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COURSE NAME: "Ancient Rome and Its Monuments"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TH 9:15 PM 12:00 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 upper-level survey course engages students in considerations and analyses of the city of ancient Rome that are artistic, historical, political and topographic in nature. As a whole, the course provides an in-depth appreciation of the multifaceted history and character of the ancient city and the context of the world in which it existed.

The on-site format is an opportunity to focus exclusively on the city of Rome and to explore how it was both unlike any other city in the Roman world and acted as a center in the ‘globalized world’ that was the Roman Empire.

With the advantage of the on-site format, emphasis is placed on the visual impact of monuments, artworks and spaces. The aim is not only to gain a deeper understanding of their significance, but in particular to investigate these as dynamic elements in a network of social and political interactions. 

Aspects that will inform the course research include:
·     The relationship between the people, the senate and the emperor in the performance of politics in Rome – over time and in diverse contexts (i.e. much more than imperial ‘power’)
·     The reciprocal nature of benefaction and honors, and the manner in which this contributed to establishing and articulating social relationships; this includes the importance of audience and viewership as active participants in visual narratives (i.e. discarding old notions of ‘propaganda’)
·     The city and its urban space as dynamic aspects of civic life – across social classes: how the visual and spatial construct of space intersect with movement and the performativity of citizenship (i.e. architecture is more than a ‘theatrical backdrop to politics’)
·     The inherently international and interconnected character of the ancient Mediterranean world, and how the Roman world may be seen as a globalized world – simultaneously diverse and unified (i.e. discarding old notions of ‘Roman copying of Greek aspects’)

 The course discusses the impact of the origins and early history of Rome (from c. 753 BC), but historically focuses on the period from c. 100 BC-AD 300: the late Republic and Empire.


The course will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of key monuments and artworks in Rome of the period in question. The aim is to develop an ability to analyze motives of their creation and reception.

The course will foster a firm understanding of developments and traditions in the history of Rome of the Republican and Imperial periods. The aim to develop an ability to analyze trends and changes in context.  

The course will familiarize students with the rhetoric of spaces and styles, and the inherent narrativity of objects, and furnish them with the methodologies to interpret these. The aim is for an awareness of spaces as dynamic stages of social interaction and an understanding of the impact of patronage and viewing.

The course will develop the ability to use relevant historical, art historical and architectural terminology to effect. The aim is to develop an ability to analyze art, architecture and material culture as primary sources

The course will develop powers of expression: Organization of material, contextual and nuanced discussion, focused presentation of data, public speaking and presentation abilities, participation in debates

The course will develop critical thinking and interpretation: Reasoned consideration and evaluation of evidence and methods, interpretation of arguments presented, reflection on context and impact

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Rome. Oxford Archaeological Guide (2010) Claridge, Amanda Oxford University Press ISBN 9780199546831 JCU eBook    
Art History Course Reader Dept. of Art History, JCU ...    
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 .... 
Class PresentationResearch presentation to class (10 minutes)15%
Term paperResearch paper (8-10 pages)25%
Mid-term exam (two parts)Image identifications and analytical essays25%
Final examImage identifications and analytical essays30%
Academic participationContribution to class discussions and reviews, sharing of ideas, collaborative behaviour 5%

ASuperior 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.
BGood 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.
CSatisfactory 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.
DPoor 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.
FFailure work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question; most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

You are expected to participate in all scheduled classes. Absences will be noted and may affect your final grade. 
All classes will start punctually; late arrival will be noted and may affect your final grade.
Class will take place no matter the weather. Please dress accordingly and appropriately for visiting public sites and museums in the city.

You are responsible for identifying the location of - and route to - the meeting points of the classes. You should calculate around 40-50 minutes travel time to our meeting points. Note that most classes will end at on-site locations different from the meeting point. For bus/subway route planner see www.atac.it.

Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday 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, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or funeral service for immediate family. Absences due to conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. 

No recording (of any type) of the class is permitted.

Study guides to help you organise your notes and gain an overview of the material - and hence to assist you revise - will be posted weekly, in advance of each class, on Moodle.
Changes, additional course information, etc. will be posted on Moodle. Please check this regularly and, certainly, in advance of each class.
Make-up work is not offered, except in exceptional circumstances and after consultation with the Dean of Academic Affairs.

For specific inquiries or to set up an appointment please contact me via email on [email protected]

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 include:

Bell, S. and Hansen, I.L. (eds) (2008) Role Models in the Roman World.

Borg, B. (ed.) (2015) A Companion to Roman Art.

Clarke, J.R. (2003) Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans.

Claridge, A. (2010) Rome. Oxford Archaeological Guide.

