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Hannibal, he points out, caused the Second Punic War personally, much as Adolf Hitler caused World War II.
All of history would be different if Pompey had been as aggressive as Julius Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus.
Augustus—beginning at the age of just 19—resolved upon and brilliantly followed a doctrine of ruthless expediency in order to rescue Rome from a century of civil war.
Marcus Aurelius, that most noble and philosophic of rulers, may have hastened the Empire's decline by tolerating the wicked cruelty of his heir.
Professor Fears divides his presentation into three "turning point" epochs in Roman history: Rome's great war with Hannibal (the Second Punic War); Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic; and the imperial era between Augustus and Marcus Aurelius. As he presents the great figures of each period, he makes them seem personal and immediate.
For example, he introduces you to the heroes of the early Republic through an imaginary tour of the Forum as it appeared in 218 B.C. In his discussions on Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general who taught Rome more about warfare than any other enemy, Professor Fears puts you right in the heart of the action. You feel as if you are there, struggling with Hannibal and his war elephants as they force a path through the snowbound Alps in the autumn of 218 B.C.
Roman Versions of the Kennedys and Winston Churchill
In these lectures you will meet or gain greater insight into a succession of individuals who can be considered great and famous not only in Roman history, but in all of history. They include:
Enduring Lessons About Life and Liberty, Character and Virtue
As you study these and many other significant Romans, Professors Fears uses their stories to probe fundamental questions about the political and cultural history of Rome. What was the impact of Greek civilization on the Romans? Why did the Roman people, at the height of military, political, and economic power, abandon their republican liberty for the dictatorship of Caesar and his successors?
What made the 2nd century A.D. one the most creative periods in world history, worthy of comparison with the Athens of Pericles, Plato, and Sophocles? And why did the central figures of Roman history hold so much appeal for the Founding Fathers of the United States?
Before concluding the course with Marcus Aurelius, whose private Meditations are a wellspring of honesty and humanity but whose standing as a ruler is another story, Professor Fears pays homage to his masters, the great biographers and analysts of vice and virtue Suetonius, Tacitus, and, above all, Plutarch.
Who were they? What did they write, and to what end? Why are their works so inspiring and worthy of study by any people or individuals who wish to preserve liberty and virtue for themselves, their society, and ages yet to come?
This course will teach you specific lessons about life, character, and politics, drawn from the examples of the famous Romans. Professor Fears has his favorite, and will tell you who it is in the last lecture.
University of Oklahoma
Ph.D., Harvard University
Dr. J. Rufus Fears was David Ross Boyd Professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma, where he held the G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. He also served as David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Before joining the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, Professor Fears was Professor of History and Distinguished Faculty Research Lecturer at Indiana University, and Professor of Classical Studies at Boston University.
An acclaimed teacher and scholar with more than 25 awards for teaching excellence, Professor Fears was chosen Professor of the Year on three occasions by students at the University of Oklahoma. His other accolades included the Medal for Excellence in College and University Teaching from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) Great Plains Region Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the UCEA's National Award for Teaching Excellence.
Professor Fears's books and monographs include The Cult of Jupiter and Roman Imperial Ideology and The Theology of Victory at Rome. He edited a three-volume edition of Selected Writings of Lord Acton. His discussions of the Great Books have appeared in newspapers across the country and have aired on national television and radio programs.
Professor Fears passed away in October 2012.
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