continued, with some modifications, to see some use as "traditional" month names until the late 18th century. The names (January to December) were: Wintarmanoth ("winter month"), Hornung, [note 3] Lentzinmanoth ("spring month", "Lent month"), Ostarmanoth ("Easter month"), Wonnemanoth ("joy-month", a corruption of Winnimanoth "pasture-month"), Brachmanoth ("fallow-month"), Heuuimanoth ("hay month"), Aranmanoth ("reaping month"), Witumanoth ("wood month"), Windumemanoth ("vintage month"), Herbistmanoth ("harvest month"), and Heilagmanoth ("holy month").

The calendar month names used in western and northern Europe, in Byzantium, and by the Berbers, were derived from the Latin names. However, in eastern Europe older seasonal month names continued to be used into the 19th century, and in some cases are still in use, in many languages, including: Belarusian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Finnish, [79] Georgian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Polish, Romanian, Slovene, Ukrainian. When the Ottoman Empire adopted the Julian calendar, in the form of the Rumi calendar, the month names reflected Ottoman tradition.

The principal method used by the Romans to identify a year for dating purposes was to name it after the two consuls who took office in it, the eponymous period in question being the consular year. Beginning in 153 BC, consuls began to take office on 1 January, thus synchronizing the commencement of the consular and calendar years. The calendar year has begun in January and ended in December since about 450 BC according to Ovid or since about 713 BC according to Macrobius and Plutarch (see Roman calendar). Julius Caesar did not change the beginning of either the consular year or the calendar year. In addition to consular years, the Romans sometimes used the regnal year of the emperor, and by the late 4th century documents were also being dated according to the 15 year cycle of the indiction. In 537, Justinian required that henceforth the date must include the name of the emperor and his regnal year, in addition to the indiction and the consul, while also allowing the use of local eras.

In 309 and 310, and from time to time thereafter, no consuls were appointed. [80] When this happened, the consular date was given a count of years since the last consul (called "post-consular" dating). After 541, only the reigning emperor held the consulate, typically for only one year in his reign, and so post-consular dating became the norm. Similar post-consular dates were also known in the west in the early 6th century. The system of consular dating, long obsolete, was formally abolished in the law code of Leo VI, issued in 888.

Only rarely did the Romans number the year from the founding of the city (of Rome), ab urbe condita (AUC). This method was used by Roman historians to determine the number of years from one event to another, not to date a year. Different historians had several different dates for the founding. The Fasti Capitolini, an inscription containing an official list of the consuls which was published by Augustus, used an epoch of 752 BC. The epoch used by Varro, 753 BC, has been adopted by modern historians. Indeed, Renaissance editors often added it to the manuscripts that they published, giving the false impression that the Romans numbered their years. Most modern historians tacitly assume that it began on the day the consuls took office, and ancient documents such as the Fasti Capitolini which use other AUC systems do so in the same way. However, Censorinus, writing in the 3rd century AD, states that, in his time, the AUC year began with the Parilia, celebrated on 21 April, which was regarded as the actual anniversary of the foundation of Rome. [81]

Many local eras, such as the Era of Actium and the Spanish Era, were adopted for the Julian calendar or its local equivalent in the provinces and cities of the Roman Empire. Some of these were used for a considerable time. [82] Perhaps the best known is the Era of Martyrs, sometimes also called Anno Diocletiani (after Diocletian), which was associated with the Alexandrian calendar and often used by the Alexandrian Christians to number their Easters during the 4th and 5th centuries, and continues to be used by the Coptic and Ethiopian churches.

In the eastern Mediterranean, the efforts of Christian chronographers such as Annianus of Alexandria to date the Biblical creation of the world led to the introduction of Anno Mundi eras based on this event. [83] The most important of these was the Etos Kosmou, used throughout the Byzantine world from the 10th century and in Russia until 1700. In the west, the kingdoms succeeding the empire initially used indictions and regnal years, alone or in combination. The chronicler Prosper of Aquitaine, in the fifth century, used an era dated from the Passion of Christ, but this era was not widely adopted. Dionysius Exiguus proposed the system of Anno Domini in 525. This era gradually spread through the western Christian world, once the system was adopted by Bede in the eighth century.

The Julian calendar was also used in some Muslim countries. The Rumi calendar, the Julian calendar used in the later years of the Ottoman Empire, adopted an era derived from the lunar AH year equivalent to AD 1840, i.e., the effective Rumi epoch was AD 585. In recent years, some users of the Berber calendar have adopted an era starting in 950 BC, the approximate date that the Libyan pharaoh Sheshonq I came to power in Egypt.

The Roman calendar began the year on 1 January, and this remained the start of the year after the Julian reform. However, even after local calendars were aligned to the Julian calendar, they started the new year on different dates. The Alexandrian calendar in Egypt started on 29 August (30 August after an Alexandrian leap year). Several local provincial calendars were aligned to start on the birthday of Augustus, 23 September. The indiction caused the Byzantine year, which used the Julian calendar, to begin on 1 September this date is still used in the Eastern Orthodox Church for the beginning of the liturgical year. When the Julian calendar was adopted in AD 988 by Vladimir I of Kiev, the year was numbered Anno Mundi 6496, beginning on 1 March, six months after the start of the Byzantine Anno Mundi year with the same number. In 1492 (AM 7000), Ivan III, according to church tradition, realigned the start of the year to 1 September, so that AM 7000 only lasted for six months in Russia, from 1 March to 31 August 1492. [84]

During the Middle Ages 1 January retained the name New Year's Day (or an equivalent name) in all western European countries (affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church), since the medieval calendar continued to display the months from January to December (in twelve columns containing 28 to 31 days each), just as the Romans had. However, most of those countries began their numbered year on 25 December (the Nativity of Jesus), 25 March (the Incarnation of Jesus), or even Easter, as in France (see the Liturgical year article for more details).

In Anglo-Saxon England, the year most commonly began on 25 December, which, as (approximately) the winter solstice, had marked the start of the year in pagan times, though 25 March (the equinox) is occasionally documented in the 11th century. Sometimes the start of the year was reckoned as 24 September, the start of the so-called "western indiction" introduced by Bede. [85] These practices changed after the Norman conquest. From 1087 to 1155 the English year began on 1 January, and from 1155 to 1751 it began on 25 March. [86] In 1752 it was moved back to 1 January. (See Calendar (New Style) Act 1750).

Even before 1752, 1 January was sometimes treated as the start of the new year – for example by Pepys [87] – while the "year starting 25th March was called the Civil or Legal Year". [88] To reduce misunderstandings on the date, it was not uncommon for a date between 1 January and 24 March to be written as "1661/62". This was to explain to the reader that the year was 1661 counting from March and 1662 counting from January as the start of the year. [89] (For more detail, see Dual dating).

Most western European countries shifted the first day of their numbered year to 1 January while they were still using the Julian calendar, before they adopted the Gregorian calendar, many during the 16th century. The following table shows the years in which various countries adopted 1 January as the start of the year. Eastern European countries, with populations showing allegiance to the Orthodox Church, began the year on 1 September from about 988. The Rumi calendar used in the Ottoman Empire began the civil year on 1 March until 1918.

Country Year starting
1 January [90] [91]
Adoption of
new calendar
Holy Roman Empire [note 4] 1544 1582
Spain, Portugal 1556 1582
Prussia, Denmark–Norway 1559 1700
Sweden 1559 1753 [note 5]
France 1567 1582
Southern Netherlands 1576 [92] 1582
Lorraine 1579 1760
Holland, Zeeland 1583 1582
Dutch Republic except
Holland and Zeeland
1583 1700
Scotland 1600 1752
Russia 1700 1918
Tuscany 1750 [93] [94] 1582 [95]
British Empire excluding Scotland 1752 1752 [note 6]
Republic of Venice 1522 1582
Serbia 1804 [ citation needed ] 1918
Ottoman Empire (Turkey) 1918 1917 [note 7]

The Julian calendar has been replaced as the civil calendar by the Gregorian calendar in all countries which officially used it. Turkey switched (for fiscal purposes) on 16 February/1 March 1917. Russia changed on 1/14 February 1918. [96] Greece made the change for civil purposes on 16 February/1 March 1923, but the national day (25 March), was to remain on the old calendar. Most Christian denominations in the west and areas evangelised by western churches have made the change to Gregorian for their liturgical calendars to align with the civil calendar.

A calendar similar to the Julian one, the Alexandrian calendar, is the basis for the Ethiopian calendar, which is still the civil calendar of Ethiopia. Egypt converted from the Alexandrian calendar to Gregorian on 1 Thaut 1592/11 September 1875. [97]

During the changeover between calendars and for some time afterwards, dual dating was used in documents and gave the date according to both systems. In contemporary as well as modern texts that describe events during the period of change, it is customary to clarify to which calendar a given date refers by using an O.S. or N.S. suffix (denoting Old Style, Julian or New Style, Gregorian).

Transition history

The Julian calendar was in general use in Europe and northern Africa until 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII promulgated the Gregorian calendar. Reform was required because too many leap days were added with respect to the astronomical seasons under the Julian scheme. On average, the astronomical solstices and the equinoxes advance by 10.8 minutes per year against the Julian year. As a result, 21 March (which is the base date for the calculating the date of Easter) gradually moved out of alignment with the March equinox.

While Hipparchus and presumably Sosigenes were aware of the discrepancy, although not of its correct value, [98] it was evidently felt to be of little importance at the time of the Julian reform (46 BC). However, it accumulated significantly over time: the Julian calendar gained a day every 128 years. By 1582, it was ten days out of alignment from where it supposedly had been in 325 during the Council of Nicaea.

The Gregorian calendar was soon adopted by most Catholic countries (e.g., Spain, Portugal, Poland, most of Italy). Protestant countries followed later, and some countries of eastern Europe even later. In the British Empire (including the American colonies), Wednesday 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14 September 1752 . For 12 years from 1700 Sweden used a modified Julian calendar, and adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1753.

Since the Julian and Gregorian calendars were long used simultaneously, although in different places, calendar dates in the transition period are often ambiguous, unless it is specified which calendar was being used. In some circumstances, double dates might be used, one in each calendar. The notation "Old Style" (O.S.) is sometimes used to indicate a date in the Julian calendar, as opposed to "New Style" (N.S.), which either represents the Julian date with the start of the year as 1 January or a full mapping onto the Gregorian calendar. This notation is used to clarify dates from countries that continued to use the Julian calendar after the Gregorian reform, such as Great Britain, which did not switch to the reformed calendar until 1752, or Russia, which did not switch until 1918 (see Soviet calendar). This is why the Russian Revolution of 7 November 1917 N.S. is known as the October Revolution, because it began on 25 October O.S.

Throughout the long transition period, the Julian calendar has continued to diverge from the Gregorian. This has happened in whole-day steps, as leap days that were dropped in certain centennial years in the Gregorian calendar continued to be present in the Julian calendar. Thus, in the year 1700 the difference increased to 11 days in 1800, 12 and in 1900, 13. Since 2000 was a leap year according to both the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the difference of 13 days did not change in that year: 29 February 2000 (Gregorian) fell on 16 February 2000 (Julian). This difference of 13 days will persist until Saturday 28 February 2100 (Julian), i.e. 13 March 2100 (Gregorian), since 2100 is not a Gregorian leap year, but is a Julian leap year the next day the difference will be of 14 days: Sunday 29 February (Julian) will be Sunday 14 March (Gregorian) the next day Monday 1 March 2100 (Julian) falls on Monday 15 March 2100 (Gregorian). [99]

Eastern Orthodox

Although most Eastern Orthodox countries (most of them in eastern or southeastern Europe) had adopted the Gregorian calendar by 1924, their national churches had not. The "Revised Julian calendar" was endorsed by a synod in Constantinople in May 1923, consisting of a solar part which was and will be identical to the Gregorian calendar until the year 2800, and a lunar part which calculated Easter astronomically at Jerusalem. All Orthodox churches refused to accept the lunar part, so all Orthodox churches continue to celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar, with the exception of the Finnish Orthodox Church. [100] (The Estonian Orthodox Church was also an exception from 1923 to 1945. [101] )

The solar part of the Revised Julian calendar was accepted by only some Orthodox churches. Those that did accept it, with hope for improved dialogue and negotiations with the western denominations, were the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, the Orthodox Churches of Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Poland (from 1924 to 2014 it is still permitted to use the Revised Julian calendar in parishes that want it), Bulgaria (in 1963), and the Orthodox Church in America (although some OCA parishes are permitted to use the Julian calendar). Thus these churches celebrate the Nativity on the same day that western Christians do, 25 December Gregorian until 2799.

The Orthodox Churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Poland (from 15 June 2014), North Macedonia, Georgia, Ukraine, and the Greek Old Calendarists and other groups continue to use the Julian calendar, thus they celebrate the Nativity on 25 December Julian (which is 7 January Gregorian until 2100). The Russian Orthodox Church has some parishes in the West that celebrate the Nativity on 25 December Gregorian until 2799.

