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COURSE NAME: "Cities, Towns & Villas: Rome, Ostia, Pompeii"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Jens Koehler
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: T 9:15-12:00 PM
PREREQUISITES: On-site; mandatory trip; activity fee: €40 or $52
OFFICE HOURS: cell 338-5256504

Rome, Ostia and Pompeii are three of the best- preserved archaeological sites in the world. Through their study, we are able to comprehend the physical and social nature of Roman cities and how they transformed over the course of centuries. We explore the subjects of urban development, public and private buildings, economic and social history, and art incorporated into urban features (houses, triumphal monuments, etc.). In Rome, we focus primarily upon public buildings commissioned by Senators and Emperors: temples, law courts, theaters, triumphal monuments, baths. In Ostia, the port-city of Rome, we are able to experience many aspects of daily life: commerce, housing, religion, entertainment. Pompeii represents a well-to-do Republican and early Imperial period city that was influenced by the Greeks and Romans and preserves some of the most magnificent frescoes in the world.

The course introduces to ancient Roman civilization. We will study the ancient topography of Rome, with a focus on the city’s most important elements: Temple, Forum, Palace, Theatre, Baths, Aqueducts, City Walls and Cemeteries. The urban development from the foundation in 753 BC to the decline in the 5th century AD goes hand in hand with the chronology of events, or the historical background. Visits to the well preserved towns of Ostia and Pompeii will contribute to understand the transformation of Roman cities through time, and the role of particular building types in ancient society. A view on Roman villas can show private architecture and life in the countryside. The last part of the course is dedicated to Late Antique Rome.

The mandatory field trip to Pompeii is scheduled for Friday, TBA, 2018.



Students are introduced to different methods of archaeological analysis. The first-hand experience of unknown monuments and the examination of their historical and social context allow students to study and think critically. The nature of the exams, the class notes and term paper, as well as class discussion, are aimed to a further development of critical analysis, presentation and communication skills.


Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Rome. Archaeological Guide (2nd ed. 2010)A. ClaridgeOxford University Pressn/an/a 

MidtermThe exams are structured to assess students‘ knowledge of essential facts about monuments and their cultural/historical significance. The exams are based upon lectures and readings. The midterm test is on TBA. It will consist in identifications and short questions.20%
Final ExamThe final exam takes place in the week of TBA. It consists in identification, short questions and cumulative essay questions.30%
Oral Report Each student is responsible for class minutes, i. e. one oral presentation due to the following class meeting and a typed revised version due to midterm or final (2-3 double-spaced pages and sketches). You are expected to return to sites (or prolong your visit) before organizing your thoughts and completing your final analysis. The aim of the presentations/minutes is to communicate effectively what you had seen and been taught. 15%
Research PaperThe paper should be 5-7 double-spaced pages, exclusive of images and bibliography. Due dates: outline TBA and TBA for final paper. No late papers are accepted. Please refer to additional term paper guidelines. The outlines (1-2 pages) should consist of a thesis statement, table of contents, and bibliography. 25%
Participation In addition to timely presence, active participation is expected of all students. You are expected to come to class having read the assignment and to be prepared to answer and make relevant questions and to share your own observations.10%

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 requir
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.


All scheduled classes are mandatory. You are allowed only one unjustified absence; every unjustified absence thereafter will result in the lowering of your grade. Attendance will be taken at each class. Because this is an on-site course with special scheduled permits to sites and museums it has strict time limitations. You must, therefore, always be punctual. You should calculate around 40-50 minutes travel time to our meeting points (specified below in the class schedule). Please refer to the university catalog for attendance and absence policy.

For legal reasons no visitors are allowed to follow the class.


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.


Session Session Focus Reading Assignment Other Assignment Meeting Place
Jan.  1. Introduction to Ancient Rome. Chronological Overview - History and Topography. Claridge 4-15. 494-496. Syllabus. in classroom 
Jan.  2. Capitol and survey of the ancient city centre: Forum Romanum,  Tiber Island, Theatre of Marcellus, and Forum Boarium temples. Roman history. Claridge 62-67. 259-273. 274-290. meet on Capitoline Hill, Piazza del Campidoglio
Jan.  3. Forum Romanum and Palatine. Origins, political center, imperial palaces. Monarchy, Republic, and early Empire. Claridge 62-159. meet at the entrance to Forum Romanum, Via dei Fori Imperiali
Feb.  4. Circus Maximus. Nero's palace, Colosseum and Ludus Magnus. Spectacles. Claridge 299-306. 313-319. 326-328. meet at the Arch of Constantine
Feb.  5. Imperial Fora and Markets of Trajan. The Roman emperors and political propaganda Claridge 160-196. meet at the entrance to Forum Romanum, Via dei Fori Imperiali
Feb.  no class
Feb.  6. Field of Mars (Campus Martius). Mausoleum, Ara Pacis, Sundial.  Religion and propaganda under Augustus. Hadrian's Pantheon and temple, Column of Marcus Aurelius. Midterm review. Claridge 197-249. meet at the tower on Largo Argentina

Feb.  7. MIDTERM TEST midterm test in classroom 
March  8. Ostia Antica: Harbor of Ancient Rome. History, city planning, Roman economy. www.ostia-antica.org early start meet at the pyramid of Cestius, Piazzale Ostiense       
March  no class
FRIDAY,  9. & 10..Fieldtrip to Pompeii. History and destruction of the town. Public and private buildings, Daily Life. www.pompeiisites.org very early start meet at 7 a.m. on Piazza Trilussa
March  11. Baths of Diocletian. City Walls: Servian and Aurelian. Major public construction Claridge 61. 391-396 Paper outline due meet in front of Santa Maria dei Martiri, Piazza della Repubblica
March  12. Roman aqueducts (or Baths of Caracalla)

www.romanaqueducts.info; Claridge 60-61. (357-365) meet at Porta Maggiore
April  Spring Break - no class

April  13. Arch of Constantine. Caelian Hill and San Clemente. Late Antiquity. Claridge 307-312. 341-355.


meet at the Arch of Constantine
April  14. Catacombs of St Agnes. Mausoleum of Constantina. Early Christians. Review for final. Claridge 447-449. 455.


meet at the entrance to Sant'Agnese, Via Nomentana

April  holiday - no class Paper due  
May  FINAL EXAM    final exam in classroom
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FIELD TRIP TO POMPEII HAS BEEN SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY, TBA. WE WILL DEPART FROM PIAZZA TRILUSSA PROMPTLY AT 7:00 a.m. AND EXPECT TO RETURN TO ROME BY 7:00 p.m. WE WILL TRAVEL WITH THE OTHER SECTIONS OF AH 190. this class schedule may be changed - students will be informed of any change. You can call the front office at 06-6819121


Book Title


The Ancient Roman City (1988)

Stambaugh, J.

A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (1992)

Richardson, L.

A History of Rome (2005)

Le Glay, M. et al.

The Art of Rome (1973/1977)

Andreae, B.

Cambridge Illustrated History of the Roman World (2003)

Woolf, G. (ed.)

Roman Art. Romulus to Constantine (2005)

Ramage, N. H. - Ramage, A.

Baths and Bathing in Classical Antiquity (1992)

Yegul, F.

The Churches and Catacombs of Early Christian Rome (2001)

Webb, M.

Roman Sculpture

Kleiner, D. E. E.

Roman Painting (1991)

Ling, R.

Roman Builders

Taylor, R.

Roman Building

Adam, J.-P.

Roman Art (1988)

Strong, D.

The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (1988)

Zanker, P.