“Telling” Time, Then and Now: Cultural Identity, Politics, and Values in the Roman Calendar


How we reckon time and the calendar are so ingrained in us that they seem natural and value-neutral. Is this true? What and why do we commemorate with the calendar? Who are “we”? How is timekeeping related to cultural identity? To imperialism? We explore these questions through the lens of the Romans and their calendar. We learn how the Romans measured time; how Roman cultural values were expressed in their calendar; how Augustus' changes to the calendar reflected a change in Roman identity. The course studies material evidence, selections from ancient historians (Herodotus, Thucydides, Livy, Jerome), and authors that incorporate Roman timekeeping and commemoration (Horace, Virgil, Ovid).
Curriculum Codes
  • CCI
  • ALP
  • CZ
Typically Offered