Parishes of the Orthodox Church in America Bulgarian Diocese, both before and after the 1976 transfer of that diocese from the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia to the Orthodox Church in America, were permitted to use this date. Some Old Calendarist groups which stand in opposition to the state churches of their homelands will use the Great Feast of the Theophany (6 January Julian/19 January Gregorian) as a day for religious processions and the Great Blessing of Waters, to publicise their cause. [ citation needed ]

Date of Easter

Most branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church use the Julian calendar for calculating the date of Easter, upon which the timing of all the other moveable feasts depends. Some such churches have adopted the Revised Julian calendar for the observance of fixed feasts, while such Orthodox churches retain the Julian calendar for all purposes. [102]

Syriac Christianity

The Ancient Assyrian Church of the East, an East Syriac rite that is commonly miscategorised under "eastern Orthodox", uses the Julian calendar, where its participants celebrate Christmas on 7 January Gregorian (which is 25 December Julian). The Assyrian Church of the East, the church it split from in 1968 (the replacement of traditional Julian calendar with Gregorian calendar being among the reasons), uses the Gregorian calendar ever since the year of the schism. [103] The Syriac Orthodox Church uses both Julian calendar and Gregorian calendar based on their regions and traditions they adapted.

Oriental Orthodox

The Oriental Orthodox Churches generally use the local calendar of their homelands. However, when calculating the Nativity Feast, most observe the Julian calendar. This was traditionally for the sake of unity throughout Christendom. In the west, some Oriental Orthodox Churches either use the Gregorian calendar or are permitted to observe the Nativity according to it.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem of Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church uses Julian calendar, while the rest of Armenian Church uses Gregorian calendar. Both celebrate the Nativity as part of the Feast of Theophany according to their respective calendar. [104]


The Julian calendar is still used by the Berbers of the Maghreb in the form of the Berber calendar. [105]

Fall 2020 Course Offerings

History Core Courses

HIST 100-level courses are primarily offered to fulfill theme areas within the University Core. A student may choose to use one of these courses as an elective within the History major or minor (with the exceptions of HIST 174 and HIST 200 these courses will not count toward the History major or minor.). Only one 100-level course may fulfill the History major or minor, and that same course may be used to fulfill a University Core requirement at the same time. Courses at the 200- and 300-level can count toward the University Core requirements and History major/minor without any limitation.

HIST 115: Great Discoveries in Archaeology
This course looks at the history of famous archaeological discoveries around the world and how those discoveries have helped us to understand our shared past and cultural heritage. We will focus on a series of key archaeological discoveries that over time have captured the public's imagination. By exploring and scrutinizing these discoveries, students address pivotal archaeological questions about our shared heritage, as well as how changing archaeological sciences lead to changing interpretations. The course will present the relevant archaeologists while addressing the role of nationalism, colonialism, and looting in archaeology's history as a discipline. Lecture.
Theme Area Global Diversity. Offered irregularly.

HIST 123: Greek & Roman Mythology
The major myths of Greece and Rome with special attention to contemporary interpretations of myth and the influence of myth on art and literature.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Creative Arts.
x-listings: CLSX 123 & WDLI 123

HIST 141: Environmental History
Environmental History will provide the historical background necessary to understand the contours of the relationship between humans and the environment since the Industrial Revolution. It will have a specific focus on technology as a force for creating environmental change, and the role of human behavior for creating global sustainability for the future.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice and Theme Area Global Diversity

HIST 141C: Environmental History (TERRA Learning Community only)
Offered as part of the Terra Learning Community, Environmental History will provide the historical background necessary to understand the contours of the relationship between humans and the environment since the Industrial Revolution. It will have a specific focus on technology as a force for creating environmental change, and the role of human behavior for creating global sustainability for the future.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice

HIST 151: Shaping of the Modern World
This survey of world history since 1900 examines major historical events around the globe and explores general themes such as tradition and modernity, war and peace, political revolutions and socio-economic change, the role of values and culture in historical development, and the complex relationship between the individual and society.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity

HIST 151C: Shaping of the Modern World (ORBIS Learning Community only)
This survey of world history since 1900 examines major historical events around the globe and explores general themes such as tradition and modernity, war and peace, political revolutions and socio-economic change, the role of values and culture in historical development, and the complex relationship between the individual and society.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity

HIST 161: Latin American Civilization
This course spans one thousand years of Latin American history, from 1000 AD to the present. It begins with the largest indigenous societies and then focuses on Spain's invasion of the western hemisphere and the resultant three centuries of Spanish colonial rule. Afterward, the class examines Latin America's Wars of Independence in the 1820s and the significant changes that took place throughout the region in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The class revolves around political, socioeconomic, and cultural themes.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listing: IR 161

HIST 162: East Asian Civilizations
This course surveys the development of East Asian civilization from ancient times to the modern age. Geographically it covers the countries of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Subjects to be examined include religion and thought, political and socio-economic institutions, literary and artistic accomplishments, interactions with the West, and the transition from the traditional to the modern way of life. The course is intended to provide students with a general historical background and help them develop basic historical analytical skills so that they can better understand fundamental themes such as the relationship between diversity and unity in human life.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listing: IR 162

HIST 165: Islam, the West, and the Modern World
This course introduces the history and significance of the cultural, social, and political contacts and conflicts between Middle Eastern and Western peoples. It addresses the controversial notion of "clash of civilizations" between the twentieth-century West and Islamic fundamentalism.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listings: IR 165 and PJCR 165

HIST 167: Gandhi and the 20th Century
This course will explore the history and thought of Mahatma Gandhi during the movement for Indian independence, and examine the impact of his ideas on subsequent conflicts throughout the twentieth century, focusing in particular on the effort to secure justice in the face of political oppression, economic exploitation, racism and cultural bigotry, and environmental degradation.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice
x-listings: IR 167 and PJCR 167

HIST 169: Reform & Revolution since 1900
This course, which focuses on pre-existing conditions of social injustice and resulting fights for social justice, surveys numerous social and revolutionary movements that occurred in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the United States from 1910 to the present.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice
x-listing: PJCR 169

HIST 171: History of Christianity
This course traces the development of the Christian religion from its obscure origins to its present status as a diverse world religion with hundreds of millions of adherents. Our focus is on the ways in which the thought and organization of the Christian churches have responded to the enormously diverse societies and cultures in which they have existed.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Faith and Reason

HIST 172: American Religious Experience
This course explores the history of religion in American life from the colonial period to the present. We will focus on three themes: the ways in which religion has served to reinforce and challenge social and political structures, the relationship among the individual, the church, and the state, and the ways in which religious groups have responded to competition from secular ideas and structures.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Faith and Reason

HIST 174: Sacred Places: Faith, History, and Geography*
Students will examine how sacred or holy places are identified with and reveal a culture's search for truth so as to gain insights into those cultures' unique worlds. As students study how the spiritual and physical coincide, they will also learn of shared themes among diverse cultures, such as how place grounds faith. Note: This course may not be counted toward the History major or minor.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Faith and Reason
*Does not count toward History major or minor.

HIST 200: Global Geography**
Global Geography surveys the physical, political, economic, population, environmental, and human geographic aspects of the world. The objectives are to provide students a general global perspective and for students to understand the interconnectedness that exists among all people and nations. NOTE: Because this course was created to serve a constituency primarily outside the College of Liberal Arts, this course may not be counted towards the History Major or History Minor requirements.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity
**Does not count toward History major or minor.

Area and National Survey Courses

HIST 202: History of Sport
The course will survey the history of sports in the United States, focusing primarily on the 20th century. Topics considered will include sports and race, gender, and politics, the commercialization of sport and collegiate sports. We will pay particular attention to the way in which Sports have served as an arena for dissent and Pittsburgh's relation to national sports trends. By the end of the semester students will gain an understanding of the changing role of sports in the United States. The course will enable students to explore a topic of their choice related to overall course content, enabling them to hone analytical writing and research skills.
Cross List:

HIST 203: History of the United States to 1877
This is a survey course that reviews the creation and development of American society, ideals, and institutions from colonial settlements to 1877.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice

HIST 203C: History of the United States to 1877 (Learning Community only)
This is a survey course that reviews the creation and development of American society, ideals, and institutions from colonial settlements to 1877.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice

HIST 204: History of the United States since 1877
This course covers the historical development of American institutions, ideas, and society since 1877.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice

HIST 205: History of Food: Climate, Sustainability, and Social Justice
This course is a one-semester survey of the history, climate, sustainability, and future of food. This multi-disciplinary course includes the historical progression of food through the cultural eras, a brief introduction to the geography of climate, and the idea of agricultural sustainability. This topic naturally lends itself to the concept of social justice. Climate change inevitably will revise the nature of food growth and distribution. Students will learn the necessity to be informed citizens with skills needed to form moral and fair judgments.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice
x-listing: IR 213

Introduction to Oral History: HIST 206
Course Description: This course begins with the fundamental question: What is oral history? Some argue it is spoken content. Others say it is the recording or transcript of the documentary record. Students will study successful oral history projects of the past. Oral history methodology will explore questions of memory and bias, legal and ethical issues, and how best to document and preserve people's stories. Students will undertake an oral history project of their own in collaboration with the Oral History Initiative at Duquesne's Gumberg Library. As a class, we will navigate the best practices in conducting these oral histories, engage in research, and choose a format for dissemination beyond the ultimate goal of depositing the recordings and transcriptions in Duquesne library's archive. Students are encouraged to present their research and experience outside of the classroom, especially at Duquesne's Undergraduate Research & Scholarship Symposium.

HIST 210: Caput Mundi: Rome (Italian Campus only)
An overview of the cultural history of Rome from c. 400 BC to AD 590. This course uses the city of Rome with its abundance of archaeological sites and museums to provide a comprehensive overview of the Roman world, its history, culture, and society.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listing: CLSX 210

HIST 212: History of Ancient Women
An investigation into the lives and representations of women and girls in historical and literary texts, art, and material culture in ancient Greece and Rome. The course examines representations of female bodies, work, familial roles, and religious roles.
x-listing: CLSX 211

HIST 213: Western Civilization I
This is an introductory survey of the origins and characteristics of "western" cultures and societies, meaning those from the Mediterranean and spreading up to the Baltic Sea. After a short introduction to the bronze and early iron ages, the course emphasizes the classical era when Greek and Roman cultures fanned out through the regions, through the Middle Ages, and finishes with the Early Modern period when new states, new religious sects, and developments in technology, learning, and trade transformed the medieval world.
x-listing: CLSX 213

HIST 214: Western Civilization II
This course is an introductory survey of the development of European societies in their global context since the 1600s. It presents persons, events, ideas and institutions that have shaped the "Western World" from the 17th through the 20th centuries. In studying the interrelated histories of southern, eastern, northern, and western Europe, students learn the foundations of modern western identities that developed within and in juxtaposition to a world increasingly globalized via trade, religion, colonization, war, and social movements.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity

HIST 221: Rock and Pop Music: A Cultural History
Social and cultural trends that produced rock and pop music, with a focus on the 1950s-1980s. Themes include pop and rock and ethnic/racial identity and relations, inter-cultural borrowing and appropriation, gender norms and popular culture, and how technology and economics shape music. Also considers sources of artistic creativity and how earlier pioneers influenced contemporary pop and rock.

HIST 222: Flatlined: History and Politics of U.S. Healthcare
This course will explore the development of American health care policy over the course of the 20th century, and situate its development within the political, economic, and social contexts that influence policy outcomes. Key areas that this course will explore are the history of health care reform including the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid, and the development of private health insurance. It will also address the question of whether or not access to affordable and safe health care is a basic right for all Americans. Students will conclude the class by suggesting solutions to the problem of divergent health care access and divergent health outcomes for underserved communities and groups.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice

HIST 231: Pre-Colonial Africa
This course examines African history from the development of human civilization to 1800. It is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the cultures, history, social structures and political organizations of Africa before the arrival of the Europeans. The focus includes, but is not limited to, the following subjects: Ancient African civilizations such as Egypt, Axum, Meroe and Kush migrations and interactions of various African ethnic groups state-formation in sub-Saharan Africa trade in sub-Saharan Africa and the impact of external factors upon Africa such as the slave trade, Islam and Christianity.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listing: AFST 231 and IR 231

HIST 233: The Practice of Public History This course provides an introduction to the field of public history. Throughout the course, students will explore this growing historical discipline lossely degined as history outside of the classroom, applied history, or history put to work in the world. In addition to completing course readings on various definitions, forms, and case studies of public history, students will engage in activities that give them opportunities to be a public historian. Throughout the semester, students will assess museums, digital humanities projects, monuments/memorials, historic preservation, and more within the framework of debates over the practices of ethical citizenship.