Davies, P. (2000) Death and the Emperor.

Ewald, B.C. and Noreña, C.F. (eds) (2010) The Emperor and Rome.

Fejfer, J. (2008) Roman Portraits in Context.

Flower, H.I. (2004) (ed.) Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic.

Galinsky, K. (1996) Augustan Culture.

Jacobs, P.W. II and Conlin, D.A. (2015) Campus Martius. The Field of Mars in the Life of Ancient Rome.
Kleiner, D.E.E. (1992) Roman Sculpture.

Marder, T:A: and Wilson Jones, M. (eds) (2015) The Pantheon from Antiquity to the Present
Wallace-Hadrill, A. (1993) Augustan Rome.

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


Week 1 -  Introduction to the course and to Rome
Themes/works: Course requirements & logistics. Rome: mythological & topographical origins. Tiber Island; Forum Boarium; Circus Maximus; Palatine and Capitoline Hills.
Meeting place: JCU, place TBA
Assigned reading: None

Week 2 - Regal and Republican Rome: foundation and expansion
Themes/works: City foundation; survival of Regal period monuments; Republican period expansion; the military triumph. Forum Romanum (Temples of Vesta, Saturn and Castor); Palatine Hill (Romulus); Capitoline Hill (Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus); Forum Boarium (Round temple; Temple of Portunus); Circus Flaminius area
Meeting place: Piazza del Campidoglio, statue of M. Aurelius (Claridge 2010: fig 109).
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 4-9 (history), 39-41, 52-53 (materials & orders), 63-67, 75-77, 83-84, 105-11 (Forum Romanum), 132-3 (hut of Romulus), 259-62, 268-70 (Capitoline, Temple of Jupiter), 285-8 (Forum Boarium), 250-1, 253-6 (Circus Flaminius area); Stamper 2005: 6-10, 38-40, 49-50 (Kings, politics and authority, triumph)

Week 3 - Late Republican Rome: competition, honor, display
Themes/works: Rome and the Hellenistic world; display, competition and influence; patronage and civic space. Theatre of Pompey, Victory temples at Largo Argentina, Forum of Caesar, Forum Romanum
Meeting place: Campo dei Fiori, statue of G. Bruno (Claridge 2010: fig 77)
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 9-12 (history), 63-75, 85-87, 92-95 (Forum Romanum), 71-75, 161-9 (Forum of Caesar), 239-46 (Theatre of Pompey, victory temples); Stamper 2005: 49-50, 84, 90-92 (triumph, Pompey, Caesar).

Week 4 - Caesar and Augustus: private patronage and public space            Pre-midterm test
Themes/works: Patronage, politics, and history; creation of the principate. Forum Romanum (Basilica Aemilia and Julia, Rostra, Curia, Temple of Divus Julius, Temple of Castor, Portico of Gaius and Lucius); Forum of Augustus; Statue of Augustus from Prima Porta
Meeting place: Entrance to the Forum Romanum, Via Fori Imperiali/Via Cavour (Claridge 2010: figs 1, 60)

Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 10-15 (history), 63-75, 85-87, 92-95, 100-3 (Forum Romanum), 177-80 (Forum of Augustus); Kleiner 1992: 59-60 (intro to Augustus), 63-67 (Prima Porta statue); Schneider 2008: 270-8 (Augustan Rome)

Week 5 - Augustus: the triumph of peace 
Themes/works: The creation of the principate: the princeps as role model; senators as stakeholders in a new order. Campus Martius; Mausoleum of Augustus; Ara Pacis Augustae; Horologium; Pantheon and building works of Agrippa
Meeting place: Entrance to the Ara Pacis Augustae, Piazza Augusto Imperatore (Claridge 2010: fig 77).
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 9-15, 40-43 (history & materials), 197-216, 232-3 (Campus Martius, Augustan monuments); Kleiner 1992: 59-60 (intro to Augustus), 90-99 (Augustus, Ara Pacis Augustae)

Week 5 - Late Republic to Imperial Rome: portraits of power     
Themes/works: Portraiture and cultural identity; portraiture and political ideology; Augustan painted interiors. Republican works: veristic portraiture, statue of general from Tivoli; Imperial works: Augustan and Vespasianic portraiture; statue of Augustus from Via Labicana; Garden painting from Prima Porta; Villa Farnesina paintings
Meeting Place: Entrance to Palazzo Massimo Museum, Piazza dei Cinquecento (near Termini station / Piazza Republica) (Claridge 2010: fig 180).
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 12-18 (History); Kleiner 1992: 7-11, 31-40 (Republican), 59-69, 75-78 (Augustan), 171-9 (Flavian); Schneider 2008: 279-84 (the Augustan image)

