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COURSE NAME: "Selected Topics in Ancient Art: Public and Private Space "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018

EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 10:00-11:15 AM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: One previous course in Art History or Classical Studies or permission of the instructor

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the ancient world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern. May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.

The course draws on two aspects with a keen impact on the current debate in Ancient Art/Classical Archaeology: space and viewing. That is, the configuration and engagement with the diverse types of space that constituted the ancient world, as well as the role of the viewers that formed the audience and users of these spaces. The focus on public and private will provide a prism through which to examine urban and domestic topographies, as well as the associated activities, patronage, and adornments, which may have shaped the experience of these spaces.

The course will focus on the Late Republican and early Imperial periods; that is, the 3rd century BC to 1st century AD. In different ways, these four centuries represent a period of great change, innovation and experimentation. The course will examine and discuss how this is reflected in the urban landscape – in both civic and domestic structures.

Central to the investigation is the relationship between these types of structures, and on the fluid interplay in the ancient world between what constituted ‘public’ and ‘private’ spheres.

To this end, the course will focus mainly on the city of Rome and on the area around the Bay of Naples. The former provides much evidence for how changing political traditions and opportunities encouraged experimentation with new public building types and materials. The latter provides rich archaeological evidence for the diverse ways in which public status could be indicated and experienced in domestic structures

However, course is less an ‘archaeological’ investigation of structures than a consideration of the visual impact and ‘space’ associated with these. Though the role of the patron or owner is a key motivating aspect for the creation of built structures, a second central aspect of the course is the role of the viewer informs the effectiveness of these structures.

The aim of the course is an investigation of the ‘dialogue’ between structure and viewer, and hence of the intersection of the agency of the patron (and tradition) and the agency of the audience (as recipients and users). ‘Space’ is the mediating element in this dialogue. The course will consider the concepts of ‘public and private’ in order to investigate how ‘space’ may be at once defined and deliberate, and composite and ambiguous.

The course will use an overarching chronological format in order to gain insight both to particular developments and motivations, and to the interrelationship of the chosen forms. Within this format individual case-studies will be examined in order to encourage discussion of visual impact and viewed experience of an individual building or building type, and of the perceived impact of these for the understanding of the urban topography as a whole.


·    In-depth knowledge of key artworks and monuments, and their multifaceted connotations. The aim is to develop a contextualized appreciation of the multifaceted visual and artistic culture of the Roman world.

·    Appreciation of the broad range architectural forms and artistic media (and an ability to analyze these). The aim is for a nuanced understanding of the composite material culture of a complex visual world.

·    Understanding of developments and traditions in public and private display of late Republican to late Imperial Rome. The aim is to develop an awareness of cultural characteristics and an ability to analyze trends and changes.

·    Familiarity with the rhetoric of forms and styles, the inherent narrativity of objects, and the impact of viewing. The aim is for an awareness of space, structure and context as dynamic intermediaries of social interaction.

·    Awareness of the role of viewing in the both formulation and reception of monuments and artworks. The aim is to further understanding of the impact of personal experience and social interaction in Rome.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
There is no set textbook for the course-Essential reading will be listed for each class -- 
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
A full bibliography for the course will be provided at the start of the course -For core bibliographic works see below-- 

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Further reading suggestions for the course will be provided at the start of the course ---- 
Participation Contribution to class discussions and reviews, sharing of ideas, collaborative behaviour 0%
Two class presentationsResearch presentations to class 25%
Term paper Analytical research paper (8-10 pages) 25%
Mid-term exam Image identifications and discussions, and analytical essay 20%
Final exam Image identifications and discussions, analytical essays 30%

