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COURSE NAME: "Ancient Rome and Its Monuments "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Summer Session I 2017

EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 2:00-5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: On-site; activity fee: €40 or $52
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

Rome City Series - This on-site course considers the art and architecture of ancient Rome through visits to museums and archaeological sites. The course covers the visual culture and architecture of Rome beginning with the Iron Age and ending with the time of Constantine. A broad variety of issues are raised, including patronage, style and iconography, artistic and architectural techniques, Roman religion, business and entertainment.

This section of AH290 considers, in particular, art and architecture as evidence for daily life in ancient Rome.  Through the direct study of archeological sites, buildings, sculptures, paintings, ceramics, and other objects, accompanied by directed readings of ancient sources in translation, students cultivate a vivid vision of ancient Rome and the lives of its inhabitants—their material surroundings, social ogarnization, work lives, religious practices, and leisure activities.  All class meetings, except for the first meeting and final examination, take place at archaeological sites and museums in or near Rome. 



In this course students will learn to:

  • Discern how ancient Romans worked, governed, practiced their religion, communicated, and entertained themselves, and how those practices shaped and were shaped by the material-monumental environment.
  • Describe the basic chronology and topography of monumental and visual culture in ancient Rome, citing, dating, and analyzing specific examples.
  • Analyze primary sources -- ancient Roman texts, monuments, imagery, objects -- with a critical eye.
  • Apply methods of art-historical analysis, with special attention to art and artefacts as evidence for social history.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Rome. An Oxford Archaeological Guide (2nd edition)Claridge, AmandaOxford University Press9780199546831REF DG62 .C53 2010 ; TXT DG62 .C53 2010Students may substitute or supplement Claridge's book with Filippo Coarelli, Rome and Environs. An Archaeological Guide (updated edition), University of California Press, 2014. ISBN: 9780520282094.
As the Romans Did. A Sourcebook in Roman Social HistoryShelton, Jo-AnnOxford University Press9780195089745HN10.R7 S45 

Midterm examinationConsists of the top five out of seven quiz scores. In other words, seven quizzes will be administered through the term and lowest two scores for each student dropped. Quizzes consist of variable combinations of image identifications, short answer and multiple choice questions. See spreadsheet of class meetings for specifications regarding preparatory readings and subject matter covered on each quiz.30
Research projectComponents: Description and preliminary bibliography; final narrative paper of 2000 words (6-7 double-spaced pages) of text, with all sources cited both in footnotes (no parenthetical in-text citations, please) and in a full bibliography.25
Final examinationWritten, in-classroom, closed-book exam made up of monument identifications, short-answer questions, and an essay.30
ProfessionalismAssiduous individual note-taking; punctuality; preparation; collegiality; clear and constant engagement; well-informed and thoughtful comments, questions, and contributions to group problem-solving; voluntary independent visits to ancient Roman monuments; contributions to the intellectual life of the class over and above the basic course requirements.15

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance at all class meetings is required.  Students who miss no class meetings are allowed to drop the lowest three (rather than two) quiz scores in the calculation of the final average for the course.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.





Meeting Point



Preparatory readings

Activities and assignments




JCU, Guarini Campus, G.K.1.2

Review of syllabus; Introduction to Roman Social History and Topography

Tiber Island & Forum Boarium

Shelton, Preface; Claridge, pp. 39-60.





Capitoline Square (Piazza del Campidoglio), at the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius

Social Structure; Roman State Religion; Capitoline Hill

Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and the collections of the Capitoline Museums

Readings for Quiz 1: SHELTON, INTRODUCTION (pp. 1-3), CH. 1: THE STRUCTURE OF ROMAN SOCIETY (pp. 4-8, 11-15) & CH. 15:  RELIGION, through section on RITUAL (pp. 359-384); CLARIDGE, pp. 1-24, 259-273 or/and COARELLI, pp. 1-9, 28-41.

QUIZ 1, which will focus on:  THE SOCIAL CLASS STRUCTURE OF ANCIENT ROME: What were the different levels in ancient Roman society? What determined a person's social level?  How did the system change over time?  THE ROMAN STATE RELIGION: What were its main beliefs and practices?  How did it differ from modern religions?  CAPITOLINE HILL: What were the hill's chief areas and monuments? What were their main functions (i.e. how were they used)? Be able to identify the buildings indicated in the ground plans and drawings on Coarelli, pp. 28,  33, and 37.