HIST 224: History of Things
This is an introductory survey in the field of material culture (the physical objects created and used by societies). Students will examine both everyday consumer items and special museum artifacts to learn how to read objects and their contexts to understand and create larger historical stories.
x-listing: ARHY 224

HIST 224C: History of Things (MATERIALES Learning Community only)
This is an introductory survey in the field of material culture (the physical objects created and used by societies). Students will examine both everyday consumer items and special museum artifacts to learn how to read objects and their contexts to understand and create larger historical stories.

HIST 226: The American Home
This course selectively surveys domestic architecture in the United States from colonial times to the present. Students will study important aesthetic, social, cultural, and economic factors that have influenced the forms of housing in the United States. In addition to examining the history of both popular and innovative styles, students will look at interior design to discover how the layout and decoration of homes changed over time to reflect different needs and aspirations. The course will use the rich and diverse housing architecture of the Pittsburgh region as a field school for visits and study, and there will be hands-on practice in methods related to historical research and historic preservation.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Creative Arts
x-listing: ARHY 226

HIST 229: Ancient Egypt: Language, Literature, Culture, and Biblical Connections
An investigation of the language, literature, culture and history of the ancient Egyptians. We will begin with the political unification of Egypt approximately 3100 BCE and continue through Pharaonic history until the periods of Greek and Roman occupation. This course will include a brief introduction to hieroglyphics and will explore the profound Egyptian influence on Biblical literature and history.
x-listings: CLSX 249 and THEO 249

HIST 231: Pre-Colonial Africa
This course examines African history from the development of human civilization to 1800. It is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the cultures, history, social structures and political organizations of Africa before the arrival of the Europeans. The focus includes, but is not limited to, the following subjects: Ancient African civilizations such as Egypt, Axum, Meroe and Kush migrations and interactions of various African ethnic groups state-formation in sub-Saharan Africa trade in sub-Saharan Africa and the impact of external factors upon Africa such as the slave trade, Islam and Christianity.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listing: AFST 231

HIST 231C: Pre-Colonial Africa (AFRICA Learning Community Only)
This course examines African history from the development of human civilization to 1800. It is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the cultures, history, social structures and political organizations of Africa before the arrival of the Europeans. The focus includes, but is not limited to, the following subjects: Ancient African civilizations such as Egypt, Axum, Meroe and Kush migrations and interactions of various African ethnic groups state-formation in sub-Saharan Africa trade in sub-Saharan Africa and the impact of external factors upon Africa such as the slave trade, Islam and Christianity.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity

HIST 239: Bronze Age Greece
An examination of Minoan and Mycenaean history through the archaeological remains and inscribed tablets. We will consider the development and disappearance of both civilizations while addressing larger themes within the ancient economy, politics, palace system, gender and social realities, art, and religion. We will study Greece's place within the larger life of the Mediterranean Bronze Age, especially connections with and evidence from the Trojans, Hittites, Syrians, and Egyptians.
x-listing: CLSX 240

HIST 240: Introduction to Archaeology
An overview of the discipline of archaeology. We will consider the discipline's aims, history, theories, and methods, and will devote special attention to its modern practice, problems, ethical concerns, and significance. The course will address, in turn, the nature of archaeological evidence, how we interpret it, and what we should do with it. While we often will focus on archaeological sites in the Mediterranean and Near East, the discussion will touch on others throughout the world. As will be clear immediately and throughout, at the heart of this course is the identity of human beings, past and present.
x-listings: ARHY 214 and CLSX 104

HIST 241: Roman History
An investigation of the Roman state from foundation to fall. Topics will include politics, the military, culture, religion, society, and economy. Readings will include a wide range of carefully selected ancient texts.
x-listing: CLSX 252

HIST 244: History of Ancient Medicine
Examination of the most significant medical theories and practices in the period from the Egyptian temple physicians to the doctors of the Roman Empire. Special attention will be given to Hippocrates and Galen.
x-listing: CLSX 244

HIST 245: Greek History
An examination of the development of Greek history and culture from earliest times up to the death of Alexander of Macedon.
x-listing: CLSX 245

HIST 246: Hellenistic History (not presently offered)
A survey of Mediterranean history from the death of Alexander until the accession of Octavian and the establishment of the Roman principate.
x-listing: CLSX 246

HIST 247: History of the Roman Principate (not presently offered)
Study of the consolidation of the Roman imperial structure from Augustus to the death of Commodus.
x-listing: CLSX 247

HIST 248: History of the Late Roman Empire (not presently offered)
Examination of Roman History from the accession of Severus to the death of Justinian.
x-listing: CLSX 248

HIST 251: African History
This course covers African history from 1800 to the present. The focus includes such topics as African contacts with the outside world (including Europe and Indian Ocean world), the development of African societies in the face of increased European penetration, the "scramble for Africa" in the late nineteenth century, European imperialism and the African response, decolonization, and, finally, the major political, economic, and social challenges facing modern Africa. The information discussed includes economic, political, social, and military themes in order to provide students with a fuller understanding of the complex nature of modern African history.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listings: IR 251 and AFST 251

HIST 253: Rise of Constantine and Christianity
A tracing of the development of Christianity from its unique origins in the Roman province of Judea and the reasons for its growth throughout the entire empire. Students will examine why Christianity appealed to various ancient peoples, why traditional Roman religion had ceased to appeal and how Constantine advanced his political regime along with his personal belief in Christianity. With this information, students will be able to understand the Catholic Church and the reason for its location in Rome as well as to review the Christianity of the Greek Orthodox Church.
x-listing: CLSX 250

HIST 254: The History of the Modern Middle East
A study of the modern Near East with concentration upon the conflict between imperialism and nationalism, traditionalism and western influences in the area.
x-listings: IR 253 and PJCR 254

HIST 256: Social History of China
This course examines the historical evolution of Chinese society and various aspects of social life in China. Subjects of study include philosophical and religious influences, major social institutions and customs, marriage and family, gender roles, education and employment, pastime and entertainment. An investigation will be conducted with particular attention to the relationships between tradition and modernity and between China and the West.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listing: IR 256

HIST 257: Russia before Communism
This course offers a broad survey of the rise of "Holy Russia" in the 9th century to the death of the "mad monk" Rasputin in 1916, but the focus is primarily on the rise and fall of imperial Russia from the 17th century to 1917. It examines the cultures and conflicts of the Tsars and serfs as it also looks at the wars to expand and secure the Russian state.
x-listing: IR 257

HIST 258: Bolshevik & Soviet Russia, 1917-1991
Russia underwent dynamic political and social changes between the October Revolution in 1917 to the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1922, and from World War II through the Cold War to the Union's collapse between 1985-1991. This course will explore how and why such changes occurred.
x-listing: IR 258

HIST 260: Old Central Europe
The medieval and early modern history of the small nations situated between Russia and Germany on the east and west, and the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas on the north and the south.

HIST 261: Modern Central Europe
This course covers the fascinating modern history of the lands situated between Germany and Russia focusing on diverse ethnic groups, such as Poles, Croats, Slovaks, Serbs, Slovenes, Ukrainians, and Hungarians. The major themes include struggles for national independence, the impact of Soviet control after World War II, and the reassertion of national sovereignty after the end of the Cold War.
x-listing: IR 261

HIST 262: Modern Germany
This course examines German history from 1871 to the present. Topics covered include European imperialism, World War I, the Weimar Republic, Hitler and the rise of National Socialism, World War II, the Holocaust, post-World War II reconstruction, East and West Germany in the Cold War, West Germany's role in European integration, the student rebellion of 1968, the revolution of 1989, and the changes in unified Germany after the collapse of Communism. In line with recent trends in transnational and global history, we will also analyze Germany's manifold connections with the rest of Europe and the world. We will engage with a variety of sources, including films, images, fiction, memoirs, diaries, party and state documents, and secondary accounts.
x-listings: IR 262

HIST 264: America and Antiquity
This course begins with the Constitution of the USA, and the thinking of the founders who wrote it (especially the Federalist Papers). It then shows their debt to ancient Greek and Roman authors (Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Plutarch, and Tacitus, among others). One goal is therefore to appreciate the intellectual history that influenced the founders, but another is to understand and assess the philosophical principles they sought to enshrine. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

HIST 265: England to 1715
This course recounts one of the great success stories of Western history: the rise of a remote island off the coast of Europe to the brink of global greatness. It will examine the development of her unique political system of parliamentary sovereignty, her economic and social strengths, her role in European politics, and her intellectual contributions to Western thought. The story is peopled with fascinating characters and England's institutions and ideas have had a fundamental impact on the United States.

HIST 266: Modern Britain
This course will examine the factors and forces of Great Britain 's internal development as well as its rise and subsequent relative decline as an imperial power in the world. It will study its unique political achievement of moving towards democracy without revolution. It will discuss the causes and course of its economic development. It will also describe the country's cultural contributions.

HIST 267: Uncovering Ireland (Duquesne in Dublin only)
This course provides an overview of Irish history from the arrival of Christianity up to modern times. Taking a document-based approach, the course will explore the complexities, themes and modern-day relevance of major issues and events in Irish history such as the plantations, penal laws, the famine, independence, partition, and the outbreak of the Northern Irish troubles in the 1960s and &lsquo70s. In covering the waves of conquest, conflict, migration, and settlement that have shaped the political and social composition of modern Ireland, the course aims to situate Ireland within the context of European and wider history. Additionally, aspects of Irish culture will be explored through examinations of sport, music, and literature in their modern context.

HIST 268: Historical Pilgrimages: The Case of Camino de Santiago, Spain
The Pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago is a one-semester survey of the historical force of religion and religious place. Through this historical pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, Spain, students will discover how and why this Spanish pilgrimage, impacted Catholics and the current global systems and explore these systems' consequences for humanity. This Pilgrimage, a Geography of Religion course, offers a review through reading various historical and religious literature, internet research, mapping, touring and observing, and students learn how religion and place intersect to create our world of diverse people and places.
Course Attributes: Global Diversity Theme Area

HIST 269: War in Film and Literature
How do film and literature shape our understanding of the upheavals of war? How do ordinary soldiers' perspectives differ from those of political and military leaders? What mythologies are created around war, and how have different writers and filmmakers promoted or challenged them? How have artists tried to represent the powerful psychological effects of war trauma? This interdisciplinary course uses movies, fiction, poetry, and memoirs to explore these and other questions. Particular wars to be studied include WWI, WWII and the Holocaust, the Cold War, the Algerian revolution, Vietnam, Israel's war in Lebanon, and the Iraq and Afghan wars. Films include Full Metal Jacket, The Hurt Locker, Dr. Strangelove, Three Kings, and The Battle of Algiers. Authors include American writers such as Tim O'Brien and European ones such as Primo Levi and Erich Maria Remarque.

HIST 270: Latin America: Conquest to Independence
A survey of Latin America from around 200 AD to the 1820s. The course begins with an in-depth look at the pre-Columbian Maya, Inca, and Aztec civilizations and their conquest by Spain. It then examines the socioeconomic, cultural, and political development of colonial Spanish and Portuguese society and the growing nationalistic tensions that led to the independence movement of the early 19th century.
x-listing: IR 270

HIST 271: Modern Latin America
A survey of Latin American history since the 1820s that emphasizes the socioeconomic and political development of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Cuba, and Central America. Some of the themes emphasized will be Latin American economic underdevelopment, military rule, revolution, democratization, Liberation Theology, and the impact of these larger issues on the lives of ordinary people.
x-listing: IR 271

HIST 277: History of Mexico
A survey of more than one thousand years of Mexican history beginning with the ancient Toltec, Mayan and Aztec civilizations and proceeding through the colonial period under Spanish rule. Emphasis is on Mexico since independence in the 1820s, especially political instability, the US-Mexican War, the Porfiriato, the 1910 Mexican Revolution, the PRI's seven decades of one-party rule, the transition to democracy, and NAFTA.
x-listing: IR 277

HIST 280: Greek Religion
In this class, we will examine the religious practices and beliefs of the ancient Greeks from the 8th century to the 3rd century BCE. The course presents a detailed introduction to the known data about ancient practices and beliefs while contextualizing them within other societal, political and cultural aspects of Greek life. Students learn to analyze literary, epigraphical, and archaeological data pertaining to Greek religious experience.
Course Attribute: Theme Area Faith and Reason
x-listing: CLSX 280

HIST 284: The Global 1960s: Youth Revolt and the Conservative Response
This class focuses on the 1960s in a global context, with a particular emphasis on Europe, Latin America, and the United States. We will trace the rise of mass movements dedicated to racial, economic, and sexual justice, against the backdrop of the Cold War and decolonization. We will first examine the structural developments of the postwar years that allowed the protest movements to develop. We will then turn to particular sites of protest, including Berkeley, Paris, Berlin, Chicago, Prague, and Mexico City, in order to gain an understanding of how these specific events were embedded in contingent national histories, discussions about identity, and positions in the geography of the Cold War. Key themes of the course that permeated all of these uprisings include civil rights, anti-war agitation, student protest, and counter-cultural experiences. Arguably just as important as the "new social movements" growing out of the 1960s were "conservative" responses taking shape during the 1970s. Thus our course will examine both the progressive and the conservative legacy of the global 1960s.

