JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Ancient Rome and Its Monuments"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

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

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 course is intended to offer students an introduction to the city of Rome that is architectural, artistic, and topographic in nature. In our study of Ancient Rome, we will focus on the urban development of the city and embellishment of the city fabric from its foundations through the Republican, Imperial and Early Christian periods. As Rome's modern urban fabric is profoundly affected by the events of the ancient period, this course is also intended as a tool for facilitating understanding of the city in which we currently reside. Therefore, students are encouraged to exploit the advantage of studying in Rome and to consider the city and its museums as a laboratory for study. Explanation of the different methodologies of research will supply the student with the necessary instruments for their future individual studies not only on antiquity, art history and architecture.

Attention: Classes on campus start at 8:30! see class schedule!


Students are introduced to the terminology and different methods of art historical analysis and are prepared to use critical thought in investigating the historical, political, religious, economic  and social context of material culture. The first-hand experience of monuments and their environment encourages also to compare and contrast Roman cities o the own contemporary urban culture and to identify the ongoing contribution of Roman systems to modern conceptions.


 The nature of the different assessment methods aims to apply critical thought in examining a complex culture (exams), to employ accurate vocabulary for evaluating material (visual analyses), to strengthen  presentation and communication skills (oral report) and to empathize with a specific Roman social and cultural historical context (paper).

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Rome and Environs .An Archaeological GuideCoarelli, FilippoU of California Press 978-0-520-28209-4     

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
See booklist below the classschedule  
 The grade of the course will be calculated as follows: 
oral report8-10 minute presentation (accurate description and contextual interpretation) accompanied by a one-page handout to the class on a monument chosen from a list distributed in class.15 points
midterm examconsists of identification of visual material, short questions and longer essay questions. Study guide will be distributed in class.20 points
final examsee above25 points
research paper8-10 pages: research and presentation of one specific moment of a certain area of the Ancient city of Rome; includes a complete bibliography and uses an adequate system of quotations. Detailed instructions will be distributed in class.20 points
3 visual analysessketch and accurate description of a work of art or monument presented during class15 points (each 5)
class participationevaluates the quality of your participation5 points

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 course. A 94-100 % A- 90-93
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. B+ 87-89% B 84-86% B- 80-83%
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. C+ 77-79% C 74-76% C- 70-73%
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. D 60-69%
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. F 0-59%

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!

NO VISITORS are allowed to class (epecially for legal but also technical reasons)!

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.


This is a Tentative Schedule subject to change regarding the access to museums and monumental areas following up the Italian regulations with respect to the pandemic crisis and accordingly to tickets availability!

IMPORTANT NOTE: classes on campus start at 8:30!! Regular on-site classes at 9:15. Check carefully the schedule, please!

Week 1 (Sep 5): Class 1

INTRODUCTION 1) course requirements & logistics; documentary sources;

& ROME’s chronology and mythological background

MP: F.G.2 (Frohring campus, Ground floor, room 2) at 8:30!!

Reading: Coarelli 1-11(Introduction); Claridge 1-9, 31-36 (documentary sources);

recommended: Ramage introd.; Connolly & Dodge 102-121 (chron. overview).

Week 2 (Sep 12): Class 2

INTRODUCTION 2) discussion of oral report & paper topics; building types, materials and techniques;

& ROME’s topography: Tiber and Tiber Island;
MP: F.G.2 
at 8:30!! for the first part of class and then we go together on-site
Reading: Coarelli 348-352 (Tiber Island, Trastevere), Claridge 37-59 (glossary, building-types), 226 (Tiber Island).

Week 3 (Sep 19): Class 3

ETRUSCAN ART and CULTURE in the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia

MP: Piazza del Popolo, near obelisk, class moves together to the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia

Reading:  Sorrentino, the Etruscans in the Museums of Rome (Villa Giulia); Brendel, Etruscan art, ch.19 (sculpture in terracotta):

Recommended: Claridge 394-397 (Villa Giulia); Rasmussen 13-25 in: Henig, ch.1 (Early Roman Art); Ramage ch.1.