Entry to the Roman Forum in Via dei Fori Imperiali, across the street from the intersection with Via Cavour.  NB:  This is not quite half way between Piazza di Venezia and the Colosseum on the right side of the street if you are walking toward the Colosseum from Piazza di Venezia.

Roman Government & State Religion; the Roman Forum

Forum Romanum

Readings for Quiz 2SHELTON, CH. 10: GOVERNMENT & POLITICS (entire) and CH. 15, sections on "Officers of the State Religion" and "Deification"; CLARIDGE, pp. 62-113 or/and  COARELLI, pp. 42-101, esp. pp. 42-89.

QUIZ 2, which will focus on:  GOVERNMENT & PRIESTHOODS:  What were the three successive governmental systems in ancient Rome (for help see Shelton, pp. 453-456)? When were they in effect? (Know the dates.)  What were the main political offices and bodies and how were people chosen for them? What were the main priesthoods? What roles did they play in government?  DEIFICATION: What did it mean to the deified? When did the practice begin? THE ROMAN FORUM: What were the principal areas and monuments?  What did they look like?  What were their individual functions? When and how did they develop down to the time of Julius Caesar (died 44 BC)?  Study especially the: Comitium, Curia, Temple of Saturn, Rostra, Basilica Iulia, Temple of the Castors, Temple of Divus Iulius, Temple of Vesta, House of the Vestal Virgins, and Via Sacra.  Be able to locate those monuments on a ground plan of the forum and to identify them from the other drawings provided in the readings.




Front entrance of the Museo Nazionale Romano of Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. Largo di Villa Peretti, 1, near Termini train station

Families; Houses; Burial; Personal and Mystery Religions; Commerce

Sculpture, painting, and more in the Roman National Museum:  Palazzo Massimo alle Terme; Museo delle Terme

Readings for Quiz 3SHELTON, CH. 4: HOUSING AND CITY LIFE, "Single-Family Houses in the City" (pp. 59-top of 63 - pay special attention to the footnotes on pp. 61-62) and "Housing in Rural Areas" (pp. 71-78); CH. 5: PERSONAL CONCERNS, from "Life Expectancy" through "A Funeral Club" (pp. 90-98); CH. 15: RELIGION, from "Religions from the East" through "Curse Tablets" (pp. 391-420); and APPENDIX II:  ROMAN MONEY (p. 452); CLARIDGE, pp. 483-485. See also the online images in class folder on MyJCU.

QUIZ 3, which will focus on:  ELITE HOUSING: In what sorts of buildings did upper-class Romans live? Were there separate spaces for different activities? If so, what did the Romans call those spaces (See footnotes on Shelton, pp. 61-62; know the terms)?  DEATH & BURIAL:  Where were the dead buried in ancient Rome and why? How did non-wealthy Romans provide for their own funerals and  burials?  IMPORTED & MYSTERY RELIGIONS:  What were the main religions that ancient Romans could choose to practice? What did the various religions in question have in common? Were they all treated equally by the Roman state?  MONUMENTS:  Be able to identify and date the following monuments from photographs (see image file in MyJCU):  the Garden Room from the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta; paintings from the Columbarium of Villa Pamphilj; paintings from the ancient Roman Villa of the Villa Farnesina in Trastevere.




Front steps of the Ara Pacis, at the fountain, Lungotevere in Augusto, near Piazza Augusta Imperatore

The Imperial Cult

Mausoleum of Augustus; Ara Pacis Augustae; Column of Marcus Aurelius, Temple of Hadrian; Castel Sant'Angelo (time allowing)

Readings for Quiz 4CLARIDGE, pp. 197-221, 410-15 or/and COARELLI, pp. 261-266 296-304, 360-62). See also the online study guide, with images.