HIST 288C: Political History of Contemporary Africa
The course has two main subjects: leadership and Africa. Using case studies of a range of political and grassroots leaders, students investigate major social and political challenges in sub-Saharan African societies. In addition to biographical readings and films about leaders dealing with key social and political challenges, the course emphasizes scholarly perspectives as a way of understanding African societies and how leaders develop and effect change. Comparative perspectives on African countries in relation to developing countries on other continents will serve to highlight myths and realities of 21st century Africa. The course affords students the opportunity to research and write on particular African leaders and organizations working to change society. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

HIST 291: History of Japan
This is a survey of Japanese history from antiquity to the present time. Examined are origins of the Japanese nation, the interplay between indigenous elements and outside influences in the making of Japanese culture and institutions, challenges of the modern age and Japanese reactions, militarism and imperialism, the "miracle" of post-war economic recovery and growth, as well as the ongoing dialogue between tradition and modernity in a rapidly changing world.
x-listing: IR 291

HIST 292: History of Traditional China
This course surveys Chinese history from antiquity to mid-19th century. It traces the evolution of Chinese civilization, investigates major themes and aspects of this process, and examines traditional China in larger historical and cultural contexts to see how the Chinese experience, with its accomplishments and problems, relates to the modern age and outside world.
Course Attributes: Core Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listing: IR 292

HIST 293: History of Modern China
This is a survey of Chinese history examines the post-1840 period. Issues examined include the fate of traditional China in modern times, China's relationship with the West, war, and revolution, Mao and the communist movement, reform and economic expansion in the post-Mao era and their efforts on China and the world.
x-listing: IR 293 and PJCR 293

HIST 294: China Today
This course introduces students to China in the contemporary era. After the death of the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong in 1976, China went through historic changes that led to the rise of China as the world's second-largest economy and the significant liberalization of the country. At the same time, China has been confronted with lingering problems and new challenges, including continued political authoritarianism, increasing economic disparity, social tension and cultural uncertainty, as well as issues of environmental sustainability. China's national experience in the past few decades offers important lessons for the larger world as it struggles with modernization. Course suitable for students wishing to acquire a basic knowledge of China in recent times.
Course Attribute: Theme Area Global Diversity
x-listing: IR 294

HIST 299: History Special Survey
This course provides a historical survey of a region or country offered by a regular or visiting instructor that is not normally covered in the department's listings. This designation may also be applied for one course transferred for credit from another institution if that course does not correspond to one of our offerings but does fit 200-level requirements.

Topical and Intensive Survey Courses

HIST 300: Women and Gender in Africa In this course we will explore scholarship on women and gender in africa in a historical context. As social construction, gender is negotiated and renegotiated throughout time and space. From the colonial era to today, women's experiences have not only been shaped by their environments, but they have been responsible for shaping their political, economic and social environments. Examining gendered histories is important because it explores gendered understandings of rights and responsibilities in society, as well examines how gender, including feminitiy and masculinity, is not static. As internal and external forces necessitate, i.e. imperialism, gender roles within families and in communities change. Themes such as power, gerontocracies, law, motherhood, manhood, feminism and others will be covered in this course. x-listing: WGS, AFST, IR, PJCR

HIST 301: African American History I: Africans to African Americans, 1619-1865
This course reviews the African origins of black Americans, the middle passage, the development of plantation slavery, and the many historical changes that shaped African-American life and culture thereafter-from the Revolution to the Civil War. Topics include the impact of the Revolution on African-American life the gradual decline of slavery in the post-Revolutionary North and the development of a free black community there antebellum slavery, slave culture, and slave resistance the black abolitionist movement and African-American freedom struggles during the Civil War and Reconstruction. (With departmental or advisor approval, this course may be taken in lieu of HIST 203 for the History Major.)
x-listing: PJCR 301

HIST 302: African American History II: Emancipation to Equality, 1865-present
The course emphasizes Black Americans' creation of a unique culture of struggle and resistance as they sought to give "freedom" meaning. It begins with the emancipation and reconstruction experiences and moves to a sustained consideration of migration processes, the development of Jim Crow and the "Nadir" and the emergence of protest movements and leaders throughout the twentieth century. Key issues include the changing status of African-American women, the emergence of black Americans in the professions, the dynamic dimensions of black popular culture, black protest movements and diverse black ideologies such as Afrocentricity and Nationalism, and an assessment of the current urban crisis. (With departmental or advisor approval, this course may be taken in lieu of HIST 204 for the History Major.)

HIST 303: Violence in U.S. Society
This course examines the historical significance of violence in America with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. It will examine the ways that violence has proven an indispensable part of American history, i.e. the ways that violence has become, in the words of Civil Rights activist H. Rap Brown, "just as American as cherry pie." The course considers political, economic, religious, psychological and social factors that can help to explain the prevalence of violence in our nation's history.
x-listing: PJCR 303

HIST 305: Rome: Emperors, Popes, and Saints
This course examines the history and culture of the city of Rome from the classical and imperial age to the sixteenth century. A focus will be placed on the institutions and historical figures that have been prominent in the shaping of the city and its history. The course highlight is a one-week, on-site learning tour of Rome during Spring Break.

HIST 307: History of Science
This course will concentrate on the developments in science since the 17th century. It will examine the development of modern scientific thought and the impact that scientific discoveries have had on the modern world.

HIST 309: The Scientific Revolution
Between the end of the fifteenth and the end of the seventeenth centuries, the Western understanding of the natural world was transformed in ways that have probably done more than anything else to shape the world we live in today. This course will cover the well-known elements of that scientific revolution, including the discoveries of scientists like Galileo, Boyle, and Newton, and the philosophical theories of Bacon and Descartes. However, it will devote equal attention to the context of that transformation, including the social world of early modern science, developments in fields like natural history and alchemy, and political and economic factors influencing scientific theory and practice. Students will gain an understanding of the intricate complexity of the developing scientific enterprise.

HIST 312: Pompeii & Cities of Vesuvius
A study of the eruption of Vesuvius and the human settlements it buried. We will investigate the history of Pompeii and the snapshot its destruction provides for life in a Roman city. We will consider domestic life and the space of the home, urban planning and infrastructure, civic centers, entertainment complexes, sanctuaries, and cemeteries. We will compare Pompeii with other sites located on the slopes of Vesuvius, including Herculaneum, several wealthy villas, and the agricultural sites of the north slopes.
x-listing: CLSX 325

HIST 315W: Archaeological History of the Ancient Greek World
A survey of the archaeology of Greece from pre-history to the Roman period.
x-listings: CLSX 315 and ARHY 315

HIST 317: Roman Archaeology
A survey of the archaeology of Italy from pre-history to the middle fourth century A.D.
x-listings: CLSX 317 and ARHY 317

HIST 319W: Archaeological History: Seminar
Possible topics include the Bronze Age Aegean, the development of Vase Paintings, the Etruscans, etc.
x-listings: CLSX 319W and ARHY 319W

HIST 320: Colonial America
This course explores the "New Worlds" of North America from the 1500s to 1763. Although there is an emphasis on the English colonies, it also examines the dynamic societies of and relationships between other Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans as they met new challenges on the continent.
Course Attributes: Core Theme Area Global Diversity

HIST 321: American Revolution
Students examine what caused American colonists to war for independence from Great Britain and create a new nation. Besides examining social and military issues, this course surveys the political ideologies espoused by the revolutionaries from 1763 to the ratification of the Constitution in 1788 and the addition of the Bill of Rights in 1791.

HIST 322: Jesus of Nazareth: History and Theology
Jesus of Nazareth is the most historically important and influential person who has ever lived. Over the centuries, billions of people have believed this 1st-century Jewish man to be the incarnation (or "enfleshment") of God and to be powerfully alive, present, and active today. Many non-Christians also admire him for his teachings and religious significance. This course will be an extensive study of the life of Jesus of Nazareth as it is given in our best historical sources about his life: the four Gospels in the New Testament. By placing Jesus in the historical setting of 1st-century Palestinian Jewish life under Roman rule, we seek to grasp what the words, deeds, and events of his earthly life would have meant in his own day. In doing so, we will also attend to the ways in which the four evangelists receive and interpret the figure of Jesus in their Gospels. Our goal will be to arrive at a better understanding of this most historically important individual, whom Christians believe to be God become human.
x-listing: THEO 321

HIST 327: War for Independence: Continental Army, Congress, and People
In 1775 American rebels created a Continental Army to defend their interests against British imperial administration. Over the next eight years, the revolutionaries developed and deployed that army as they created a nation. In the midst of political, social and military crises, the revolutionaries identified and coordinated elements of national power to achieve the objectives of self-government and state independence. American revolutionary leaders resolved political, diplomatic, informational, military, economic and financial, and legal elements as they created national institutions and military strategies. As the establishment of the Continental Army was the birth of the United States Army, examinations of its constitution, composition, and challenges provide avenues by which to investigate the modern force's early modern foundations. Students will investigate ideas, issues, persons, and events in case studies focused on civil-military relations: political and military challenges and objectives as the insurgency became a state-to-state war the juxtaposition of nationhood and strategy the military as a social construct leadership military law and ethics. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

HIST 328: Early Republic: U.S., 1789-1850
This course covers the numerous challenges that the new American nation faced when its survival seemed in doubt. As they struggled to establish the federal government, the founders also had to face the conflict between Great Britain and France that would eventually entangle the United States in its first major war. After the War of 1812, the nation turned inward to confront economic development, democratization, and the growing impact of slavery. Americans struggled with powerful waves of social change. As the nation expanded across the continent, political conflict grew, as party leaders like Jackson, Clay, Webster, and Calhoun sought compromise on the issues that would eventually lead to civil war.

HIST 329: Pennsylvania and the American Nation
A history of Pennsylvania's societies and politics from the experience of its Native American peoples and European settlement, through its roles in the French and Indian War, American Revolution, and other national crises, to its rapid industrial development in the 19th century and its modern challenges of urban centers to the east and west and rural middle.

HIST 332: Politics of Immigration
This course explores the challenges of immigrant incorporation in an increasingly transnational world. Through comparative case studies drawn from the European and American contexts, as well as community-engaged learning activities with Pittsburgh partner institutions, students gain both a theoretical and practical exposure to the difficulties that both immigrant groups and policymakers face regarding immigrant incorporation.

HIST 333: American Women in History
This class traces the history of women's roles and women's lives from the time of the American Revolution to the present. In these years ideals of female behavior and the opportunities available to women have changed dramatically. Through lectures, readings, and discussions, students will consider the nature and cause of these changes.
x-listing: WSGS 333

HIST 335: Crime & Criminality: Early Modern Europe
The period from 1450 to 1800 was a golden age of fraud, violence, and other crime in Europe--not to mention activities we no longer consider criminal, or even possible, like heresy and witchcraft. This course examines the rich and often bizarre records of this criminality, in court records and in fiction, in order to understand how early modern societies, and rulers' attempts to police them, functioned and failed.

HIST 336: Catholic Church to 1800
This course will examine organization, practices, doctrines, and role in society of the Roman Catholic Church from the time it emerged into legality under Emperor Constantine to its uneasy reconciliation with the Emperor Napolean a millennium and a half later. Questions investigated include missionary endeavors dissent and heresy the changing nature of the papacy, episcopacy, priesthood, and religious orders church-state relations gender roles and theologians and universities.

HIST 338: Christianity & Islam: Contending Cultures
For over a thousand years, these two great monotheistic religions, and the civilizations built upon them have challenged each other throughout the globe. This course examines, in particular, the clash between Christianity and Islam in Europe and the Near East.

HIST 340: History of Western Law
Primary emphasis will be placed on the rise of customary law, from its roots in ancient times until the modern era.

