Late Republican History: From Julius Caesar to Octavian Augustus (Ca. 78-31 BCE)

Spyridon (Spiros) Loumakis
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(737)
In this 19-week class the students will delve into the lives and deeds of Julius Caesar and Octavian Augustus (ca. 78 BCE - 31 BCE), as well as the material culture, artistic expression and social/religious beliefs of their time

Class experience

US Grade 7 - 9
Intermediate Level
In this class students will be able to appreciate the beauty and importance of the study of history. Having studied myself history at a graduate and postgraduate level, and trained in archaeological excavations, ancient languages (Greek, Latin), and the use of various aspects of ancient material culture (art, architecture, coins etc), I want to bring this full picture to my classes. 

The students will discuss in class under my guidance about major Roman monuments, Roman art, the Roman gods, Roman society, and classical Latin texts in English translation, so as to understand Roman history in its entirety. The epistemological approach according to which History means facts based on reliable primary sources, remains still relevant for me, if not necessary today.
Ancient History means also appreciating ancient cultures, respecting them, learning from their mistakes, and admiring them for their accompishments. History can be also used as a point of reference or a measure of comparison between an ancient pre-modern society and our contemporary post-modern world. 

For students who are taking Roman History classes at their school, this class can be used as a supplementary class to refresh their memory, strengthen their knowledge, advance their understading and sharpen their critical thinking.   
I have a B.A. and M.A. in Ancient Greek and Roman History and Archaeology, as well as an M.A. in History and Philosophy of Religions. I have excavated in ancient Greek sites, I speak Latin and ancient Greek and I am currently finishing my PhD. 
Homework Offered
Homework, designed to take no more than an hour in total per week, will be assigned in three forms: (a) Before some of the eighteen meetings students will be asked to study a Source Sheet which will contain primary sources from ancient Roman authors in English translation, related to each class, and able to stir up class discussion. This source sheet will be distributed in advance as part of class preparation (each Source Sheet will be uploaded a few days in advance). (b) Two optional quizzes: a mid-term quiz based on Julius Caesar and a final quiz based on Octavian Augustus. (c) An optional essay on the great orator Cicero, whose work will be used in the class lectures extensively.
1 - 2 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
I do not believe that a letter grade is meaningful for an on-going class on ancient history at OutSchool. However, as I often do with my one-time classes, which are always small classes (up to 7 students), I communicate with the parents and the children directly, providing my personal comments, private feedback and an informal assessment.
Grades Offered
This class is the sequence of “Roman Republic: From Its Birth to the Rise of Dictators (Ca. 509-79 BCE)”. Students are advised (but not obliged) to have taken this class in advance, unless they are already strong students of history.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
In the ancient Roman art gods are sometimes depicted naked. This being said, any artistic reproduction in ancient art should be expected to show nude gods. I try to use as less as possible, but it is not always within my hands since this is the nature of the ancient Greek art itself. Since, it is an art that comes from an era where there were no photographs, or videos, the art is found only on painted vases, wall paintings and sculpture. Nudity was never meant to provoke, but to tell to the ancient viewer that gods are not mortal humans and, thus, they do not need clothes. As you may very well understand, I cannot change the history of art, nor my preference as teacher of mythology to show students the original art from ancient times.
Throughout the class and in the form of homework, students will discuss in class under my guidance and read at home before class illuminating chapters in important sources by major authors that servive in the Greek and the Latin language (Plutarch, Cassius Dio, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Elder). They are all provided by me in English translations by the excellent series of Oxford World's Classics and/or Penguin Classics. 

A great online source is Perseus Digital Library (section Collections/Texts), under the auspices of Tufts University, available here: 

In addition, literature, archaeology, art, architecture, epigraphy and numismatics will be used, whenever relevant, to enlighten aspects of ancient Roman history that are not so apparent in the classical historical accounts listed above. My background in all these fields will guide students through these peculiar sub-fields of history, in order to be abe to "read" them.

Finally, the class is based on my 20-years of experience in the scientific study of this era, as well as in a long list of modern sources, of which a small sample is the following one:

Julius Caesar. The Life and Times of the People's Dictator by L. Canfora (University of California Press, 2007)
Julius Caesar's Battle for Gaul. New Archaeological Perspectives ed by A.P. Fitzpatrick and C. Haselgrove (Oxbow Books, 2019)
A Companion to Julius Caesar ed by M. Griffin (Wiley-Blackwell Ltd, 2015)
The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Augustus ed Karl Galinsky
From the Gracchi to Nero: A History of Rome 133 BC to AD 68 by H.H. Scullard
The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Economy by Walter Scheidel 
Coinage in the Roman Economy, 300 B.C. to A.D. 700 by Kenneth W Harl
The Romans: From Village to Empire by Mary Boatwright, Daniel Gargola, et al.

Meet the teacher

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(737)
As a father of two young kids, I put a lot of effort so as to entertain them in a productive, and educational way, making sure I feed their natural curiosity and encourage them to keep asking questions. Undoubtedly, television and video games are... 
Group Class


weekly or $380 for 19 classes
1x per week, 19 weeks
60 min

Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(8)
Completed by 25 learners
Live video meetings
Ages 12-15
3-6 learners per class

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