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COURSE NAME: "Politics and Power in Roman Architecture - Augustus to Mussolini"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Laura Foster
EMAIL: lfoster@johncabot.edu
HOURS: T 9:15-12:00 PM
PREREQUISITES: On-site; activity fee: €25 or $33

This on-site survey investigates the history of Rome primarily through its monuments—its architecture and urban form. This course will provide the student with a clear grasp of how the city of Rome has changed over the course of two thousand years from a modest Iron Age settlement on the Palatine Hill to a thriving modern metropolis of the twentieth century. The student will become intimately acquainted with the topography, urban makeup and history of the city and its monuments and will acquire the theoretical tools needed to examine, evaluate and critically assess city form, design and architecture.
This survey of Rome’s architectural history examines the relationship between architecture and political representation by studying a selection of the city’s most significant buildings and urban spaces. Readings, on-site lectures and course assignments focus upon problems of power and the role of Rome from the 1st c. CE until the 20th century while also introducing the essential concepts for understanding architecture. Our first on-site visits will consider the ways in which Roman emperors used architecture in Rome as the chief means of representing their reign and the influence of classical architecture had on all later construction in the city. We will then examine the dual role of the papacy as head of the Catholic Church and secular ruler of the city from the Middle Ages through the Baroque periods, seeking to represent itself as the rightful inheritor of Imperial Rome through the design and decoration of ecclesiastical and secular structures. In several lectures, we will explore the urban landscape in order to imagine what life was like for common Romans in different historical periods, contrasting local building traditions to grand architectural monuments. Finally, we will study Rome’s latest transformation as the capital of a modern nation-state and reflect upon the possibilities for contemporary architecture when measured against the city’s imposing artistic past.

•a general knowledge of Rome’s political history and urban development

•the ability to identify changes in architectural monuments according to historical periods

•the ability to discuss works of architecture and urban spaces in terms of their formal design and physical context

•an understanding of the methodological tools used to study architecture and urbanism

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Ancient Roman CityJohn StambaughJohns Hopkins University Press9780801836923   
Rome: An Oxford Archeological GuideAmanda ClaridgeOxford University Press9780199546831  
Rome: Profile of a City, 312-1308Richard KrautheimerPrinceton University Press9780691049618  
High Renaissance Art in St. Peter's and the Vatican: An Interpretive GuideGeorge HerseyUniversity of Chicago Press9780226327822  
The Architecture of MichelangeloJames AckermanPelican Books9780140211849   
Seventeenth-Century Roman Palaces: Use and Art of the PlanPatricia WaddyMIT Press9780262231565  E-Book Available
The Architecture of Modern Italy, Vol. 1Terry KirkPrinceton University Press9781568986319 Available as an e-book
The Architecture of Modern Italy, Vol. 2Terry KirkPrinceton Architectural Press9781568986326  Available as an e-book

Midterm ExaminationThe midterm examination will cover the ancient and medieval periods (roughly from the 1st c. CE to 1400) and will be concerned with the students’ understanding of essential historical concepts and the ability to apply correct architectural terminology. Students should be able to identify monuments by name, approximate dates, and function. The format of the exam includes: •Short answer questions regarding individual monuments: their appearance, construction, urban context and patronage. •Essay: A choice of two essay topics that treat general themes discussed in the first half ofthe course. You will need to provide specific examples taken from works discussed in class. 25%
Term Paper: Monuments in ContextFor this assignment, students will choose a monument from a list of suggestions and will engage in an analysis of the monument’s site, architectural design, and historical context. This assignment provides the opportunity to examine a work not seen in class during the site lectures. Students will put to use the analysis of institutions of power in Rome to built form. The final paper will be approximately 8 pages in length with attached illustrations and bibliography. Further details about the assignment and a list of monuments will be provided before the midterm exam. In order to receive a grade for the paper, students must attend a library workshop on conducting research in art history. The dates for the workshops will be announced. Final papers may be submitted to the site TurnItIn for review. Please be sure to review University policy regarding academic dishonesty, especially plagiarism which will not be tolerated in any form. If you are unsure about what constitutes plagiarism, see the JCU Library website.25%
Final ExaminationThe final examination will cover the period from the Renaissance to the 20th century. The format is identical to that of the midterm exam. However, further understanding of the patrons and architects (for whom we have more knowledge than in the ancient and medieval eras) is expected. 25%
Class Participation and AttendanceClasses on site are complex learning environments involving the first-hand observation of monuments as well as engaged attention to the lecture and discussion. In order to deepen an understanding of the concepts presented in readings and lectures, students will receive couse handouts with exercises aimed at honing skills of observation and improving note-taking. Students should demonstrate their familiarity with readings and understanding of central historical and technical concepts through class discussion. Because we are observing and discussing monuments on site, attendance is essential. It is nearly impossible to recuperate a lecture by going to the monuments on your own using someone else’s notes as a guide. Students who miss more than 2 classes without an official excuse will be referred to the Dean's office. Consistent punctuality will also be a factor in the participation grade. 10%
3 Quizzes - Architectural and Historical TerminologyStudents will be asked to define terms, to identify architectural elements on diagrams, and to identify elements on maps and plans. Each quiz is worth 5% of the grade. See the course schedule for quiz dates.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 co
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 and participation is mandatory for this class and is worth 10% of the total grade.  Because the course takes place entirely on site only once per week, missing even a single lecture can affect preparation and performance on exams. Please see the previous description in assessment methods.
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.



The final syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.