QUIZ 4, which will focus on: the monuments covered in the readings - their ground plans, elevations, decorations, and functions.  Be able to identify and date the following MONUMENTS from photographs, as well as ground plans and reconstruction drawings (see image file in MyJCU):  the Ara Pacis Augustae; the Mausoleum of Augustus; the Augustan Horologium (Meridiana); the Column of Marcus Aurelius; the Mausoleum of Hadrian (Castel Sant'Angelo)




Capitoline Square, at the statue of Marcus Aurelius

Research projects:  evidence for the lives of ordinary Romans

Funerary monuments in the Capitoline Museums; Library lesson: JCU Frohring Library

DESCRIPTION & RESEARCH PROJECT - introduction & information-gathering session.  To prepare, read:  SHELTON, CH. 8: SLAVES, & CH. 9: FREEDMEN AND FREEDWOMEN

BEGIN DESCRIPTION & RESEARCH PROJECT: choose one of the allowed funerary monuments in the Capitoline Museums. Describe the object in detail, and write a fully footnoted research paper (2000 words of text) in which you attempt to imagine, based on scholarly research, the likely life (social class, activities, living environments, etc.) of the person the object represents. What biographical details can be extracted from the monument itself?  What else can be hypothesized about the deceased's life experiences based on the period and social category to which he or she belonged? Further instructions will be distributed separately.




Piazza della Rotondo, at the fountain

Architecture, ritual, and entertainment in the Southern Campus Martius

Pantheon, Temples of Torre Argentina, Theater and Quadriporti-cus of Pompey, Stadium of Domitian

Readings for Quiz 5:  CLARIDGE, pp. 60-61, 222-58, COARELLI, pp. 266-296; SHELTON: CH. 14; LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT, esp. "Leisure Activities" through "Baths" (pp. 309-314) and "Theater Events" (pp. 346-348.

QUIZ 5, which will focus on: BATHS & THEATERS - basic factual material, including the names and functions of the different rooms in a Roman bath (e.g. on Shelton, p. 312); the MONUMENTS covered in Claridge / Coarelli - their ground plans, elevations, decorations, and functions.  Be able to identify the monuments of the southern and western Campus Martius on a ground plan of the area (e.g. Claridge, pp. 198-99; Coarelli, p. 276).  Also be able to identify and date the following monuments from photographs and drawings (see image file in MyJCU):  the Pantheon; Stadium of Domitian; Theater and Quadriporticus of Pompey; Theater of Marcellus; Porticus of Octavia.  Also on this date: Submit research paper bibliography in print.




Arch of Constantine

Public Spectacle: Triumphs & the Arena. Time allowing: the imperial place complex on the Palatine

Domus aurea (from drawings);  Via Sacra; Arch of Titus, Basilica Nova /aka Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine); Temple of Antoninus Pius & Faustina; Colosseum

Readings for Quiz 7: CLARIDGE, pp. 111-123, 301-319 or/and COARELLI, pp. 92-99, 159-172); SHELTON, CHAPTER II: THE ROMAN ARMY, section on "A Triumph" (pp. 251-252) ; CHAPTER 14, section on "Arena Events" (pp. 348-358)

QUIZ 7, which will focus on: the MONUMENTS covered in Coarelli, esp. the Colosseum, Ludus Magnus, Arch of Titus and its relief sculptures.  Be able to identify and date these monuments from photographs, ground plans, and elevation drawings (see image file in MyJCU).  Also covered: basic factual material from Shelton and on-line material regarding arena events and triumphs.




The Column of Trajan (freestanding column across the street from the Victor Emmanuel Monument)

The Imperial Fora and Cult

Imperial Fora, including Trajan's Column and Markets

Readings for Quiz 7CLARIDGE, pp. 160-192 or/and COARELLI, pp. 103-128.

QUIZ 8, which will focus on: MONUMENTS in COARELLI, IMPERIAL FORA (pp. 103-128).  Be able to identify each imperial forum and its main components on a ground plan (see p. 102-103), to specify when the forum was built and by which emperor, and to discuss the impetus (e.g. triumph) that prompted its construction. Descriptive & Research papers due at 10 pm via email to the professor.




Entrance to the Roman Forum in Via di San Gregorio

House, Circus, Bath

Roman Houses of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Circus Maximus, Baths of Caracalla

Readings:  SHELTON, CH. 4, from "Apartments" to "Neighbors" (pp. 63-71), and CH. 14 section on "Circus Events" (pp. 337-345); CLARIDGE, pp. 61-62, 299-300, 348-65, or/and  COARELLI, pp. 10-27, 217-223, 321-331.

QUIZ 8, which will focus on: Apartment life; Circus events; bathing; Circus Maximus; Baths of Caracalla




FINAL EXAM, time & room TBA by JCU




Final examination