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COURSE NAME: "Cities, Towns & Villas: Rome, Ostia, Pompeii"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2020

INSTRUCTOR: Elisabeth Fuhrmann-Schembri
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: M 9:15-12:00 PM
PREREQUISITES: On-site; mandatory trip; activity fee: €40 or $52
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment (cell +39 329 326 7915)

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.
This course examines Roman visual culture in Italy from c. 800 B.C. to c. 400 AD by focusing on the most important surviving sites in Rome and its environs and in the areas hit by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. A focus throughout the course is the development of Roman cities and towns, their plans and topography, their public monuments and their political, economic, social, and religious institutions. We will also study private architecture: from the aristocratic city-house to the country villa to middle class homes. In addition to formal descriptions of the structures, there is a strong emphasis on the role of the monument in ancient society. The course will be conducted entirely on site. There are mandatory field trips to Pompeii and Ostia (each equivalent to 2 class meetings).
Students are introduced to different methods of art historical analysis. The first-hand experience of monuments and the examination of their historical and social context allow students to study and think critically. The nature of the exams, the visual analysis 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 NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Oxford Archaeological Guides. RomeClaridge, AmandaOxford UP978-0-19-288003-1     
The Ancient Roman CityStambaugh, John E.Johnc Hopkins UP0-8018-3692-1     

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
selection of books see here below schedule, a completer list providedin first class  
midterm and final examidentification of visual material, short answer and essay questions 20 and 25 points
3 visual analysescareful description and interpretation of artworkeach 10 points
term paper reconstruction of an area of Rome from point of view of Ancient Roman character; 6 pages 20 points
participation grades quality of active class presence 5 points

A Work 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
B This 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.
C This is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
D This 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.
F This work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant. . . . Grading Standards: A 94-100 % A- 90-93 % B+ 87-89 % B 84-86 % B- 80 83 % C+ 77-79 % C 74-76 % C- 70-73 % D 60-69 % F below

This course relies on student participation in class and on-site lectures and discussions. Therefore, promptness and
attendance are mandatory, and students are highly recommended to complete the readings before each lesson - in
order to be prepared to answer and to ask thoughtful questions - as well as to review material covered in class on a
regular basis. Students are responsible on the midterm and final exams for all material including images covered in the
readings and handouts. Unexcused or excessive absences will result in the lowering of the final class grade.
Please refer to JCU's Catalog for a statement regarding absence and grading policies!

Attention: for technical and especially legal reasons NO VISITORS (family, friends, etc.) are allowed to follow 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 Focus

Reading Assignment

Other Assignment

Meeting Place/Exam Dates

This is a


subject to change regarding the access to museums and monumental areas following up the Italian regulations with respect to the pandemic crisis



MANDATORY FIELDTRIPS to Pompeii & Ostia, Friday & Saturday, Oct 30 & 31

See CHANGES below as fieldtrips not possible for the moment !!

The two fieldtrips have the value of three regular classes (See details lower down in the schedule to know which three Mondays are used!)

SEE UPDATES below !!

Valid from

OCT 16

(from class 5 on)


class 1) Sep 21

INTRODUCTION 1) course requirements & logistics; Rome's chronology, topography and mythological background.

go to Moodle, folder of first week's class: Stambaugh 1-4 (introduction); Claridge 32-36 (documentary sources); Coarelli 1-9 (introduction).


Meeting place: JCU, Tiber campus T.2.2 (check announcements, though)

class 2) Sep 28

INTRODUCTION 2) presentation of paper topic; urban planning, theory and practice.

Stambaugh, ch.15; Claridge 53-59 (building-types)


MP: on campus, T.2.2

Fri Oct 2

(Cancelled) RESCHEDULED for Friday Oct 30 – see there!!

USED for fieldtrips (and therefore class DOES NOT MEET today)



class 3) Oct 5

ROME'S FOUNDATION AND RISE TO LEADING CITY IN THE MEDITERRANEAN: Tiber & Island, Velabrum, Palatine & Capitoline Hill; triumphal road with victory temples and theatres.

Stambaugh ch. 1, 2, 3 & 13; Claridge 226 (Tiber Island), 250-258 (Archaic temples, Portunus-t., Round t, Ara Maxima, 125 (Palatine, hut of Romulus),229-232, 238-241 (Capitoline, T. of Jupiter), 242-247, 222 (T. Apollo Med., Theatre of Marcellus, Porticus of Octavia). 214-219 (Theatre of Pompey, victory Temples of Largo Argentina).


MP: on Tiber Island (near monument in front of church)

class 4) Oct 12

Augustus and the DEVELOPMENT OF THE FIELD OF MARS: Mausoleum of Augustus, Ara Pacis Augustae, Horologium, Pantheon (Agrippa), Baths and Stagnum of Agrippa.

Stambaugh ch. 4; Claridge 176-192 (Campus Martius, Mausoleum of Augustus, Ara Pacis, Sundial), 201-208 (Pantheon, Baths of Agrippa, Basilica of Neptune).