HIST 342: War in the Pre-Modern Era
This course examines how and why warfare effected western societies. It will look at the traditional components of military history but will also examine the wider issues concerning the way warfare has influenced politics, social arrangements, economics, and technology.
x-listing: PJCR 342

HIST 346: World War II
World War II was, simply put, "the largest single event in human history." This course will examine its causes, course, and consequences. While the military aspects of the conflict will be discussed in detail, the human factors, political realities, and social effects will also be covered.
x-listing: PJCR 346

HIST 347: War in Modern Society
A study and analysis of the phenomenon of war in the Western World from the Age of Napoleon to the present, with special emphasis upon the interrelationship between international conflict and social, political, and technological change.
x-listing: IR 347 and PJCR 347

HIST 348: History of Human Trafficking in a Global Context
This course will survey the social, economic, political and cultural conditions that enable human trafficking. From the Trans-Atlantic slave trade to current day human trafficking, issues relating to the illegal transfer of men, women, and children throughout the world will be analyzed. During this course, students will gain a better understanding of specific terms, such as modern-day slavery, child labor, forced labor, smuggling and sex slavery. The material presented will also offer an understanding of how race, class, and gender are useful tools by which to understand human trafficking as a global phenomenon.
Course Attributes: Theme Area: Social Justice and Global Diversity
x-listing: IR 344, AFST 304, and PJCR 348

HIST 351: U.S. Foreign Relations to WWI
An examination of the history of American foreign relations from the American Revolution to WWI. This is a study of the nation's exercise of sovereignty in foreign affairs, its rise to world power, and the internal and external conflicts that resulted.
x-listing: IR 351 and PJCR 351

HIST 352: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1917
The United States emerged as a major player on the world stage during and after World War I. This course will discuss the role that the country has played in international relations during the course of the 20th century and will also examine the domestic implications of the United States' rise to world dominance.
x-listing: IR 352

HIST 358: Civil War and Reconstruction
An intensive study of the American experience from the roots of the sectional conflict in the expansion of the United States through the struggle over slavery, the War itself, and the controversies over the restoration of the Union.

HIST 362: Civil Rights: Jim Crow to Present
The Civil Rights movement stands out as one of the most significant social and political developments of 20th-century American history. This movement, or rather collection of movements, ushered in major transformations in American life, in law, in social relations, and in the role of government. This course will examine the modern African-American freedom struggle, the legacy and modern implications of this movement, and other parallel or connected movements such as women's suffrage and rights, as well as other ethnic and class struggles.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice
x-listing: PJCR 362

HIST 364: History of Sexuality in the United States, 1820-2000
This course will explore the history of how people in the United States identified themselves sexually and engaged in sexual behavior from the early nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. We will focus on representations of sexuality in popular texts ranging from sensational fiction to sermons, from advice manuals to advertisements and twentieth-century sex-ed films. We will consider issues such as the emergence of a gay identity in the late nineteenth century, changes in reproductive technologies, sexual violence, prostitution, male and female body ideals, marriage, courtship and dating culture, and many other related topics.
x-listing: WSGS 364

HIST 370: Empire in Modern History
This course examines one of one of the most persistent and controversial aspects of modern history - the tendency of powerful nations to build empires and maintain them at almost any cost. "Empire in Modern History" raises important historical questions about the exercise of power, the use of trade as an imperializing force, notions of race and cultural superiority, the creation of the "third world," decolonization, and the lingering effects of imperialism into the twenty-first century. While the most famous "old" empires of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries sprang from western Europe, this course also analyzes the "new" empires of Japan, the Soviet Union, and the United States, all of which became very powerful in the twentieth century.
x-listing: PJCR 370

HIST 371: Western European Transformations, 1815-1990s
The course begins with the establishment of the German Confederation in 1815, moves through the formal unification of Germany in 1871, and on to the "Deutsche Einheit" (German Unity) of 1990. While Germany is a central focus, other Western European nations also figure prominently as the class focuses on such developments as the emergence of civil society, political radicalism, industrialism, urbanization, and imperialism. The course will also address the evolution of European diplomacy with special attention to the great power rivalries, the impact of nationalism and mass politics, and the interplay between military and economic power.

HIST 372: The Holocaust in Modern History
This course deals with one of the most significant and controversial events of the 20th century: the Nazi effort to totally annihilate Europe's Jews. That one of the most advanced nations embarked on the horrific policy of genocide gives the event a special place in modern history and raises a number of fundamental questions about the very nature of western civilization.
x-listing: PJCR 372

HIST 373: Populism in Europe after 1945
Populism is a current political buzzword. It is central to debates about politics, from radical right parties in Europe to left-wing presidents in Latin America to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the United States. At the same time, debates about populism often suffer from a lack of terminological precision and of historical grounding. This class will provide both. We will first discuss a number of approaches to populism before turning to a variety of examples in both Eastern and Western Europe. These include the National Front in France and its emergence in the wake of the Algerian War, the Freedom Party in Austria and its links to National Socialism, the Italian Social Movement as a post-fascist party, and examples of authoritarian populism in Eastern Europe after the collapse of Communism.

HIST 374: The Vietnam Era
The purpose of this course is to create awareness among students of the significance of the Vietnam War in the recent history of the United States. Although the war is over thirty years old, its legacy has loomed over America foreign policy, American consciousness, and the American psyche since its happening.
x-listing: IR 374 and PJCR 374

HIST 376: Revolution: Modern Latin America
The course begins with an analysis of different revolutionary theories, followed by an in-depth examination of the Mexican, Cuban, Chilean, and Nicaraguan revolutions of the 20th century. Unsuccessful guerilla movements in Guatemala and Colombia, as well as successful, peaceful social movements pertaining to women's rights, also will be examined.
x-listing: IR 376 and PJCR 376

HIST 378: Modern Africa: Independence and Issues
The history of independent Africa is a turbulent one, filled with wars, political upheavals, social disasters and unrest, economic calamities and a smattering of great successes. This course covers a variety of topics in the history of Africa from the independence movements of the post Second World War era to the present. Topics include, but are not limited to the following: the gaining of African independence, Africa during the Cold War, various military, political and social conflicts that plague modern Africa, the role of the United Nations and the African Union in creating political and economic stability in present-day Africa, the successes of various African nations at creating stable and economically viable states, and finally what the future holds for Africa. These topics will be examined through a variety of perspectives such as ethnicity, political, religious, economic and social factors.
x-listing: IR 378

HIST 379: East Asia and the U.S.
This course introduces students to the history of East Asia' s interactions with the United States. Among subjects examined are the political, economic and cultural contexts in which China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam encountered America nationalist and imperialist struggles in the Far East and US involvement the experience of American Christian missions in the region Communist revolutions in East Asia and US policies East Asia's economic "miracle" and its effects on the U.S. and current challenges to peoples of the trans-Pacific community.
x-listing: IR 379

HIST 381: East Asian History through Film
This course examines East Asia by utilizing both texts and feature films. It is a combination of general survey and topical study, covering major stages and themes in the development of Chinese and Japanese civilizations from ancient times through the modern era.
x-listing: IR 381

HIST 382: Latin American History through Film
This course examines the last 500 years of Latin American history and uses feature films as its primary source. One-third of the semester will be devoted to the colonial period (the 1490s to 1820s), and the remaining two-thirds will focus on modern Latin America (1820s to present). The course and films emphasize Latin America's social and cultural evolution.

HIST 385: American Wests: Lands, Legends, Peoples
The heart of the North American continent was the stage for and challenge to empires and individuals seeking their destinies. The land and its diverse peoples from all over the globe-Native Americans, Chinese pioneers, Spanish soldiers and farmers, French trappers and traders, American miners and ranchers, and other actors-played dynamic parts in the epic of the American West. This course introduces students to multicultural contacts and conflicts on the borderlands between empires, nations, and peoples, the processes of community and cultural development in the West, and how the history of the West has appeared in the popular imagination.

HIST 386: The American South
This course offers an examination of a distinctive region that illuminates the construction of not only southern culture but of American civilization.

HIST 387: Native American History
This course focuses on Native American societies and the nature of their contact and conflicts with European settler societies and then the United States from the 1490s to the 1880s. The course also surveys general cultural continuities and changes with reference to selected Eastern Woodlands and Plains tribes and nations.
Course Attributes: Theme Area Social Justice
x-listing: PJCR 387

HIST 388: U.S. Since 1945
A discussion of selected contemporary issues, foreign and domestic, which illustrate the identity crisis in the U.S.

HIST 390: 20th Century Political Leadership
The 20th century saw a remarkable number of great leaders, both the good and the evil, in all parts of the world. This course will examine such world-altering figures as Hitler and Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, Mao and Gandhi, all of whom left their mark on our world.

HIST 391: U.S.: 1917 to 1945
This course studies the changes in American society from World War I to the end of World War II. Both domestic developments and foreign affairs will be covered. As the topic demands, events and circumstances outside the US will be treated. Domestically, the social, political, and economic changes that occurred during these years will be discussed in detail.

HIST 392: Germany: From Kaiser to Hitler
The history of Germany from the collapse of the empire to the destruction of the Third Reich. Emphasizing the political, social, and economic aspects of the German Experience.
x-listing: IR 392

HIST 394: Historical Geography
A survey of the physical world which is the basis for a human civilization, past present, and future. What are the possibilities and limitations of different places for human development? How successful or unsuccessful were human settlements? Emphasis also on geography as an intellectual discipline and cultural phenomenon.
x-listing: HIST 502 and IR 394

HIST 395: Pittsburgh: Place, Peoples, and Urban America
The course moves from the conflicts over control of the forks of the Ohio and through the eras of farms and forts, furnaces and industry, to explore the creation and growth of the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding area. Pittsburgh was not only one of the original gateways to the West but a pioneer in industrial and urban America. This course will examine Pittsburgh's cultural as well as social, political, and economic developments.

HIST 396: Public History: Peoples' Pasts
This course is about preserving, interpreting, and presenting history outside of academe. In looking at representations of the past beyond the classroom, students learn why and how peoples, in this case, the American public, look at history the way that they do. Is public history supposed to be a matter of celebration, commemoration, or something else? While examining such issues, students will also survey various specializations across the field of Public History, including current museum, archival, archaeological, and historical preservation theories and practices. Students will also assist a community partner in a history project. (This qualifies as a service-learning course.)
x-listing: ARHY 396

HIST 397 Museum-History
This course will offer an introduction to the history of museums and curatorial practices, from the first cabinets of curiosities into the contemporary period. In addition to learning the history of how objects have been gathered, displayed, and interpreted within exhibition spaces, students will also study museums as powerful forces in society that enforce and encapsulate relationships of power. This course will consider evolving categories of museums including the art museum, the "national" museum, as well as natural history, science and children's museums. Lecture. Offered irregularly.

HIST 399: History Special Topics
A topical exploration offered by a regular or visiting instructor that is not normally covered in the department's listings. This designation may also be applied for one course transferred for credit from another institution if that course does not correspond to one of our offerings but does fit 300-level requirements.

Advanced Courses

Courses at the 400-level require that students have taken the appropriate 200-level survey courses (such as the American or Western Civilization surveys), as well as HIST 311W: Writing History. The "W" indicates that it is a writing-intensive course.

HIST 401W: Medieval Europe
An exploration of the elements which, taken together, comprise the culture of the Middle Ages.
x-listing: HIST 501

Medieval Gynecology: HIST 406
An investigation into Greco-Roman, Early-Christian, and Medieval gynecological theories and practices. Sources include medical writers, philosophers, and theologians.
x-listing: HIST 506, CLSX 406/506

HIST 411W: Early Modern Europe
This course will investigate major issues in the history of Europe from c.1450-1789. Themes may include the impact of the New World and globalized trade the Protestant Reformation and its Catholic counterparts the development of modern states and political systems and the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment. Specific attention to artistic and cultural developments and evolving conceptions of class and gender roles.
x-listing: HIST 511

HIST 413W: Renaissance Europe: Courts and Nobles
This course will examine the life and culture of the early modern European aristocracy, particularly in the princely and royal courts of the period. From the Medici of Florence to Queen Elizabeth of England and Louis XIV of France, the courts of this ear were scenes of opulence, great literature, and brutal conflict, and have fascinated historians for centuries. Topics will include the social foundations of the nobility ideology and political thought artistic and literary culture sex and gender and warfare, violence, and dueling.
x-listing: HIST 513

HIST 415W: Renaissance and Reformation Europe
The transformative movements that molded western civilization - the Renaissance and the Reformation - will be the subjects of this course. Particular attention will be paid to the changing understanding of human beings and their relationship to this world and their God. The social and political impact of these movements will be studied.

HIST 417W: Europe: Reason and Revolution
An examination of the history of Europe between 1648 to 1815, this course will concentrate on the rise of absolutism as personified by Louis XIV, the intellectual developments of the Enlightenment, the social and economic changes that underlay and undercut the ancient regime, and the great cataclysm of the French Revolution that ushered in the modern world.

