JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Cities, Towns & Villas: Rome, Ostia, Pompeii"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Elisabeth Fuhrmann-Schembri
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: T9:15 AM 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 NumberComments
The Ancient Roman CityStambaughxxxxxx  
Oxford Archaeological Guides: RomeClaridgexxxxxx  

midterm and final examidentification of visual material, short answer and essay questions each 25 points
2 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; 8 pages 25 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.


SessionSession FocusReading AssignmentOther AssignmentMeeting Place/Exam Dates
MANDATORY FIELDTRIPS to Pompeii & Ostia: Friday & Saturday tbaEach fieldtrip has the value of two regular classes!! See details lower down in the schedule!!This is just a TENTATIVE syllabus, SUBJECT TO CHANGE according to governmental decisions regarding the PANDEMIC CRISIS !! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SEE UP-DATE on JCU MOODLE COURSE PAGE !!  
class 1) INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE. TIBER and TIBER ISLAND: Introduction to the course (requirements, logistics, chronological/ conceptual overview, etc.); on-site: Rome’s topography and mythological background; Tiber, Tiber Island. Stambaugh introductionCoarelli introductionMeeting place: on campus tba for intro and then we go on-site
class 2)ROME'S FOUNDATION: Kings to early Republic: Capitoline Hill and Temple of Jupiter, Capitoline MuseumStambaugh ch. 1 & 13 Coarelli 29-34 (Capitoline, Temple of Jupiter); MP: Capitoline Hill (Campidoglio) on top of large staircase
class 3)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, 6 & 7Claridge 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: entrance to Roman Forum, Via dei Fori Imperiali (half way between Pizza Venezia and Colosseum)
class 4)FROM ROMAN REPUBLIC TO EMPIRE: Campus Martius from Republic to Augustus: Area Sacra of Largo Argentina, Theatres of Pompey, Balbus and Marcellus, Porticus of Octavia, Temple of Apollo, F. Holitorium and F. Boarium temples Stambaugh ch. 3, 11 & 13 Claridge 176-80 (Campus Martius), 214-226, 241-255 (Theatre of Pompey to Round Temple)MP: Largo Argentina in front of Feltrinelli bookstore
class 5)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 VISUAL ANALYSIS 1 (done during class, bring white paper and pencils) Claridge 176-192, 201-208 (Pantheon, Baths of Agrippa, Basilica of Neptune) MP: Piazza del Popolo, near obelisk
Tuesday, February 23NO CLASSused for fieldtrip  
class 6) meets early at 8:30 !!MIDTERM EXAM  MP: tba at 8:30 !!
Tuesday, March 9SPRING BREAKno class  
class 7 & 8) FRIDAY tbaPOMPEII: 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 & 17Zanker, P.,Pompeii. Public and Private Life (1998) MP: Piazza Trilussa, 6.50 (departure bus: 7.00)!! (has the value of two morning classes)
class 9) SATURDAY tbaOSTIA, 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)VISUAL ANALYSIS 2 (done during class, bring white paper and pencils)MP: We will meet at 9 am in front of Metro B stop Piramide at Piazzale Ostiense and take together the Ostia Lido train !! (has the value of two morning classes)
Tuesday after fieldtripsNO CLASS used for field trip  
class 10)The Transformation of the city between Palatine Hill and Colosseum valley: the JULIO-CLAUDIAN and FLAVIAN EMPERORS: Imperial residences, Arch of Titus, Colosseum. Stambaugh ch. 7 & 14 DUE: paper TOPIC!! Claridge 16-17, 116-118 (Arch of Titus), 119-145 (Palatine Hill), 271, 276-284 (Colosseum), 290 (Ner's Golden House) MP: at Arch of Constantine (near Colosseum)
class 11)THE IMPERIAL FORA and TRAJAN's MARKETS: drastic changes in the urban design reflect Imperial skills.Stambaugh ch.5 (67-77), ch.9.Claridge 147ff (Imperial Fora and Trajan's Column and Markets)MP: at Column of Trajan, near Piazza Venezia
class 12)The Reshaping of the Campus Martius by DOMITIAN and the GOOD EMPERORS: Imperial cult and entertainment.Stambaugh ch. 5 (72-81) & 14 DUE: written paper OUTLINE (& brief oral presentation in class) !! Claridge 193-214 (Column of Antoninus Pius and of Marcus Aurelius, Hadrianeum, Pantheon, Stadium of Domitian), 369ff. Mausoleum of Hadrian MP: in front of Pantheon
class 13)The city in transition from PAGAN to CHRISTIAN. The multiple layers of San Clemente. Stambaugh ch.5 (The Later Empire), ch. 12 & 15DUE: hard copy of PAPER's final draft !! 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), 284 (San Clemente) MP: entrance to Roman Forum, Via dei Fori Imperiali (half way between Pizza Venezia and Colosseum)
class 14)The BATHS OF CARACALLA and the Importance of Social Bathing. REVIEW of our semester! Claridge 319ff (Via Appia and Baths of Caracalla). Prepare the course material according to study guide for discussion !!  MP: Circus Maximus, at curve (east side), near Metro B stop Circo Massimo
tbaFINAL EXAM    MP: on campus TBA
Tuesday, April 27NO CLASSused for field trip  
 RECOMMENDED BOOKS:Abbondanza, L. (1997), The Valley of the Colosseum (Electa Guide); Giustozzi, N. (ed.) (2006), The Capitoline Museums (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. nad 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; 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.