VISUAL ANALYSIS 1 (done during class, bring white paper and pencils)

MP: Piazza del Popolo, near obelisk

class 5) Oct 19

THE ROMAN FORUM: from marshy valley to the political, religious and commercial centre of the Republican city and of early Imperial politics

Stambaugh ch. 2, 3 (review), 6 & 7; Claridge 60-74 (Roman Forum, Curia, Comitium, Basilica Aemilia), 80-82 (Temple of Saturn, Rostra), 85-91 (pavement, Basilica Iulia, Temple of Castor), 97-106 (Temple of Divus Iulius, Arch of Augustus, Temple of Vesta, Atrium Vestae, Regia)


MP: on campus, T.2.2 at 8:30

Class 6) Oct 26

The TRANFORMATION OF THE CITY under the Julio-Claudian and Flavian emperors: Imperial residences, Arch of Titus, Colosseum.

Stambaugh ch. 5 (67-78) & 14; Claridge 11-17, 116-118 (Arch of Titus), 119-145 (Palatine Hill), 271, 276-284 (Colosseum), 290 (Nero's Golden House)


(done during class through Moodle)

MP: CLASSROOM CHANGE: from today in T.1.2 at 8:30

class 7) Friday Oct 30 !!

REVIEW and MAKE-UP sessions

Tentative schedule:

Session 1) 9-9:30: intro class 1 & 2

Session 2) 9:30-10:15: class 3

Session 3) 10:30-11:15: class 4

Session 4) 11:15-open end: discussion of midterm study guide questions

Participation at your discretion

MP: remote from home (class link)

class 8) Nov 2


paper discussion

The exam will be taken in class through Moodle

DUE: first ideas for paper topic

MP: on campus, T.1.2 at 8:30

class 9) Nov 9

THE Imperial Fora and Trajan's markets: drastic CHANGES IN THE URBAN DESIGN reflect Imperial qualities.

Stambaugh ch.5 (67-77), ch.9; Claridge 147ff (Imperial Fora and Trajan's Column and Markets).


paper TOPIC!!

MP: on campus, T.1.2 at 8:30

class 10) Nov 16

The Reshaping of the Campus Martius by DOMITIAN and the GOOD EMPERORS: Imperial cult and entertainment.

Stambaugh ch. 5 (72-81) & 14; Claridge 193-214 (Column of Antoninus Pius and of Marcus Aurelius, Hadrianeum, Pantheon, Stadium of Domitian), 369ff. (Mausoleum of Hadrian).

VISUAL ANALYSIS 3 (done during class through Moodle)

MP: on campus, T.1.2 at 8:30

class 11) Nov 23

POMPEII: a flourishing city in the province. History, design, function etc. of the city from the early days to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Stambaugh ch. 11, 12 & 17; Cantarella & Jacobelli 7-86 (A Day in Pompeii)


written paper OUTLINE submitted through Moodle & brief presentation in class orally.

Zanker (Pompeii) 1-25 (Townscape and Domestic Taste), 27-77 (Urban Space), 135-156 (The Domestic Arts in Pompeii), 192-203 (Domestic Taste and Cultural Identity

MP: tba

Class12) Nov 30

OSTIA, THE SEAPORT OF ROME: Ostia Antica and its topography, history, economy and infrastructures, its house architecture and religious buildings.

Stambaugh ch. 8, 9, 10, 13 & 18 (Ostia) and go to www.ostia-antica.org; Coarelli 450-476 (Ostia)

DUE (Fri, Dec 4 ): PAPER's final draft, submitted through Moodle

MP: tba

class 13) Dec 7

The CITY IN TRANSITION from Pagan to Christian. Conclusion of course.

Stambaugh ch.5 (The Later Empire), ch. 12 & 15; Claridge 70-76 (Curia, Arch of Septimius Severus), 83 -84 (Decennalia Base, Column of Phocas), 107-115 (Temples of Faustina, Romulus, Venus and Roma, Basilica Nova), 272 (Arch of Constantine).

Discussion of final exam study guide!!

MP: tba





MP: on campus tba




Abbondanza, L. (1997), The Valley of the Colosseum (Electa Guide);

 Aldrete, G. (2004) Daily Life in the Roman City; Rome, Ostia and Pompeii;

Boardman, J. (ed.) (2001), The Oxford Illustrated History of the Roman World;

 Cantarella, E. (2003) A Day in Pompeii: daily life, culture and society;

Clarke, J.R. (1991) The Houses of Roman Italy;

 Connoly, P. and  Dodge, H. (1998) The Ancient City. Life in Classical Athens and Rome;

 Coulston, J and Dodge, H. (eds.) (2000) Ancient Rome: The Archaeology ot the Eternal City;

Favro, D. (1996) The Urban Image of Augustan Rome;

 Gallina Zevi, A. and Claridge, A. (eds.) (1996) 'Roman Ostia' revisited;

Giustozzi, N. (ed.) (2006), The Capitoline Museums (Electa Guide);

 Grant, M. (1974) Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii and Herculaneum;

 Guidobaldi, P. (1998) The Roman Forum (Electa guide);

 Hermansen, G. (1982) Ostia: Aspects of Roman City Life;

 Koehne, E. and Ewigleben C. (eds.) (2000) Gladiators and Caesars;

 La Regina, A. (2004) Archaeologocial Guide to Rome (Electa Guide);

Piranomonte, M. (1998) The Baths of Caracalla (Electa Guide);

 Richardson, L.Jr. (1992) A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome;

 Shelton, J.-A- (1997) As the Romans Did: A Sourcebook in the Roman Social History;

 Tomei, E. (1998) The Palatine (Electa Guide);

Wallace-Hadrill, A. (1994) Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum;

 Zanker, P. (1995) Pompeii: Public and Private Life;

 Zanker, P. (1988) The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus.