In the Spring 2017, I’m offering two undergraduate courses in Saint Louis University’s History Department. One is our introductory History course (“Origins: Part 1”). The other, below, is a course for students who already have some familiarity with the ancient Mediterranean world and would like to do a deeper dive.
The Age of Augustine and The Fall of Rome (History 3930)
The world of Augustine is the world of Late Antiquity (c.250-800 CE), the name scholars use to describe the period of the later Roman Empire in the western and eastern Mediterranean. It encompasses the military and political crisis of Rome’s third century; the social crisis of Rome’s fourth century (related to the integration of one specific minority community, Christians); and the border crisis of Rome’s fifth century. Augustine, the bishop who famously wrote his spiritual autobiography during this time, will be one of the voices we listen to in our class.
Late Antiquity is also a period with an important history of its own, some of which is less widely known, such as the rise of anti-Judaism throughout the Christian Empire, the continuing preservation of traditional religious practices, and an interest in Rome’s classical heritage well before the “Renaissance.” The birth of Islam, which can be studied through texts and archaeology, and early Muslim interaction with the Eastern Roman Empire, will be the coda to our class.
Students will practice how to collaborate on projects, write in short formats, and communicate complex ideas to a wider audience in addition to gaining a familiarity with this rich historical content.