Ancient Roman Provinces & Building the Empire: a Five-Part Course with Dr. Dimosthenis Kosmopoulos - Context Travel

Ancient Roman Provinces & Building the Empire: a Five-Part Course with Dr. Dimosthenis Kosmopoulos

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In five lectures, Dr. Dimosthenis Kosmopoulos, archaeologist and Context expert guide based in Rome, Italy, will travel through the Roman Empire investigating some of the most important Ancient Roman Provinces. From Graecia to Asia to Germania and beyond, we will understand the impact of Roman culture throughout history, architecture, art, and engineering.

We’ll talk about how Rome’s consistent geographical spread: first conquering the Italic peninsula, and afterward the whole Mediterranean basin. After the victory of Zama in North Africa against the Carthaginians (202 BC), one of the most important turning points of Roman foreign policy, Rome started looking to the whole Mediterranean basin as a territory to conquer. In the 2nd century AD, the Roman Empire reached its maximum extent, almost 5,000,000 km2, and approximately 60 million inhabitants.

From Hadrian’s Wall to Northern Africa, from the Iberian Peninsula to the Eastern deserts, an extended territory was divided into administrative regions, governed by former consuls, the Provinces. These regions presented homogenous features: fortifications, roads, aqueducts, bridges, temples, fora (monumental squares), thermal baths, and majestic fountains, as well as, great spectacle buildings as amphitheaters and stadiums. However, all the Provinces were not alike but presented distinctive traits: in central-western Europe, Roman cities were planned where there was no urban background, a huge difference with the eastern world where the Romans had to deal with great civilizations, that have had already reach the peak of their civilization (the Greek world for instance).

This course looks to delve deeper into the characteristics of each Province as we trace territorial expansion at the hands of the Romans. Join archaeologist, Dr. Dimo Kosmopoulos, for an in-depth exploration of this fascinating topic.

Lecture 1: Graecia
After several wars in the first decades of the 2nd century BC, the Greek peninsula fell under Roman rule in 146 BC, and the city of Corinth was destroyed. However, Greece was different from other territories. The glorious past at the time of Pericles was not easy to manage. Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit (once defeated, Greece conquered its savage captor), as Horatius would point out.

Lecture 2: Hispania
The Iberian Peninsula (today Spain and Portugal) was divided into two major Provinces: the Baetica and the Tarraconensis. A rich territory due to olive oil and fish sauce (garum) production and the birthplace of the Emperors Trajan and Hadrian. Great spectacle buildings and cities distinguish these Provinces.

Lecture 3: Asia
The western part of the Anatolian peninsula, Asia Minor (today Turkey), was divided into numerous Provinces, and among them, the Realm of Pergamon, bequeathed to Rome by the Attalid dynasty. Rome acquired a historical territory with a strong Hellenistic presence and extraordinary cities that fell under the direct control of Roman governors between the 2nd and 1st century BC.

Lecture 4: Gallia et Germania
Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres (Gallia is divided into three parts) is the first sentence of the Commentaries written by Julius Caesar on the Gallic Wars. After the conquest cities were built by the Romans and majestic aqueducts. Germania on the other hand was never easy to control and the Germanic Frontier became one of the most defended sections of the Empire, with colonies built right on the border.

Lecture 5: Africa
The victory of Zama in 202 BC gave Rome the opportunity to expand in Northern African. From the first Province (Africa, today Tunisia) the Romans extended their dominion to the west (Mauretania, today Morocco) and to the east (Libya), conquering under Augustus what became the most important granary of Rome, Egypt.


How does it work?
This is a five-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

How long are the lectures?
Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?
The course is $175.00 for 5 lectures.

Is a recording available?
In general, our courses are not recorded. However, if you need to miss a lecture please let us know in advance and we can arrange for a recording for that session on an individual basis.

Is there a reading list?
Although there is no prior background needed for this course, we will send a reading list in advance of the course starting.

During his university studies at “La Sapienza” in Rome, Dimosthenis participated in several national and international projects, such as the study of Latin epigraphy and Roman pottery as well as various archaeological excavations in different areas of Rome (Roman Forum, Palatine, Mausoleum of Augustus). His work as an archaeologist brought him to carry out research in classical art and architecture, exploring, in particular, the relationship between iconography and architecture as ancient Greek and Roman artistic expressions. Dimosthenis completed his Ph.D. with a thesis on temple architecture in the Italian peninsula during the Republican period. This topic became his area of expertise. His knowledge of archaeology, ancient art history, and Roman architecture is the key that he uses to share his unique perspective on the Eternal City.

This course is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.