Week 4 (Sep 26): Class 4

Rome's layers from Iron Age huts to Imperial art works: CAPITOLINE HILL and Museums & Discussion of paper

MP: Capitoline Hill, in front of ticket office to Museum (Piazza del Campidoglio) – MIC card needed!

Reading: Coarelli 29-43 (Capitoline); Claridge 6-11, 229-240 (Capitoline, Temple of Jupiter, equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius);

recommended: Ramage ch.1; Stewart 264-277 (The Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius).

Week 5 (Oct 3): Class 5

Shaping Rome's city center: The ROMAN FORUM

DUE: first paper ideas (brief oral presentation in class)

MP: at Column of Trajan (near Piazza Venezia) - Forum MEMBERSHIP card needed!

Reading:  Coarelli 47-57, 63-81, 97-98 (Roman Forum). Stambaugh ch.6 &7 (population and city government)

recommended: Ramage ch.2; Claridge 16-17, 116-145, 267-284 (Roman Forum),


Week 6 (Oct 10): Class 6

From Roman Republic to Empire. Along the TRIUMPHAL ROAD. Midterm study guide review.

MP: in Largo Argentina, in front of Feltrinelli bookstore

Reading: Coarelli 261-285 (Campus Martius I), 307-321 (Forum Holitorium and Forum Boarium);

recommended: Ziolkowski 309-333 (… Round Temple on the Tiber); Claridge 177-180 (introd. Field of Mars), 214-228, 243-247.

Week 7 (Oct 17): Class 7


MP: F.G.2 at 8:25!!


Week 8 (Oct 24): Class 8

AUGUSTUS and the Imperial Idea: the Augustan Campus Martius (Field of Mars)

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

DUE: Paper's topic (brief oral presentation in class and submitted on Moodle: paper assignment)

MP: in front of Ara Pacis Museum, near Ponte Cavour – MIC card needed!

Reading:  Coarelli 285-291, 299-304 (Augustan Campus Martius); Zanker, P., Power of Images, 33-43. 118-125, 143-162, 172-183, 335-339;

recommended: Ramage ch.3 & 4; Clarke 19-28 (Ara Pacis and ordinary viewer); Claridge 11-18, Field of Mars: introd. and Augustan monuments (Mausoleum, Altar of Peace, Sundial, early Pantheon).


Week 9 (Oct 31): Class 9

IMPERIAL RESIDENCES: Nero's Golden House and the Flavian Palace

MP: near Arch of Constantine - Forum MEMBERSHIP card needed!

Reading: Coarelli 131-157 (Palatine Hill), 158-160, 164-172 (Colosseum valley), 180-190 (Nero's domus aurea and Oppian hill);

recommended:  Ramage ch.5; Gallia 148-165 (Remaking Rome … Flavian Age); Claridge 119-145 (Palatine Hill), 267-271, 276-284, 290-292 (Colosseum, Nero's Golden House); Connolly & Dodge 190-217 (Colosseum),  218-225 (palace).

Week 10 (Nov 7): Class 10

IMPERIAL SKILLS: the Imperial Fora, Trajan's Column and Markets.

DUE: Paper's progress (brief oral discussion in class)

MP: at Column of Trajan – MIC card needed!

Reading:  Coarelli 102-128 (Imperial Fora);

recommended: Ramage ch.6 (Trajan); Clarke 28-41 (Trajan’s Forum and new Imperial city); Claridge 11-18, 146-173.

Week 11 (Nov 14): Class 11

IMPERIAL CULT and entertainment: The central Field of Mars from Domitian to Marcus Aurelius.

VISUAL ANALYSIS 2: done during class (bring white paper and pencils)!

MP: in front of Pantheon

Reading:  Coarelli 261-266, 286-298 (central Campus Martius); Hetland 79-98 (New perspectives on the dating of the Pantheon);

recommended: Ramage ch.7 & 8; Claridge 17-20, 177-228 (Field of Mars), 369-373 (Mausoleum of Hadrian); MacDonald, Pantheon.