A Superior work directly addresses the question or problem raised; provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information; demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory; and has an element of originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading.
B Good work is highly competent; directly addresses the question or problem raised; demonstrates some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice; and discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
C Satisfactory work provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings only; it may have some significant structural flaw, absence of information or research background, or too casual and imprecise a treatment, or contain only a minimum of interpretation.
D Poor work lacks a coherent grasp of the material; fails to support its argument with sufficient evidence; indicates a hasty or unconsidered preparation, and/or fails to fulfill the assignment in some way; omits important information and includes irrelevant points
F Failure 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 requirements 
·   You are expected to attend all scheduled classes. Absences and late arrival will be noted and may affect your final grade. Please see the university catalogue for the attendance and absence policy.
·   The use of electronic devices is strongly discouraged; should they represent a significant learning aid please inform me at the start of the course.
•   You are expected to have dealt with food, drink and bathroom needs beforeclass.
•   Make-up work is not offered, except in exceptional circumstances and after consultation with the Dean of Academic Affairs.

Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Students should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam: a major exam (midterm or final) cannot be made up without the permission of the Dean’s Office. Permission will be granted only when the absence is caused by a serious impediment or grave situation. Absences due to conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, etc. will not be excused. 


Changes to / cancellation of class
•     Changes, additional course information, etc will be posted on MyJCU. Please check this regularly and, certainly, in advance of each class.
•     In case of unavoidable cancellations of class, notification will be posted at the front desk at both Tiber and Guarini campuses. A suitable date and time for a make-up class will subsequently be established.

Textbook and revision aid
• There is no set textbook for the course. For recommended reading see the details on the class schedule.
• Revision aids: An overview of works studied, as well as themed questions to help you organise your notes and gain an overview of the material, will be posted on MyJCU in advance of each exam.

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.


Details of further reading suggestions as well as a relevant bibliography for the course will be provided at the start of the semester

Core bibliographic works for the course:
Bergmann, B. and Kondoleon, C. (eds) (1999), The Ancient Art of Spectacle. New Haven/London, Yale University Press. [NX448.5 A78]
Borg, B. (ed.) (2015), A Companion to Roman Art. Malden, MA, Wiley-Blackwell. [JCU eBook]
Davies, Penelope J.E. (2017) Architecture and Politics in Republican Rome. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. [NA2543.S6 D33 2017]
Davies, P.J.E. (2000) Death and the Emperor. Roman Imperial Funerary Monuments from Augustus to Marcus Aurelius. Cambridge, CUP. [NB1875.D38]
DeRose Evans, J. (ed.) (2013), A Companion to the Archaeology of the Roman Republic. Oxford, Blackwell. [JCU eBook]
Ewald, B.C. and Noreña, C.F. (eds) (2010) The Emperor and Rome: Space, Representation and Ritual. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. [DG809.E47]
Gazda, E.K. (ed.) (1991), Roman Art in the Private Sphere. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press. [N5760.R66]
Laurence, R. and Wallace-Hadrill, A. (eds) (1997), Domestic Space in the Roman World: Pompeii and beyond. Portsmouth, RI, JRA. [NA324.D63]
Östenberg, I, Malmberg, S. and Blørnebye, J. (eds) (2015) The Moving City. Processions, Passages and Promenades in Ancient Rome. London, Bloomsbury. [DG78.M68 2015]
Russell, Amy (2011) The Definition of Public Space in Ancient Rome. University of California, Berkeley. [on-line]
Ulrich, R.B. and Quenemoen, C.K. (eds) (2014), A Companion to Roman Architecture: 363-380. Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell. [JCU eBook]
Wallace-Hadrill, Andrew (1994) Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum. Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press. [DG70.P7W33]
Winsor Leach, E. (2004) The Social life of Painting in Ancient Rome and on the Bay of Naples. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. [ND2575.L43]


Please note - the schedule includes two make-up days: Friday September 21 and Friday November 9


1. Tues. Sept. 4       Introduction to the course 
Themes/works       Course requirements & logistics

2. Thurs. Sept. 6     Space and movement
Themes/works       Understanding the city, performing civic roles, participating in civic matters

