Temple of Saturn Classics 24/54:

Roman History and Civilization

Fall 1998

Instructor: Robert W. Cape, Jr.

Roman History and the World Wide Web

Some may assume that our knowledge about ancient history stays the same, but in reality it is changing and growing all the time. We continue to learn more about the Romans through re-examination of the textual and material remains, and through the new discoveries made in archaeological excavations. Since our understanding of the ancient world is changing (and, one hopes, is getting better), it is important for classicists to keep up with the growing body of new primary sources and reinterpretations of known materials. As a result, many resources are available to help scholars and students locate these materials and interpretations. Some are published in traditional format, such as L'Année philologique, to which you will be introduced in the Library. Others are now being made available online through the Internet. In fact, there are a great variety of resources available through the World Wide Web which can be of use to both the specialist and persons with a general interest in ancient Greece and Rome.

Since there are many good resources for Roman history on the World Wide Web, and since using them allows us access to materials otherwise unavailable in our library (or inconvenient for us to obtain and use whenever we want), we should learn how to identify and use them in this course. There will be four projects that use the World Wide Web and each one is designed to take advantage of a different aspect of the technology. [Click on the project title to go to a page with more specific project information.]

Web project #1: Getting to know the Web: navigating, searching, finding
This project introduces you to basic navigational techniques by using some of the basic resources and various search engines available to locate information. In addition to simple data collection, the project also addresses the problem of data selection and organization. With the enormous amount of information now available, it is increasingly important to know how to select and organize the output of a data search. Some of this may be accomplished by learning how to customize searches and output on the different search engines.

Web project #2: A virtual trip to Rome
This project is designed to introduce you to aspects of the modern city of Rome via the Internet. It builds on the navigational skills you developed in the first project and focuses on how to organize the materials you find.

Web project #3: Plutarch's Life of Cicero. An experiment with reading on the Web
This project is an experiment designed to meet a problem you will by now have encountered while searching the Web for information: how to present the information in a way that makes it easy for people to use. The specific challenge addressed here is how to read a longish (ca. 20 pages) text on the Web. This project is also designed to make you ask questions about how the presentation of material affects its reception. Our focus: how does presenting material (especially basic source material) about Roman history on the Web affect our perception of it as compared to our perceptions of material presented in books.

Web project #4: The Roman Empire
The final Web project is designed to use the skills you have developed in the previous projects. In this assignment, students will select an area of the Roman Empire and locate the available Internet resources about it in order to present a brief report about it in class. This project has two major goals: 1) to help all students learn more about the different regions of the Roman Empire; and 2) to encourage the development of data collection, synthesis and presentation skills. Students may give their presentations on-line through an Internet hookup in the classroom.

[Main Roman Civilization Page] [Schedule of Readings]

[Course Materials on the Web] [Bob Cape's Homepage]

Robert W. Cape, Jr., Associate Professor of Classics
Classical & Modern Languages
900 N. Grand Avenue, Suite 61653
Sherman, TX 75090-4040
phone: (903) 813-2241  fax: (903) 813-2011

Mail comments to rcape@austinc.edu