Week 12 (Nov 21): Class 12

Embellishing the City: PORTRAITURE and SCULPTURE in the Centrale Montemartini Museum

DUE: Paper's outline (brief oral presentation in class for last adjusments and submitted on Moodle)

MP: Via Ostiense 106, at entrance to Centrale Montemartini Museum – MIC card needed!

Reading:  a selection (out of: Giustozzi, N. (ed.), The Capitoline Museums, Electa 2006; M. Bertoletti, M. Cima & E. Talamo, Centrale Montemartini, new ed. 2007) provided before class;

recommended: museum's official website: www.centralemontemartini.org

Week 13 (Nov 28): Class 13

The City in the LATER EMPIRE and Constantine the Great.

DUE: paper's final draft (submitted on Moodle no later than Thursday, Nov 30)

MP: at Column of Trajan (near Piazza Venezia) - Forum MEMBERSHIP card needed!

Reading:  Coarelli 43-47, 57-63, 81-97, 98-101 (Roman Forum high and late imperial),Coarelli 159-163 (Arch of Constantine), 177-190 (Oppian Hill) Coarelli 11-27 (City Walls), 326-331 (Baths of Caracalla), 365-367 (Via Appia).

 recommended: Ramage ch. 9 -12; Wright 493-507 (true face of Constantine); Claridge 20-27, 70, 75-76, 83, 109-111, 115, 272-276, 284-288, 332-335 (Aurelianic Walls), 346-350;

Week 14 (Dec 5): Class 14

OSTIA Antica: the ANCIENT PORT city & Course conclusion (Prepare course material following the study guide!)

VISUAL ANALYSIS 3: done during class (bring white paper and pencils)!

MP: in front of Metro B stop Piramide (Piazzale Ostiense) at 8:30!! (we take the Roma-Lido train to get to site)

Reading:  Coarelli 451-476; Stambaugh ch.18;

recommended: use also www.ostia-org.

Week 15 (tba):


MP & time tba








Assigned or recommended readings out of:


Bertoletti, M., Cima, M. and Talamo, E. (new ed. 2007) Centrale Montemartini. Electa

Brendel, O.J. (2nd ed. 1995) Etruscan Art.Yale UP

Claridge, A. (1998) Rome. (Oxford Archaeological Guide). Oxford UP

Coarelli, F. (2007) Rome and Environs. An Archaeological Guide.U of California P

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

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

Ramage, N.H. and Ramage, A. (1995) Roman Art. Laurence King

Rasmussen, T. (1983) Early Roman Art.InHenig, M., A Handbook of Roman Art: 13-25. Phaidon

Scarre, C. (1995) Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome. Penguin Books

Sorrentino, G. (n/a) The Etruscans in the Museums of Rome

Stambaugh, J. (1988) The Ancient Roman City. Johns Hopkins UP

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


Selection of books or articles - including some recommended readings – accessible through JCU Frohring library (through “JCU Discovery” or “Databases” on library page of JCU website):


Albertson, F.C. (2001) Zenodorus’s ‘Colossus of Nero.’Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, 46: 95-118.JSTOR

Beckmann, M. (2012) The Column of Marcus Aurelius.InM. van Ackeren (ed.), A Companion to Marcus Aurelius: 251-263. Blackwell. JCU eBook

Bergmann, M. (2013) Portraits of an Emperor - Nero, the Sun, and Roman otium. In E. Buckley and M. Dinter (eds), Companion to the Neronian Age: 332-62. Wiley-Blackwell. JCU eBook

Boschung, D. (2012) The portraits. A short introduction. In M. van Ackeren (ed.), A Companion to Marcus Aurelius: 294-304. Wiley-Blackwell. JCU eBook

Carter, M.J. (2006/2007) Gladiatorial combat: the rules of engagement. Classical Journal 102.2: 97-114. JSTOR