HIST 420: History of Children and Childhood
History of Children and Childhood will survey how notions of &lsquochildren' and &lsquochildhood' expanded alongside the formalization of social science scholarship that focused on children. The study of children as historical subjects is necessary to fully understand the complexities of social, cultural, economic, and political histories worldwide. This class will examine the social construction of &lsquochildhood' in various global contexts from the 1920s to today. During the 1920s, health specialists, child advocates, human rights activists, educators, and historians made evident their interest in children's health programs, access to education, and child labor conditions. In examining the outcomes of those inquiries this course will survey how notions of childhood expanded alongside the growth of scholarship on children.
x-listing: HIST 520, AFST 420, and AFST 520

HIST 428W: British Empire
This course will examine some of the major political, social, economic, and cultural aspects of the history of the British Empire since 1783. These include the abolition of slavery, the impact of industrialization on the empire, imperial wars, the expansion of empire into Africa, the world wars in an imperial context, and decolonization. Different historiographic themes will be analyzed in different semesters.
x-listing: HIST 528 and IR 428W

HIST 430W: The Atlantic World, 1450s-1750s
The Atlantic Ocean was a great conduit of not just peoples, but of products, pests, pestilence, and ideas. Changes in Europe fostered exploration and colonization, which in turn promoted the development of empires, conflicts over trade and territories, and social and cultural innovations. This course examines some of the issues that connected and divided countries and peoples along the Atlantic rim in the Early Modern Era.
x-listing: HIST 530

HIST 433W: Gender in U.S. History
This class focuses in on several key issues in the development of gender roles in North American from the colonial era through the present. While the bulk of the class will concern the evolving roles of women, we will also consider men's history and the history of sexuality.
x-listing: HIST 533, WSGS 433W, and WSGS 533

HIST 441W: American Painting and Sculpture
Selected topics in 18th, 19th, and early 20th century American Art History are examined in the context of social, political, cultural and economic issues. Topic examples include: The Changing American Landscapes in the 19th Century American Portraiture American Impressionism American Women Artists The Rise of American Art Academies Art Criticism and Patronage, Exhibitions, and Museum Institutions.
x-listing: ARHY 441W and HIST 541

HIST 442W: American Architecture
American architectural developments have been both dynamic and complex. This course provides students with a historical overview of North America's built environment from earthen houses to the concrete jungle. Lectures present noteworthy architectural styles, building types, and construction innovations from the pre-contact to modern eras, with attention also given to America's prominent architects and theorists. Students will learn what is distinctively "American" about the built environment. Students will assess what this continent's cities, landscapes, and buildings tell us about the American people. Students will gain tools for reading and understanding the architectural landscape as a way to "see" better America's pasts and present.
x-listing: ARHY 442W and HIST 542

HIST 443: American Decorative Arts
A survey of the decorative arts in the United States from the seventeenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. In addition to considering style and production techniques, this course will investigate the social and cultural context within which such works were created and displayed.
x-listing: ARHY 443 and HIST 543

HIST 447W: History of Human Rights from the 19th Century to Present
World War I spurred a new era of humanitarianism, which ultimately led to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This course will cover the history of Human Rights as it developed from early 19TH CENTURY notions of charity to that of TODAY&rsquoS inalienable rights. The assigned readings will explore how the consequences of war, famine, disease and historical legacies of slavery and colonialism pushed humanitarians to consider others who lived within and outside of their respective nation states. Contemporary Human Rights efforts will be examined from a historical perspective, taking into consideration various legal, political, religious and philosophical applications.

HIST 448W: World at War
This topical course examines one or both of the world wars of the early twentieth century. The instructor may choose to focus on just one of the conflicts in depth (for example, just World War I) or provide a comparative study of both. In either case, the course examines the diplomacy leading up to, through, and concluding the conflict(s). It also explores the cultural and social changes, technological innovations, and political revolutions that contributed to and were part of the European struggles that became global battles.
x-listing: HIST 548 and PJCR 448W

HIST 449W: 20th Century political Leadership
This course takes a biographical approach to understanding 20th-century world leaders and may focus on Winston Churchill, Vladimir Lenin, Vaclav Havel, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Mao Zedong, Nelson Mandela, Wangari Maathai (Kenyan environmentalist), and Michelle Bachelet (Chilean president). We will highlight the historical contexts in which individual leaders lived and the mentors and experiences that influenced their development, understand what motivated their actions, and examine the impact they had. We will consider the sources of leaders' influence and the qualities of effective leadership.
x-listing: HIST 549

HIST 450W: The Cold War
This seminar examines the development of the Cold War from its ideological and political origins in the first half of the twentieth century through its expansion into the developing world to its sudden and unexpected end in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The course will go beyond an examination of Great Power politics by focusing on its intersection with developments such as decolonization and European integration, on its smaller (yet still important) actors, and on the Cold War's domestic and cultural dimensions.
x-listing: HIST 550, IR 450W, and PJCR 450W

HIST 452W: Modern Germany 1872-1991
Since the 1870s, arguably, no other country has left more of an impression on the continent of Europe, if not the world, than Germany. The issues raised by Germany's rise to power, from colonial questions to the Treaty of Versailles, from fascism to the Holocaust, dominated world politics and war from the turn of the century through 1945. Efforts to ensure that human societies would not repeat German mistakes have had an equally profound impact The European Union, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations, all owe their existence to the German legacy. This course will examine the history of Germany from its first unification (1871) to its second (1991). Our aim is twofold: First, to learn, in detail, the history of a people who lived through two Empires, three Republics, and three World Wars. Second, to unearth all the ways that German history has made us - i.e., how this history is concealed in the ways we think about ethics, politics, and culture today.
x-listing: HIST 552

HIST 461W: African American History: Multiple Voices
An examination of the experiences of African Americans in the United States beginning with Antebellum slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, turn of the century America, the Civil Rights movement, and their continuing struggle to attain true equality in American society. This course will examine these topics primarily through the exploration of key political and autobiographical texts including the works of David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Marcus Garvey, Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Elaine Brown, and others.
x-listing: HIST 561 and PCJR 461W

HIST 463W: American Presidents and the Constitution
This course will examine the intersection between the presidency and the Constitution through a unique lens. Cross-listed with the Law School, International Relations and History Departments.
x-listing: POSC 448 and IR 414W

HIST 465W: Reform in America
From its founding to the present day, the United States has been noted for the strength of its reform movements. Whether they were striving to end drinking, prostitution, political corruption, or slavery, to achieve rights for women or minorities, to stop unpopular wars, or to usher in a Christian or socialist utopia, reform-minded Americans have banded together to try to achieve political and social change. In this course, we will consider the membership, motives, rhetoric, tactics, and consequences of social movements.
x-listing: HIST 565 and PJCR 465W

HIST 470W: History of Urban America
This course examines the development of the American city with special focus upon changes in land-use patterns, social class arrangements, political organizations, mobility and migration, ecological patterns, industrial and commercial developments, transformation of the built environment, and the creation of a national urban policy.
x-listing: HIST 570

HIST 472W: Work and Enterprise in American History
An analysis of the forces which have shaped American industrialization, focusing on the impact of unionization and the development of big business on the everyday lives of Americans from pre-industrial craftsmen to industrial workers.
x-listing: HIST 572

HIST 473W: U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History (summer)
A survey of major movements in thought and culture including religion, science, the arts, and philosophy, including moral, political, and economic thought.
x-listing: HIST 573

HIST 482W: Inter-American Relations
An examination of U.S.-Latin American relations since the mid-19th century. Topics covered will include Manifest Destiny and the U.S.-Mexican War, the Spanish-Cuban-American War of 1898, the construction of the Panama Canal, U.S. economic and military penetration of the Caribbean and Central America, the Good Neighbor policy, the CIA-backed coup in Guatemala, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic, the Contra War in Nicaragua, NAFTA, Latin American migration to the U.S., and Narco traffic.
x-listing: HIST 582 and IR 482W

HIST 483W: Mexico and the U.S.
This course focuses on U.S.-Mexican relations since the 19th century and covers the Texas rebellion and annexation, the U.S.-Mexican War, American economic penetration during the Porfiriato, U.S. military intervention in the Mexican Revolution, the expropriation of American-owned lands and oil companies in the 1930s, Mexican migration to and repatriation from the U.S., the Mexican foreign debt crisis, the narcotics trade, NAFTA, and the Mexican immigrant community in the United States.
x-listing: HIST 583 and IR 483W

HIST 485W: China in Revolution
This course investigates changes in China during the 20th century, with a focus on the Chinese communist movement. Topics examined include the meaning of revolution in the Chinese context ideology, causes, events, and personalities of the Chinese revolution consequences and impact of the revolutionary movement.
x-listing: HIST 585, IR 485W, and PJCR 485W

HIST 488W: China and the West
This course explores China's encounters with the West from early times through the modern age, with an emphasis on cultural exchanges. It opens with a survey of Chinese history and Sino-Western interactions over time and then focuses on topics such as the Silk Road, the Chinese Empire and the Philosophes, Christianity in China, American influence and Chinese liberalism, Marxism and Chinese communist revolution, Chinese culture in the West and Western presence in China today.
x-listing: HIST 588 and IR 488W

HIST 492W: SPST: International Study
Varying topics reflecting the current interests of faculty and students and includes international travel.

Methods Courses

HIST 311W: Writing History
Required for all History majors. In this seminar course, students sharpen the skills necessary to the practice of history. Students will work on increasing their proficiency in analyzing and interpreting both primary and secondary sources, developing their research skills, and improving their writing.
x-listing: ARHY 311W

HIST 490: History Internship
This is a special elective for a history major interested in and qualified to apprentice with a history organization (archive, museum, or historical society). The student has to meet both College (2.5 GPA) and departmental (at least 2.7 in a minimum of 5 history courses) requirements to take the internship. To earn 3 credits the student must have 120 contact hours with the historical institution. Two credits require 80 contact hours, and 1 credit requires 50 contact hours. The student will also have a writing assignment. There is also the Liberal Arts internship, CLPRG 401, but it will not count for the major. For College procedures, see their website.

HIST 491W: Senior Honors Seminar
Students desiring to graduate with honors in History must take this class. Such students must first ask for permission to take this course. In this seminar, students review elements of historiography and writing and then pursue primary source research on a topic of their choice. They will write a lengthy research paper under close faculty direction.
x-listing: HIST 691

HIST 499W: Directed Reading: Selected Historical Topics (1-3 credits)
With permission from the Department and close consultation with a faculty member, students can undertake an in-depth exploration of a topic of their choice that culminates in either a lengthy primary-source-based research paper or a series of shorter papers that analyze secondary sources and support a historiographical understanding of that topic.

1. Being sewn inside a dead horse is not only disgusting, but lethal

This was a simple but effective way of killing people. The victim would first have their limbs broken to prevent escape, and would then be squashed and sewn into the belly of a dead horse. The carcass would then be left to rot outside the city, and abandoned to the animal kingdom&rsquos scavengers: jackals, wild dogs, wolves, vultures, depending on the part of the world where the practice was being carried out. These creatures would, hence, eat the victim alive &ndash provided that they were not already suffocated by the fumes of decomposition from the equine carcass itself. Absolutely revolting.

The punishment was common in the early years of Christianity, and is amongst the atrocities against Christian martyrs with which Nero is charged. An Ancient Greek version inflicted upon Christians is recorded in Lucian&rsquos Dialogues of the Dead. Lucian records were an assembly deliberating over how to punish and kill a Christian woman with maximum cruelty that decide to sew her inside a dead ass, with only her head exposed. Not only would she ‘be roasted in its belly&rsquo due to the hot Greek sun, they mused, but eaten alive by vultures and, crucially, ‘entirely unable to destroy herself&rsquo.

Fascinating History

Queen Nefertiti of Ancient Egypt, was said to be one of the most beautiful women of her time. Much of the details of her life are shrouded in mystery as are the circumstances of her death and where indeed her mummy was burried.

She was the wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, who later on called himself Akhenaten. Her name means "the beautiful one has come", which makes archaeologists wonder whether she had actually come to Egypt from elsewhere and was not Egytian at all. Others say she was the daughter of the nobleman Ay, who later became Pharaoh himself. No matter what her genealogy was, Nefertiti became a legend.

When her husband, after 4 years on the throne, decided to start worhiping the Aten a new god whose sympbol was the sun-disk, dismiss all other gods and moved the capital to the middle of the desert, building there a new city called Amarna, that really rubbed the priests of Amon up the wrong way. The royal couple made many enemies as they had brazenly changed the status quo in the most dramatic and unconformist way possible.
There is evidence to suggest that they reigned as co-rulers, something which really broke tradition as it was almsot unheard of at that point for a woman to be Pharaoh as well. In being Pharaoh, Nefertiti was also the most powerful as well as teh most beautiful woman of her time.

Shortly after the 14th year of their reign, Nefertiti's name dissapears from historical records and we can only assume that she died. However, there are those who believe that she reigned as Pharaoh under the name Smenkhare.

In June 2003 scientists led by Joann Fletcher from York University, claimed they had found the mummy of Nefertiti. However opinions on this matter remain divided. (See links below)


I'll say opinions are divided! Funny how the discover channel articles don't mention that Joan Fletcher was accused by Zahi Hawass, head of Egypts Supreme Council of Antiquities of pushing theory as fact.

He also said "the British team violated a contract that obligates archaeologists to announce any discoveries through the council and not independently."

You can read him here.

A pretty damning quote comes from Dr. Rosalie David in the same article. David writes

"Apart from electron microscopy of a head-louse found within one of the hairpieces that Joan Fletcher was studying, there was no specific scientific content to the research or the thesis. The electron microscopy was carried out by the university's electron microscopy unit (not by Joan Fletcher herself) and she was allowed to use the results in her thesis. Joan Fletcher received no training in anthropology or biomedical Egyptology or any other scientific techniques related to human remains, she was never involved in any of the work or research undertaken by the Manchester Egyptian Mummy Project, and indeed she showed no interest in the anthropological and biomedical research on the mummies that were undertaken at that time."

It would seem to me that in the rush to make a TV program and announce sensational information, proper academic procedures were neglected.

I saw that Dicsovery Channel documentary last night on Channel Five. It was indeed sensationalist and annoying as bits of information and specific phrases were repeated over and over again, as if they assumed the viewer is suffering from Alzeheimer's disease or something and cannot remember what the thing he/she is watching is about! Obviously tv producers have a very low opinion of viewers, feeling that they have a very short attention span and deserve to be treated thus.

I thought there was something strange about Fletcher and when I foudn out that she is a hair expert and not an Egyptologist I started to wonder. She struck me as someone who was too passionate about her subject, hence not considering all the available facts. Her methods were not very scientific as she came to a conclusion on the basis of an assumption and then in the end had to admit, most humiliatingly, that there is no real evidence to indicate that this mummy is indeed that of Nefertiti. I felt like I had wasted my time watching this..

I suspect you probably had wasted your time :-)

No point crying over spilt milk now. :-)))

Egyptian history freaks me out I have a hard time dealing with the idea of a culture that was as ancient to the Romans as the Romans are to us today.

Try this: The first dynasty in Egypt was in 3,100 B.C., by 2,613 B.C. the Step Pyramid of Djoser had been built and by 2,494 B.C. the Great Pyramid of Khufu (known as the Great Pyramid of Giza) had been built and the great temples at Luxor and Carnak had been built by 1,213 B.C.

There is a famous quote about the importance of history:

"To not know what happened before you were born is to forever be a child"

I'd say the bust of Nefertiti and the skull from which the computer reconstruction is based are two very different-looking women.

The bust looks to be of a woman from the East, which would explain her name - "the beautiful one has come" - which you say has made archaeologists wonder whether she had come to Egypt from elsewhere.

The skull looks to be North African. possibly Egyptian, of course, possibly from a nearby country.

Both are very beautiful, but with very different types of features, showing very different genetic origins.

Well. considering that
- Discovery channel is very a commercial channel focusing on popular science, which is very populistic
- Hawaz is an idiot
- amateur archaelogists from different areas of life have made discoveries earlier, not appreciated by "real" achaeologists. Just think about Heinrich Schliemann. I think the world is too focused on papers and rules and "this is the way we have always done it".

Now we know the mummy was not Nefertiti, but Nefertiti's sister-in-law, but that's pretty close for a "hairdresser" I think :-D

5 of the most legendary soldiers of United Kingdom’s Special Air Service

Posted On January 31, 2021 13:36:25

In the world of special operations, the UK’s Special Air Service (SAS) is as good as they come. They are the British government’s elite counterterrorism unit, specializing in rescuing hostages, covert reconnaissance and generally taking the fight to unsuspecting bad guys all over the world.

Formed during World War II, they were the blueprint for the U.S. Army Delta Force, Israel’s Sayaret Matkal, and almost any other special operations force the world over. After World War II, the elite SAS served in nearly every UK military action around the world, from hunting down communist rebels in Malaya to the Troubles in Northern Ireland and from the Falklands to the Global War on Terror.

In that time, the SAS has experienced its share of victories and setbacks, but its story only grows with each mission. With each mission there are always standout soldiers who overcome incredible odds in the face of the enemy – and become legends even among special operators.

1. Lt. Col. David Stirling

Stirling (Wikimedia Commons)

As an officer in the No. 8 Guards Commando, Stirling first saw action at the capture of Rhodes, and the Battles of Crete and Litani River. It was while fighting these pitched battles that he realized a small team of special soldiers could be much more effective, doing extreme damage with minimal casualties. The story of how he pitched the idea of creating the Special Air Service is worthy of an article of its own, but by 1941, the SAS was operating in North Africa.

Using stripped-down Jeeps and a new kind of demolition bomb, Stirling and his new SAS were wreaking havoc on Axis airfields across North Africa. German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel dubbed Stirling the “Phantom Major,” and was able to capture the British officer. After a series of escape attempts with mixed success, Stirling was finally captured for good and sent to Colditz Castle in Germany, where he spent the rest of World War II.

2. Sgt. Talaiasi Labalaba

In 1972, the SAS were sent to Oman to train the Sultan’s soldiers to fight a communist insurgency from neighboring Yemen. Defending a small fortification near the port city of Mirbat were nine SAS troopers with small arms and a Browning machine gun. The SAS soon realized that 300 communist fighters were making their way toward the house, but they weren’t close enough for the British troopers’ small arms to be effective.

Sgt. Talaiasi Labalaba ran out of the house to a 25-pounder artillery gun some 200 meters away and began to fire it at the oncoming human wave. While operating the gun was a six-man job, Labalaba managed to fire off a round every minute by himself, as bullets whizzed by. After an hour of firing the gun, Labalaba was wounded and another trooper, Sekonaia Takavesi, came to his aid. Labalaba and Takavesi fought on for two and a half hours, until the gun was out of ammo.

Labalaba and two others were killed in the defense of Mirbat, but they held their ground because of Sgt. Labalaba’s skill with artillery.

3. Lt. Col. Robert Blair “Paddy” Mayne

Paddy Mayne (Wikimedia Commons)

Mayne was an early member of the Special Air Service, one of the UK’s most decorated soldiers of World War II and picked up where David Stirling left off. Initially the head of an anti-aircraft battery, the Irishman was transferred to the Royal Ulster Rifles and then No. 11 Scottish Commando. There, he invaded Vichy-held Lebanon and Syria. His skills in combat saw him transferred to what was then called the “parachute unit,” but would soon be known as the Special Air Service.

His first combat with the SAS came during night raids in North Africa, destroying aircraft, fuel supplies, and ammo dumps in 1941. He was soon placed in command of the SAS, fighting behind enemy lines in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, and even into Germany. His exploits in the war earned him four Distinguished Service Orders, the French Legion d’Honneur on Croix de Guerre.

4. Lt. Jock Lewes

Jock Lewes is many things, but first and foremost, he’s the SAS trooper who discovered that explosives used by Stirling and his men in North Africa weren’t as effective as they needed to be. The bomb he developed used diesel oil and plastic explosives to make sure Axis planes and vehicles could never be used again. The Lewes Bomb, as it came to be called, was used throughout the war to devastating effect.

Lewes was one of the first men to volunteer for Stirling’s new SAS unit and was killed by enemy aircraft while raiding an Axis airfield in Libya in 1941.

5. Staff Sgt. John McAleese

Scotsman John McAleese is one of the UK’s most decorated soldiers of all time. He’s one of the rare SAS soldiers who saw fame while serving, as the world watched the UK’s response to terrorists taking over the Iranian Embassy in London. For six days, the British government lay siege to the embassy. On the sixth day, they killed a hostage and the SAS were called in.

The world watched live as McAleese and his blue team followed the red team into the embassy by blowing their way into a first-floor window. In 17 minutes, the SAS killed all but one of the terrorists, losing only one hostage. McAleese also served in the Falklands War and earned medals fighting the Irish Republican Army during the Troubles.


Commodus (Facial Reconstruction) - History

PEOPLE Roman emperors and their associates

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  • Emperor Commodus (161–192) – an unfortunate son of a great father

Emperor Commodus (161–192) – an unfortunate son of a great father

Bust of Emperor Commodus, Musei Capitolini

Bust of young Emperor Commodus, Musei Vaticani

Bust of Emperor Commodus, Museo Nazionale Romano, Palazzo Altemps

Emperor Commodus as Hercules, Musei Capitolini

Emperor Commodus as Hercules, Musei Capitolini

Statue of Emperor Commodus (or Antoninus Pius), Muso Romano, Palazzo Braschi

This was probably not the fate that Marcus Aurelius &ndash one of the greatest and most noble people, imagined for his son, and who contrary to the tradition in place since the reign of Emperor Nerva (96 A.D.) of adopting, meaning appointing to the throne the best possible successors, marked his son first for co-rule and then to assume the throne. Nothing seems to point to the fact, that Marcus Aurelius had other plans for his succession, as some would like to see it. Commodus was an imperial child, born when the emperor had all the power, he accompanied him during military escapades and philosophical disputes &ndash so contrary to his predecessors the emperor had a natural successor in him and had no need so search for another. Along with this succession the period of adopted emperors, which had lasted for nearly one hundered years came to an end, a most beneficial time in the history of the empire, full of outstanding strategists, politicians and leaders, the time of emperors Trajan , Hadrian , Antoninus Pius and finally the last one &ndash Marcus Aurelius.

Commodus was a beautiful youth with blond, curly hair, regular facial features and an athletic built. He was an excellent left-handed fighter, willing to publically show off his abilities in archery, swordsmanship and chariot racing at the Circus Maximus . After assuming the throne in the year 180, it was difficult to suppose that in time he would become such a caricature of a man, a person hated by the Senate and the aristocracy, a man with an inflated ego, whose greatest joy came from fighting gladiators and killing wild animals at the arena. It brought him such great pleasure, that he felt himself to be the embodiment of Hercules himself.

Conducting state business, strengthening the borders of the empire and caring for the prosperity of its citizens bored the young emperor, therefore he transferred these duties, at the outrage of the senators, who until now enjoyed the right of co-rulership, to his trusted Praetorians and the freedmen. 12 years of his reign were spent by the emperor on prevention of crises and sentencing his subjects to death, whom he blamed for the failure of his rule: deficit of grain, revolts of the legions or street riots. On top of that there was chaos in the empire, decrease of agricultural output and a trade crisis connected with it, inflation and lower income from taxes. Another problem was as of then unknown to such extent simony (the sale of positions and offices) in the army and in the state, which resulted in authority being transferred into the hands of the inexperienced and the greedy.

The low, almost sinister opinion of Commodus spread even while he was still alive &ndash it was said that he was not the son of the stately and wise Marcus Aurelius, but of one of the gladiators with whom his mother willingly surrounded herself. He was ridiculed for apparently dyeing and powdering his hair, rumors ran rampant that his face is swollen like that of a drunk. He was called lecher known for his bisexual orgies, who in his erotic conquests spared no one, not even his sisters. All these stories were readily disseminated by the senators, whom Commodus first taxed heavily and removed from power, and if they were not obedient enough, murdered them as well. On the other hand, they also did everything in their power to get rid of him.

Since the beginning of his reign, Commodus had to deal with conspiracies and unsuccessful attempts at his life, which had to influence his psyche and caused him to be distrustful of even those closest to him. Two years after assuming the throne he survived a first assassination attempt, near the Colosseum , which involved his sister Lucilla, and for which she paid with her life. In face of imminent danger, Commodus locked himself in his palace, avoided official meetings and visits &ndash apart from those to the gladiator camp, where he trained and practiced. Following assassination attempts and conspiracies against him further deepened his dislike for the Roman aristocracy. He did however, enjoy popularity among the Roman populace, whom he generously provided with bread and games. As never before the Colosseum was filled to the last seat, also by aristocrats who were forced to do so, and who looked with disgust on the declassation and the emperor&rsquos megalomania, bordering on insanity. Another reason for arising dislike was the idea of Commodus to proclaim himself a god, even before he died, the son of the highest ruler of heaven and Earth, the father of the gods &ndash Jupiter.

In 191 A.D., a great fire erupted in Rome, which consumed a great deal of the city, including the Temple of Vesta , the Temple of Peace and a large part of the imperial palace. Commodus ordered a broadly planned reconstruction, but he did not complete this work. He was publicly seen for the last time in November of the following year, when during two-week long games, he performed on the arena of the filled Colosseum as Hercules Venator (Hercules the Hunter), and showed off his archery skills, reportedly killing one hundered wild animals, including tigers, lions, elephants, and hippopotamuses. A month later, on the last day of the year, he was murdered. After the assassination, the Senate proclaimed the shameful formula of damnatio memoriae, meaning condemning Commodus to eternal oblivion. His name vanished from monuments and documents. However, not for long. From the political chaos, which for a year befell Rome, a new candidate for emperor finally emerged &ndash Septimius Severus . Since upon assuming the throne, he wanted to legitimize his authority, proclaiming himself to be the adopted (fictitious) son of Marcus Aurelius, he could not allow for his brother to be in a state of disgrace. Given such a situation the Senate rehabilitated Commodus in 197 A.D. and even deified him.

As a constructor, Commodus left nothing of significance, but to the broad public he is known for a different reason. He was one of the principal characters of a great Hollywood movie production entitled Gladiator. A lot was changed in the movie due to political correctness and suspenseful narration, but despite that the emperor himself probably to some extent is reminiscent of the real &ndash unfortunate son of a great father.

