Rome grew from a tiny community of small hill villages near the River Tiber in central Italy to one of the most powerful empires the world has seen. The Romans themselves believed that their great city was founded in the middle of the eighth century BCE. By the middle of the second century CE, Rome had a population of 1.5 million; Alexandria, in Egypt, 500,000; and Londinium, in Briton, 30,000.Not counting locally recruited forces, this vast empire was subjugated and policed with only around 25 legions, or the equivalent of only three and a half times the entire police force of New York City. How was this possible? Military power, colonial organization, superior technology, a well-organized infrastructure, and a cohesive economic system. These elements of Roman genius are well known, but it was the very idea of Rome that proved so persuasive and this Roman ideal was born from mythology.More
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This fascinating series of lectures deals not with the Roman gods and goddesses per se but rather with the myths that pertain to the past of the great city: Remus and Romulus, the rape of the Sabine women, the Seven Kings of Rome, Aeneus, etc. It is well organized and based not only on the classic texts that have survived but also on archeological findings, much work in that field in fact being currently underway. In fact, it is striking how much is yet to be discovered in order to fully understand the myths that have been transmitted down to our times.Like other ‘Modern Scholar’ audio productions, some lectures are completed with answers to questions posed by students in actual classroom sessions. Also, references to a web site are provided for those who wish to go further in their learning ... or to test it with a ‘final exam’.This lecture series is a great complement to 'Greek Mythology' by the same lecturer and is strongly recommended to all interested in the topic.
- Pierre Gauthier
Early Roman History Through Its Foundation Myths
The course focuses on early Rome's legendary heroes and founders. It is not stories about the Roman versions of the 12 Olympians.
This course would be a good supplement for anyone interested in Rome's earliest days, as reported by the ancient historian Livy. It also might be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about the heroes like Brutus, Romulus, Aeneas and the Trojan War Settlers, Cincinnatus and Coriolanus, that are name-checked by Senators during the Roman Republic.
Here's the table of contents:
Lecture 1 Mythological Rome
Lecture 2 The Making of Myth: How the Romans Recorded Their Mythology
Lecture 3 Greek Myths and the Romans: Cacus, Hercules, and the Greeks in Italy
Lecture 4 Arcadian Fantasies: The Fathers of the Founders
Lecture 5 Trojan Ancestors: The Myth of Aeneas
Lecture 6 Romulus and Remus
Lecture 7 The Seven Kings of Rome
Lecture 8 Etruscan Kings in Rome: Myth or History?
Lecture 9 Myths of the Republic
Lecture 10 Myths of Roman Expansion
Lecture 11 Virgil and The Aeneid (Part One)
Lecture 12 The Aeneid (Part Two)
Lecture 13 Ovid
Lecture 14 The Survival of Classical Myth
This series of lectures is best for someone who already knows a little bit about Roman mythology and/or early Roman history, and wants to take the next step. Since such a small amount of early Roman history has survived, this course looks for that information in Rome's myths and cultural tradition.