Week 6 Mid-term exam and discussion of Term Paper               NB note changed class schedule: 08.30 – 11.15
Themes: Source evaluation, reference use, bibliographic formatting related to writing the term paper
Meeting place: JCU place to be established 
Assigned reading: Details will be posted on Moodle

Week 7 – Nero and the Flavians: the emperor and Rome
Themes/works: Articulating imperial status in Rome; positive and negative role models: father-figures and tyrants; Hellenism and tradition. Domus Aurea; Templum Pacis; Flavian amphitheatre; Arch of Titus; Palace of Domitian; equestrian statue of Domitian; Forum Transistorium [Forum of Nerva]
Meeting Place: Entrance to the Forum Romanum, by the Arch of Titus (Claridge 2010: figs 36 [labeled exit])..
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 16-18 (history), 82-83, 118-9, 121-3 (Forum Romanum), 125-8, 145-56 (Palatine), 169-76 (Temple of Peace, Forum of Nerva), 301-6, 312-9 (Domus Aurea, Colosseum)

Week 8 - Trajan and Hadrian: the emperor and the Empire
Themes/works: Articulating the role of emperor: head of empire or co-regent of Jupiter; depictions of war and non-Romans; culture and cosmopolitan outlook. Forum and Column of Trajan; Temple of Venus and Rome; portraiture of Trajan and Hadrian
Meeting Place: Column of Trajan (Claridge 2010: fig 60).
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 18-21 (history), 118-21 (Temple of Roma and Venus), 180-96 (Forum and markets of Trajan); Kleiner 1992: 207-8, 212-20 (Forum and Column of Trajan), 238-42 (Hadrian)

Week 9 - Hadrian to Commodus: ruling a secure world          
Themes/works: Depictions of war and peace; commemoration and dynastic policies. Pantheon, Mausoleum of Hadrian, Hadrianeum, Columns of A. Pius and M. Aurelius, Stadium and Odeum of Domitian
Meeting Place:  Piazza Navona, near southern fountain (Claridge 2010: fig 77).
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 18-21 (history), 197-204 (Campus Martius), 216-21 (Columns of A. Pius & M. Aurelius), 223-38 (Hadrianeum, Pantheon, stadium and odeum of Domitian); Kleiner 1992: 283-88 (Hadrianeum, column of A. Pius), 295-301 (column of M. Aurelius)

Week 10 - The Severans: making a new Rome        
Themes/works: Depicting dynasty and history; reconstructing Roman / making a new Rome; water and popular luxury; popular participation in imperial messages. Arch of Septimius Severus, Temple of Vesta, Arch of the Argentarii, Baths of Caracalla, Septizodium
Meeting point: Piazza Campidoglio, statue of M. Aurelius (Claridge 2010: fig 109)
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 21-24 (history), 78-79 (Arch of S. Severus), 292-3 (Arch of the Argentarii), 356-65 (Septizodium, Baths of Caracalla)

Week 11 - Antonines, Severans and Constantine: ruling a world city              Term Paper due
Themes/works: Portraiture and imperial identity; being Roman, acting Greek; values and morals. Portraiture: Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, Septimius Severus, Caracalla, Constantine; Equestrian statue of M. Aurelius; panel reliefs of M. Aurelius; Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina
Meeting Place: Piazza Campidoglio, statue of M. Aurelius (Claridge 2010: fig 109)
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 18-29 (history), 111-13 (Temple of Antoninus); Kleiner 1992: 267-80 (Antonine portraits), 288-95 (reliefs of M. Aurelius), 319-25 (Severan portraits), 438-41 (Constantine).

Week 12 - Tetrarchs to Constantine: a Roman Rome   
Themes/works: Imperial rule and Roman history; art quoting history; triumph and tradition; a new role for the emperor in Rome? The late imperial Forum; Arch of Constantine; Basilica of Maxentius; Temple of Venus and Roma
Meeting Place: Entrance to the Forum Romanum, Via Fori Imperiali/Via Cavour (Claridge 2010: figs 1, 60)
Assigned reading:
Claridge 2010: 21-29 (history), 78-79, 85-87, 115-7 (monuments in the Forum), 308-12 (Arch of Constantine); Kleiner 1992: 444-55 (Arch of Constantine).

Week 14 - Review class                 NB note changed class schedule: 8.30 – 11.15
Overview and discussion of course content
Meeting Place: JCU, place to be established
Assigned reading:
Course reader page 9 – identify monuments discussed in class. Pose 3-5 questions, based on your revision study, for which you would like clarification and further detail.

Week 15 - Final exam
Meeting place: Date, time and place to be announced