A Realization and a Question
I fall behind in my Ancient/Medieval survey. Always. I just realized why. It's the Punic Wars. There is no good reason in a survey course to go into detail about them. The important things for the survey are that they help to solidify Rome's control over the Med and leave Rome with issues I need to talk about, like latifundia, the Gracchi and land reform, social upheaval, changes in the makeup of the army -- all that stuff. But ... Punic Wars, people!
How could I not talk about Punic Wars II: The Wrath of the Barcas?? How could I not talk about -- the war elephants??? How could I not talk about the brilliance of Rome's expanding through the quite sensible defense of her friends? How could I not talk about the political brilliance of granting proconsular imperium to P. Cornelius Scipio -- and the problems that tweaking the mos maiorum eventually causes??
Yes, it's a survey class. But you know, there should also be some good stories in history, because it's the stories that are part of the fun. Maybe it's because my research really is all about dry stuff and adding pieces to a puzzle -- intellectually, it's a challenge, and I find it satisfying. And I love teaching students to tease information out of primary sources. But although they will probably retain some of the skills I teach them, it's the stories that the non-majors will remember. So they should be good ones. I guess I should start planning time for the Punic Wars into my syllabus.
So I also have a question: Does anyone else find that there are some stories they just have to tell, even in a survey class?