Instructor Class information Assignments/schedule Grading Useful sources

Font notes: legion title font is Augustus, no author given; class title font is JSL Ancient by Jeffrey S. Lee both from: 

Instructor: Kathy Payne, Ph.D.
  145 Stewart Library

class blog:


Class meets:  Tuesday/Thursday 10:30am - 11:45pm,  Library 138 (Middle level, north)

Office hours: I’m usually around the Reference area or in my office, but if you want a guaranteed time, catch me after class, call or email to set up an appointment.

Reminders and other notices are posted on my twitter site: You do not need have an account to read the tweets.

Students with Disabilities: Any student requiring accommodations or services due to a disability must contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) in room 181 of the Student Service Center. SSD can also arrange to provide course materials (including this syllabus) in alternative formats if necessary.


Class Information

Description:  We'll take a multidisciplinary and slightly irreverent approach to warfare -  and all that goes with it -  in the classical and medieval eras.

Learning objectives:

 I use Canvas to post any Powerpoints, the Daily Dis, for grades, etc.  To access, go to:  and log in using your WSU user name and password.   (  usually works even if eWeber is down.)

Class etiquette:   I am intolerant of students who act in a manner that disturbs me or other students.

You may eat and drink in class IF:  you don't bother anyone AND you don't make a mess.

Cell phones are a pet peeve of mine. Consider yourself warned.

  Class participation is expected. Students will receive points based on regular class participation. Unexcused absences will have a negative effect on your grade.  While I do not plan on giving quizzes, I reserve the right to do so without warning.

I give extensions on assignments only for medical and similarly urgent problems.   I define what's "urgent". 

You may need to provide documentation such as a letter from your health care provider or deployment orders.

Group work: Group work is acceptable when I give specific permission. Otherwise, group work is considered cheating and dealt with accordingly.

Academic Integrity: It is assumed that students will act in an ethical manner. Students engaging in unethical conduct will be subject to academic discipline, including the imposition of University sanctions, as described in the WSU Student Code of Conduct. Examples of unethical conduct include, but are not limited to: willful damage of materials, theft, hiding of library materials, plagiarism, cheating, unauthorized use of computers and computer accounts, and intentionally spreading viruses.



Required:  A copy of each book will be on reserve in the library.

Matyszak, Philip.  (2009).  Legionary.  The Roman Soldier's Unofficial Manual.  New York:  Thames & Hudson.  ISBN:  0500251517

Prestwich, Michael.  (2010).   Knight.  The Medieval Warrior's Unofficial Manual.  New York:  Thames & Hudson.  ISBN:  0500251606

There will also be readings from primary sources.  These will be available online and/or on reserve in the library.

Not familiar with Roman numerals or forgotten what you knew?  Check out this chart from the Cincinnati City Schools:



In-class assignments:  25 pts each


3 in-class exercises - 5 pts each  

To be chosen from: Hannibal's route through the Alps, Vindolanda, Trajan's Legions - R&R, Dura Europos, Song of Roland, Knights & Castles - R & R


You will be required to blog on class readings and/or other topics either assigned by me or chosen by you.  You will also be required to comment on the posts of others.   We will negotiate the total number of required & graded blog posts in class.  In the event of any dissent, I win. 


Blogging instructions 


Assignment instructions. 

Blogs must be at least 300 words each. 
Each post is worth 25 points.

  • Location in time & space - required for all topics
  • who's fighting whom - required for all battle topics
  • casus belli (cause of war) - required for all battle topics



Final Project - 150 pts

In consultation with Professor Payne, pick a topic related to warfare from the time periods covered in class.

You may do a project,  a series of blog posts, etc.  Those doing projects will be required to do a single blog discussing their project.

You may work as groups, but each person must have a clearly defined area of responsibility that they will be graded on.



To paraphrase Captain Barbossa, this schedule is more what you'd call "guidelines,"  then an actual set-in-stone schedule.

I've purposefully kept the schedule vague to allow for changes based on class interests.

Links to specific excerpts will be added later.  N.B.  Excerpts will range in length from a paragraph to several pages.

  Date   Topic    Readings & Assignments
Arma virumque cano
(I sing of arms & the man)

You're in the Legion now:
Legio I Lynx Fulminata

Social media and cohort setup

Jan. 9
  Honor/Shame Societies
Motel of the Mysteries pre-test

Mater tua caligas gerit.  (Your mother wears army boots)

Dissing the enemy in Latin

Jan. 14
  Sources:  primary & other  
 Epigraphy & other primary sources assignment

Jan. 16
   Background   An extremely brief introduction to Greek history
Jan. 21

MLK Jr. Day, Monday,
Jan. 20

The Greeks at war



  Organization, training, tactics  (Blog post 1 topic)

   (Herodotus & Xenophon)

Jan. 23
  The Greeks at war    Organization, training, tactics
Jan. 28
   The Greeks at war
Organization, training, tactics
Jan. 30
 Alexander the Great 

  To ends of the earth and back:  Tactics & terrain  

Feb. 4
  Alexander the Great  
   Tactics & terrain, continued 
Feb. 6


  An extremely brief introduction to Roman history
Feb. 11
  Background - the Roman Republic  

  Student's choice:  what do you think was the most likely route and why?

  Blog 1:  Greek organization, training & tactics  due

Feb. 13
     The Punic Wars  

   Hannibal's route over the Alps - in class 


Feb. 18

President's Day, Monday, Feb. 17
    The Legionary Life    Vindolanda -  life on the frontier & the archaeology of war -  in class
Feb. 20
  The Legionary Life 

  Trajan's legions  - how to conquer the world

Feb. 25
   The Legionary Life 

  Dura Europos  -  life on the frontier & the          archaeology of war -  in class 
Feb. 27
   Transitions:  the later Roman Empire  

     Changes in the army


Mar. 4
  Transitions:  the later Roman Empire    

    Putting together the pieces: 
     Did the Roman empire "fall?"
      in class


Mar. 6
  Transitions:  the West  

   In search of King Arthur    in class

Blog 2:  Alexander the Great:  Tactics & terrain due

Mar. 11

Spring Break
Mar. 13

Spring Break



 Mar. 18
   Transitions:  the West  Using literature as an  historical source:
  The Song of Roland & the Battle of Roncesvalles -      in class
 Mar. 20
    Background         An extremely brief introduction to the Middle Ages
Mar. 25
  William the Conqueror    Using art as an historical source:  The Bayeux Tapestries   

Turn in final project outline/plan  with short bibliography

Mar. 27
   The Battle of Hastings Work on Bayeux tapestry blog  
Apr. 1
   How to fight like a knight   

  The best defense is a good offense & vice versa


  Blog 3:  Bayeux Tapestry blog due  (Note:  for reasons of copyright, this assignment may need to be submitted as a word processor document)

Apr. 3
   The Crusades    The worthy enemy:  Saladin and the Crusades through Arab eyes
Apr. 8
  The Crusades    Tactics  
Apr. 10
  Battle of Crécy   
  Things change again - technology - in class
Apr.  15
  Finishing things up    Motel of the Mysteries post test


April 17

Mon., Apr. 21 -  last day of classes

  Feasting 101

  Short presentations on final projects - by everyone

  Feast (because armies march on their stomachs)

April 22-24


    Final projects/blogs due by midnight, April 24, MDT
April 25





Total points =

95 - 100% A           
90 - 94% A-
87 - 89% B+
84 - 86% B
80 - 83% B-
77 - 79% C+
74 - 76% C
70 - 73% C-
67 - 69% D+
64 - 66% D
60 - 63% D -
<= 59% E

Useful Sources