Public monuments – patronage strategies, 2nd century BC

3. Tues. Sept. 11  Competitive locations; 4th-3rd century BC
Themes/works       Ancestry and individualism; narrative of structure and locations

4. Thurs. Sept. 13 Innovative designs, reflexive placement
Themes/works       Honos and Virtus (Claudius Marcellus), Hercules Musarum (Fulvius Nobilior), Hercules Victor (Mummius), victory temples

5. Tues. Sept. 18 The basilica between public and private
Themes/works       Forum Romanum, basilica form, basilica as civic monument 

6. Thurs. Sept. 20 Monuments for display
Themes/works       Portico of Metellus; Granikos monument; Paris-Munich relief

7. Fri. Sept. 21 Luxuria – Marcellus and the arrival of Greek art
Themes/works    Perceived attraction and danger of art and display

The Republican domus – town-houses and horti in Rome, 2nd-1st centuries BC

8. Tues. Sept. 25 Form and location of the republican domus
Themes/works       The Roman house; house and forum
9. Thurs. Sept. 27 Spatial impact and decoration of the Roman domus 
Themes/works       Domus and basilica; public aspect of house; ‘royal’ paintings
10. Tues. Oct. 2 Destruction of elite houses / horti in Rome 
Themes/works       House and damnatio memoriae; placement and nature of horti

Composite and grand – political rivalries – 1st century BC

11. Thurs. Oct. 4 Terraced structures in Rome and Latium
Themes/works       Capitoline and Palatine temple structures; Fortuna Primigenia at Praeneste; Latin temple-theatres

12. Tues. Oct. 9  Midterm exam

13. Thurs. Oct. 11
Theatre of Pompey – form and location
Themes/works       Theatre of Pompey: triumph, donation, form, inspiration
14. Tues. Oct. 16  Theatre of Pompey – decoration and domus
 Themes/works       Sculptural and decorative content; domus and portico

15. Thurs. Oct. 18 Forum of Caesar
Themes/works       Form and decoration; inspirations; perceived scope/impact

Domus and villa, 1st century BC-AD

16. Tues. Oct. 23  Form and development of the peristyle houseThemes/worksPeristyles and porticoes; movement and sightlines

17. Thurs. Oct. 25
Displaying and representing art in the Roman houseThemes/worksVilla of the Papyri, sculptural choices, sculptural display

18. Tues. Oct. 30 
Movement and viewing 
Themes/works       Painted decoration; viewing designs; movement experience; House the Tragic Poet; House of the Dioscuri

Thursday November 1 - No class

19. Tues. Nov. 6  Represented gardens
Themes/works       Painted garden spaces; Villa of Livia at Prima Porta; Villa A at Oplontis
20. Thurs. Nov. 8  Gardens and water featuresThemes/worksVilla A at Oplontis; House of Marine Venus

21. Fri. Nov. 9  Dining and viewing
Themes/works       Dining and decoration; viewed decoration; Villa at Sperlonga

The city and the princeps, 1st century BC

22. Tues. Nov. 13 Female patronage and portico spacesThemes/worksPortico of Octavia, Portico of Livia, Building of Eumachia

23. Thurs. Nov. 15 Forum of Augustus: an atrium for the city?
Themes/works       Portico space and movement; decoration and use; association analogies

24. Tues. Nov. 20  
Campus Martius: a hortus for Rome?       Research paper due
Themes/worksGardens space / open space; public space, performative citizen roles

Thursday November 22 - No class

25. Tues. Nov. 27 
Porticoes and patronage: peristyles for the people?
Themes/works       Portico of Philippus, Portico of Octavius, Portico of Octavia, Theatre of Marcellus; patronage and movement

26. Thurs. Nov. 29 
The Late Roman House: a new dominus
Themes/works       House layout; stibadium dining; choice of imagery

27. Tues. Dec. 4   
Themes/works       Review of course material

28. Thurs. Dec. 6       Review
Themes/works       Review of course material

29/30. Dec. 10-14 Final exam

Date, time and place to be announced