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Nexus: Julius Caesar & ANCIENT ROME FROM REPUBLIC TO EMPIRE



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SUMMARY OF THE JULIUS CAESAR AND ANCIENT ROME volume of NEXUS

The JULIUS CAESAR interdisciplinary NEXUS book explores the nexus (web of connections) between Shakespeare's tragedy Julius Caesar and ancient Roman history, art, theater, poetry, and science.


"The NEXUS Integrated Curriculum Unit series does the research for teachers who want to present major literary works in an interdisciplinary context. Built around periods rather than themes, each is a beautifully produced glossy magazine (over 30 pages with color reproductions) that links the text to the period's history, music, art, theater, and science to provide "additional entry points into literature."

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SHAKESPEARE'S LANGUAGE IN JULIUS CAESAR

  1. Explores insights into human nature in Shakespeare's play and analogous insights in the writings of the historical Julius Caesar.

  2. Shakespeare's use of contrast and opposites in the play.

  3. Cartoons illustrate some of Shakespeare's metaphors, making them accessible to students

  4. Suggested activities for students

BLOOD OF THE REPUBLIC: BATTLE OF PHILIPPI (a chapter from Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome)

In this chapter, the Battle of Philippi is textually reenacted (from ancient sources) in colorful, student friendly prose, which makes Act IV and Act V of the play much more meaningful and interesting for students.

THE HISTORY BEHIND THE CHARACTERS IN JULIUS CAESAR

  1. Caesar the man and his historical relationship with Brutus are examined in two chapters, JULIUS CAESAR, FATHER OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE & NOBLEST ROMAN, with intriguing anecdotes about both men and links to Shakespeare's play.

  2. The political results of the assassination, including the proscription (briefly touched on in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar) and the rise to power of Octavius and Antony, are explored in depth in the chapter AFTERMATH OF THE ASSASSINATION. Again, colorful anecdotes and links to Shakespeare's play enliven this chapter.

GLADIATORIAL GAMES & THE CAESARS

  1. The political role of the gladiatorial games in Caesar's career is examined in this exciting chapter. The text is embroidered with fascinating anecdotes about the emperors and the games gleaned from Seutonius and Dio Cassius.

  2. The NEXUS supplement, SPARTACUS, THE GLADIATOR GENERAL, explores the rise of Spartacus and the political consquences of the slave revolt.

ROMAN POETRY & POLITICS IN THE ERA OF JULIUS CAESAR & AUGUSTUS

  1. In the chapter LOVE LESSONS, CENSORSHIP, AND THE POLITICS OF ROMAN POETRY, we examine ancient Roman poetry by Horace, Ovid and Catullus that sheds light on Roman politics and the Battle of Philippi.

  2. Includes questions for students.

SYMBOLISM & METAPHOR IN ANCIENT ROMAN ART

  1. Explores symbolism and visual metaphor in Roman art.

  2. Examines the use of mythological allusions in Roman art.

  3. Includes embedded activities for students.

ANCIENT ROMAN SCIENCE

  1. In the science chapter students learn the history and physics of the catapult.

  2. In the science supplement THE EMPIRE OF THE SUN, students learn how and why the ancient Romans used solar heating in their homes, baths, public buildings and aqueducts.

ROMAN THEATER

The AP supplement VIRTUE AND RAGE examines the Roman dramatist Seneca's influence on Shakespeare.

CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS AND CONSULTANTS for Julius Caesar and Ancient Rome, from Republic to Empire

  1. Dr. Jenifer Neils, Chair of the Department of Art History and Art, Case Western Reserve University, and co-author of Striving for Excellence: Greek Childhood and the Olympic Spirit and Coming of Age in Ancient Greece : Images of Childhood from the Classical Past, Yale University Press, 2003

  2. Dr. Tom Bishop, Associate Professor of English, Case Western Reserve University and author of Shakespeare and the Theatre of Wonder, Cambridge University Press, 1996

  3. Dr. Vernard Foley, Associate Professor, Specializing in the History of Science and Technology, Purdue University and frequent contributor to Scientific American and History of Technology

  4. Dr. Martin Helze, Chair of the Department of Classics, Case Western Reserve University

  5. Editor Jesse Bryant Wilder.
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