Lecture Theme

Meeting Place

Reading assignments

Exams, due dates, messages

Sept 3

Course overview and introductory lecture


Classroom G.K.G. 1



Sept 10

The Forum as a Political Center from Republic to Empire

Entrance to Roman Forum on via dei Fori Imperiali

John E. Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City, Chs. 4 “The Augustan City” & 13 “The City and the Gods”. On Permanent Reserve in the library, HT114 .S7


Amanda Claridge, Rome (Oxford Archeological Guide), entries on the Roman Forum (pp. 62-68); Senate House (71-75); Basilica Julia (92-93); Forum of Julius Caesar (163-169); and Forum of Augustus (177-180).



Sept 17

Representing Empire in the Era of Trajan and Hadrian

Via dei Fori Imperiali, near the Column of Trajan

John E. Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City, Ch. 5 “Rome under the Emperors”. On Permanent Reserve in the library, HT114 .S7


Amanda Claridge, Rome (Oxford Archaeological Guide), 2010 ed.,entries on:  Forum of Trajan (180-196), Temple of the Deified Hadrian (223-226) and the Pantheon (227-232). On Permanent Reserve in the library, DG62 .C53 2010


CHURCH DRESS CODE (for Pantheon)

Sept 24

Negotiating Rule and Religion under



In front of the Arch of Constantine near the Colosseum

 Richard Krautheimer, Rome:  Profile of a City, 312-1308, Ch. 1 “Rome and Constantine”. On Permanent Reserves in the library, DG811 .K7


Amanda Claridge, Rome (Oxford Archaeological Guide), 2010 ed., entries on: Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine (115-117); the Arch of Constantine (308-311), and the Lateran: Baptistery and Church (373-377).

On Permanent Reserve in the library, DG62 .C53 2010



Oct 2

The Rise of Papal Power and Uses of the Basilica

In front of Basilica of S. Maria Maggiore

Richard Krautheimer, Rome:  Profile of a City, 312-1308, Ch. 2 “The Christianization of Rome and the Romanization of Christianity” and Ch. 5

“Renewal and Renascence: The Carolingian Age”. On Permanent Reserves in the library, DG811 .K7





Oct 9

Popes, Antipopes, Barons and Fiefdoms in Medieval Trastevere


JCU Guarini Campus Entrance

Richard Krautheimer, Rome:  Profile of a City, 312-1308, Chs. 7 “The New Rebirth of Rome: The Twelfth Century” (pp. 161-176 only) and Ch. 13

“Houses, Towers and Mansions”.  On Permanent Reserves in the library, DG811 .K7



Oct 16

Midterm Exam, followed by site walk: The Removal of the Papacy and Its Triumphal Return, 1308-1470


Review readings and class materials for the exam





Oct 23

Reimagining Rome from Sixtus IV to Julius II, 1471-1513


JCU Guarini Campus Entrance

George L. Hersey, High Renaissance Art in St. Peter’s and the Vatican:  An

Interpretive Guide, Ch. 1, pp. 1-17 (On Pope Julius II).  On Permanent Reserves in the library, N6920.H45.


David Coffin, The Villa in the Life of Renaissance Rome, Pt. 2 on the Villa Farnesina. On Frohring Reserve NA7755.C6



Oct 30

St. Peter’s and the Vatican

Piazza S. Pietro, near obelisk at center

George Hersey, High Renaissance Art in St. Peter’s and the Vatican: An Interpretive Guide, Ch. 3 “The New St. Peter’s”



Nov 6

Conflicting Powers in the Counter Reformation


Piazza Farnese

James Ackerman, The Architecture of Michelangelo, Ch. 7 “The Farnese Palace”.  and Ch. 6 “The Capitoline Hill”. On permanent reserves in the library, NA1123.B9A63




Nov 13

Architecture and Self-Promotion in Baroque Rome





Piazza Barberini, near the Triton Fountain

Vernon Hyde Minor, Baroque & Rococo, Ch. 3 “The Baroque Church: Setting for Mystery, Propaganda, & Worship”, pp. 75-87 only. On Course Reserves, N6410 .M56.


Patricia Waddy, Seventeenth-Century Roman Palaces:  Use and Art of the Plan, pp. 3-13.  On Course Reserves, DG797.9.W33.



Nov 20

Foreigners and the Power of the Picturesque from Alexander VII to Napoleon


Piazza del Popolo, near the obelisk at center

Vernon Hyde Minor, Baroque & Rococo, Ch. 7 “Landscapes & Views: Depictions of the Natural and Manmade World”, pp. 289-294 only. On Course Reserves, N6410 .M56.


Terry Kirk, The Architecture of Modern Italy, Vol. 1, Selections from Ch. 2 “Napoleon in Italy, 1800-1815” pp. 87-91 and 112-22 only.  On Course Reserves, NA1114 .K574 Vol 1.



Nov 27

Representing a Unified Italy, 1870-1921

Piazza della Repubblica, in front of Basilica S. Maria degli Angeli


Terry Kirk, The Architecture of Modern Italy, Vol. 1, Selections from Ch. 4 “Unification and the Nation’s Capitals, 1860-1900”, p. 185 and pp. 222-259.





Dec 4

Mussolini’s New Empire and Lessons for Architecture in the Contemporary City

At the exit of the Metro B Magliana stop

Terry Kirk, The Architecture of Modern Italy, Vol. 2, Selection from Ch. 6 “Architecture During the Fascist Regime”, pp. 120-132.  On Course Reserves NA1114 .K574 Vol 2.