The history of the Appian way – one of Rome’s earliest highways, has been recreated with an app

History, some say, is static and dead. However one of the undertakings of Rome’s archaeological superintendency in 2015, shows that what happened thousands of years ago can come alive, thus providing new insights into the ways of mankind. To that end, the Verba Appia is a one-of-a-kind app (launched in December, last year) that digitally recreates the history of the Appian Way, one of the earliest highways in ancient Rome, while also allowing users to be leave geo-specific audio messages, similar to the graffiti often left on historic buildings and monuments.

Developed in collaboration with Mondadori Electa publishing firm, the Verba Appia is a free audio-only app available on Android, iOS and Windows platforms. Offering carefully-crafted audio dramas about the lives of the people who made Europe’s first super-highway famous, the app is meant to attract more tourists to the historic site, and also create a social audio network among those who have already visited the area. Speaking about the endeavor, Fabrizio Funtò, the head of Studio MCM, the company that designed the app, said:

Forget audio guides. This is a totally new way of interacting with the cultural heritage. With Verba, the ancient road becomes a superhighway of communication. Visitors are taken into a universe of localized contents and stories.

Originally constructed as a military road back in 312 BC by Appius Claudius Caecus, the Appian Way (originally known as Regina Viarum) was one of the most important roads of ancient Roman republic, and a strategically-located gateway to the east. Stretching over a distance of 350 miles, this stone road connected Rome all the way to Brindisi in the southeast part of Italy. The app covers a 5.5 miles area, from the Colosseum to the outlying suburbs of Rome. In addition to the ancient roadway, the site houses the ruins of a number of Roman tombs, towers, villas, mausoleums, aqueducts and others.

When someone visits this historic site, the app utilizes the GPS sensor in the user’s smartphone to send geolocalized audio messages regarding these ancient structures. To that end, the developers have fed as many as 50 carefully-researched audio dramas into the app, complete with special effects as well as original soundtracks. It is almost as if the monuments come alive, narrating the intriguing, and sometimes ghastly, stories of their occupants. Hosted in Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, the messages speak of the area’s history, right from the Roman period, through the Middle Ages and finally to the modern times.

These include the tale of Cecilia Metella, daughter-in-law of Marcus Crassus, the man who shared the first Roman triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Pompey. Users are also told the story of Commodus, who was played by Joaquin Phoenix in the 2000 movie, Gladiator. Then there is the 13-year-old Tullia Ciceronis, the daughter of Marcus Cicero, who died after giving birth to her second son. In modern times, the area was made famous with the discovery of love letters dated 1929, near the Doric tomb. Rita Paris, an Italian archaeologist, said in 2015:

We are not talking of the usual information offered by audio guides, but rather mini audio dramas that will make visitors experience the best of this site. So many stories, even modern ones, can be found along this road. For the inconsolable lover, the Appian Way must have inspired a sense of eternity to which he could entrust his passionate letters.

The app also allows interaction from the side of the users, who can leave private or public audio comments on each of the visited spots. To be able to use the app, however, one must have been to the Appian Way at least once. The team added:

There is just one requirement to use the free app: you must visit the Appian Way at least once. It’s a totally new concept, and will be improved in the future with 3-D audio and other innovations.

Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier: From Marius to Commodus, 112 BC-AD 192

The first published and chronologically central of a projected three volumes, this is a large and generously illustrated bid for “definitive” status in the field of Roman military equipment studies. This bid seems unlikely to succeed, given the greater ease-of-use and archaeologically-grounded sobriety of M.C. Bishop and J.C.N. Coulston’s Roman Military Equipment (second edition: Oxbow, 2006). This book is, however, in many ways an impressive achievement, a testament to an enormous scholarly effort—and it is a significant contribution to the understanding of the Roman army. Yet the effort is almost more antiquarian than scholarly. D’Amato (responsible for the main text and many photographs the introduction and the new paintings and drawings are by Sumner) brings to bear his considerable expertise in the physical and representational evidence for Roman arms and armor, and he has most assuredly done his homework, travelling to many far-flung monuments and museums in order to photograph less-well-known artifacts. But the book is more successful as a compendium than as a balanced advancing-of-our-knowledge- work.

The prolific illustration is both a major strength and a weakness of the book, but the text does not always do much to support the author’s assertion of a “radically different” interpretation of his subject, namely that the representational evidence on surviving monuments is realistic and accurate, and thus a better route to re-imagining the army than keeping largely to the archaeological remains. In the introduction, Sumner asserts that “the purpose of this work is to throw new light on the examination of the equipment, armour, and clothing of the Roman soldier.” In this D’Amato and Sumner are largely successful, but the light is indeed thrown about, rather than focused. D’Amato repeatedly declares his belief that the representational monuments are highly accurate, but he seems aware that this is a subjective commitment, and he repeatedly hedges his bets: monuments and gravestones were merely “linked” to “the rigid necessity of realism” (xiii) relief sculptures “could be considered” as “something like” sketches from life or “modern photographic reportage.” They could but it is hard to fault those who prefer to base their understanding of Roman arms and armor on the surviving artifacts, however incomplete that picture remains. This new Arms and Armour is exhaustive in its coverage of armor and weapon types, and D’Amato adduces good literary evidence to supplement the physical. He does indeed have new evidence to present even on object-types that have drawn much attention in recent decades from both archaeologists and serious re-enactors. But the quirks of this book hamper both its effectiveness as a scholarly treatise and its usefulness as a reference work. Divided into only two chronological sections (around the year 30 BCE) and then subdivided by arm of service, the actual discussion of the categories of objects is fragmented—it is a poor compromise between diachronic explanation and item-by-item comprehensiveness. The three bits at the beginning of each of the two major sections—a paragraph-shaped list of sources, an “events timeline,” and a few columns on military organization—are far too condensed to be of much use. The page-by-page layout is also rather odd: running descriptions of objects are interspersed with monument-by-monument photographs that do not all that often correspond to the accompanying text. There is an enormous amount of material here, but it takes patience (and five or six cross-referencing fingers jammed into various parts of the book, including the endnotes), to bring all the evidence to bear. This is particularly true if one is interested in, for example, a sword type that might have seen use by both infantry and cavalry across several centuries.

Despite occasional awkwardness in the prose, the descriptive passages are generally clear, but the short introductory passages to the new object categories can be somewhat obscure. There are some curious assertions of personal preference, such as referring to “the Consular age” rather than “the Republic,” but a more problematic choice is that several interpretive stances are boldly asserted, but not closely argued. One example of this is the discussion of representational accuracy on pages 66-7, where D’Amato argues that the presence of Apollodorus of Damascus on Trajan’s Dacian campaigns means that the scenes on Trajan’s column were taken from life, and thus depict Roman equipment in a realistic manner. Yet he acknowledges that the consistent portrayal of legionaries and auxiliaries in different armor types was probably a matter of artistic preference, obscuring a less uniform reality. The careful uncertainty of other scholars of the column seems to be the better position.

When it comes to details, D’Amato’s arguments are generally either convincing or beyond this reviewer’s ability to assess—but on the big questions he is generally not persuasive. That “the concept of parade armour or helmets [sic] did not exist in the ancient world” (xiv) is, at best, debatable but the idea that the usual description of certain decorated and masked helmets as parade or sporting equipment that was not used in actual combat “should definitely be rejected” (187) is untenable. The weakness of D’Amato’s argument at this point is glaring. There is an unsupported simple assertion (“it is absolutely contrary to the ideology of the ancient warrior”), a bit of circumstantial evidence (some so-called “sports helmets” have been found in graves together with battle equipment), and an appeal to the psychological impact of impressive looking weapons. This impact was certainly important (and has been much discussed in the last two decades), but it is very strange indeed that the quotation offered as evidence of this effect (from Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, V, 350ff) describes soldiers taking their impressive armor and equipment out of cases during a days-long lull in the fighting, and putting it on for the express purpose of a parade.

Both the quality and quantity of the illustration are worth a few words more. The kitchen sink approach to illustration can be overwhelming, but it will present even a dedicated aficionado of Roman arms and armor with new images. The paintings too are surprisingly effective. Rather than the loosely imagined scenes that are now common in books on the Roman military, these are useful restoration studies. Sumner has in effect painted “cover” versions of extant funerary monuments, in which the restoration of color and detail enhances the interest of the original carving. These paintings are tied directly to descriptive commentary on the facing page, usually accompanied by a photograph of the monument, that details literary and archaeological support for the painting. These facing pages, too, have footnotes (rather than endnotes), so that that source, the argument of reconstruction, and the image can be taken in without turning the page.

In contrast to the paintings, many pages are overcrowded with many small photographs of in situ reliefs. Given that conditions obviously limited the quality of many images, these pages can be very hard to read. Other photographs are unreasonably small: it’s hard to know what to do with three 2-by-2 3/4-inch photos of the same heavily-weathered, greave-bearing legs, or with the seventeen adjacent photographs of “ metopae reliefs from Munatius Plancus’ mausoleum” (23). In an age when most of us are nearly as accustomed to reading on the internet as in a book, one has the odd sensation of wanting to “click” on printed “thumbnails” in the hopes of significantly enlarging them. But to no avail—the weather-blurred legs, shields, and scabbard fittings are all we get.

Other photographs, however, are more valuable, providing clear evidence that Roman army books have been complacently drawing on the same pool of images for too long. One pleasant surprise is the Arch of Carpentras (which seems to have attracted little scholarly attention in the last century, although it is discussed in C. Antonucci’s L’esercito di Cesare and, naturally, can be found on Wikipedia). One face of the arch depicts two figures posed beside an oddly-rendered trophy, exotic weapons at their feet. The use of this monument is a good example of the too-intense focus on detail which is common to this sub-field and perhaps a particular fault of this book. D’Amato carefully considers the evidence for the late Republican scabbard shape, and the facing page includes twelve tiny photos of the three scabbards shown on the relief. Since the relief is being presented as realistic representational evidence for Roman arms, it should be worth noting that the figures appear to be non-Roman captives, and that it might not immediately be clear why Roman-seeming swords should be hanging on the trophy between them. Can even a reader disinclined to appeal to the expertise of art historians treat these images as evidence without some consideration of context or techniques of representation?

D’Amato acknowledges his debt to M.C. Bishop, in particular, and engages him in a good deal of recondite debate about the details of certain objects (particularly the segmented armor of the imperial legionary). It is generally rather difficult for a non-specialist, even one knowledgeable about the army in general, to distinguish between minor quibbles, essential agreements, and truly vexed questions, but anyone concerned with the possible omission of lobate hinges from some specimens of Stillfried-type lorica segmentata will need to consult both books.

There are some improvements, too, on Bishop and Coulston: the representational evidence is much more complete (Bishop and Coulston make little use of it after an initial short chapter on the subject), and there is more detailed discussion of certain objects, in particular organic materials (leather and linen worn either as armor or underneath it). D’Amato collects a great deal of rare evidence on this little-discussed subject, but it is still a sketchy collection, and nearly every paragraph of the argument that such materials are more important than metal-based reconstructions acknowledge must lapse into the subjunctive. There is irony in the fact that his most extensive use of archaeological evidence involves metal weapons, to supplement the photographs of monuments from which the metal detailing that once represented spear points and other weapons have long since been removed.

In many respects the two publications are complementary, with D’Amato and Sumner relying more on the representational evidence and Bishop and Coulston on archaeology—but the reasons for preferring Bishop and Coulston are clear. First, it is not quite time for a pseudo-revisionist return to the sculpture-inspired, antiquarian way of envisioning the Roman army. Even if some of the monuments here had slipped from the radar of modern scholarship, and even if the increasingly dominant images of meticulously tricked-out re-enactors are derived from the physical remains of armor and weapons, the images from a few famous monuments still retain their fundamental influence on modern imaginings of the Roman soldier. Second, this is not really a simple choice between equally valid methods. The representational evidence will never be completely free of the question of “accurate” depiction by the ancient artists, while the archaeological survivals offer, in most cases, significantly more secure starting places for re-creation. Finally, Bishop and Coulston provide a balanced analysis of the artifacts that is more in keeping with the tenor of recent scholarship, and their book is better indexed and easier to use. At the very least, that one volume, available in paperback and a more secure choice as a reference (both in terms of representing the consensus of Roman military archaeologists and in not including full-color, full-page illustrations of severed-head-bearing cavalrymen) will remain a more realistic choice of Roman historians than this large volume and its two projected successors.

D’Amato is to be congratulated on the effort and expertise that went into this book, and he will earn the thanks of many dedicated students of the Roman army for bringing so much rare material to their attention. It seems likely that this reinfusion of certain monuments—and perhaps also of his faith in their representational reality—into the debate will stimulate further discussion, and if it does so, his book should be counted a scholarly success as well as an antiquarian achievement.

Watch the video: Commodus: Emperor, Gladiator, Madman (October 2022).

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