Clarke, J.R. (2003) Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans.University of California Press.JCU eBook

Cornell, T.J. (2000) The city of Rome in the middle Republic (c. 400-100 BC). In J. Coulston and H. Dodge (eds), Ancient Rome. The Archaeology of the Eternal City: 76-118. Oxford University School of Archaeology. JCU eBook

Davies, P. (2000) Death and the Emperor. Cambridge, University Press. JCU eBook

Fejfer, J. (2008) Roman Portraits in Context.Walter de Gruyter.JCU eBook

Fejfer, J. (2015) Roman portraits. In B. Borg (ed.), A Companion to Roman Art: 233-251 (390-418 online). Wiley-Blackwell.

Flower, H.I. (2004) Spectacle and political culture in the Roman Republic. In H.I. Flower (ed.) Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic: 322-43. Cambridge University Press. JCU eBook

Gallia, A.B. (2016) Remaking Rome. In A. Zissos (ed.), A Companion to the Flavian Age of Imperial Rome: 148-65. Wiley Blackwell. JCU eBook

Gorrie, C. (2004) Julia Domna's Building Patronage, Imperial Family Roles and the Severan Revival of Moral Legislation. Historia 53.1: 61-72. JSTOR

Heslin, P. (2007) Augustus, Domitian and the so-called Horologium Augusti. Journal of Roman Studies 97: 1-20. JSTOR

Hetland, L.M. (2015) New perspectives on the dating of the Pantheon. In T. Marder and M. Wilson Jones (eds), The Pantheon from Antiquity to the Present 79-98. Cambridge University Press. JCU eBook

Lusnia, S.S. (2004) Urban planning and sculptural display in Severan Rome: reconstructing the Septizodium and its role in dynastic politics. American Journal of Archaeology 108.4: 517-44. JSTOR

Marder, T. and Wilson Jones, M. (2015) Introduction. In T. Marder and M. Wilson Jones (eds), The Pantheon from Antiquity to the Present 1-48. Cambridge University Press. JCU eBook

Marlowe, E. (2006) Framing the Sun: the Arch of Constantine and the Roman cityscape. Art Bulletin 88.2: 223-42. JSTOR

Noreña, C.F. (2003) Medium and message in Vespasian’s Templum Pacis. Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 48: 25-43. JSTOR

Packer, J.E. (2010) Pompey's Theater and Tiberius' Temple of Concord. In B.C. Ewald and C.F. Noreña (eds), The Emperor and Rome. Space, Representation and Ritual: 135-167. Cambridge University Press. JCU eBook

Peirce, P. (1989) The Arch of Constantine: propaganda and ideology in late Roman art. Art History 12.4: 387-418. JCU eArticle

Pirson, F. (1996) Style and message on the Column of Marcus Aurelius. Papers of the British School at Rome 64: 139-79. JSTOR

Pollard, E.A. (2009) Pliny’s Natural History and the Flavian Templum Pacis: botanical imperialism in first-century C.E. Rome. Journal of World History 20.3: 309-38. Project MUSE

Potter, D. (1994) Review of: Emperors and gladiators by T.E.J. Wiedemann. Journal of Roman Studies 84: 229-31. JSTOR

Rose, C.B. (1990) “Princes” and Barbarians on the Ara Pacis. American Journal of Archaeology 94.3: 453-67. JSTOR

Rose, C.B. (2005) The Parthians in Augustan Rome. American Journal of Archaeology 109.1: 21-75. JSTOR

Rose, C.B. (2008) Forging identity in the Roman Republic: Trojan ancestry and veristic portraiture. In S. Bell and I.L. Hansen (eds), Role Models in the Roman World: 97-132. University of Michigan Press. JSTOR




Smith, C. (2000) Early and Archaic Rome. In J. Coulston and H. Dodge (eds), Ancient Rome. The Archaeology of the Eternal City: 16-41. Oxford University School of Archaeology. JCU eBook

Smith, R.R.R. (1985) Roman portraits: honours, empresses and late emperors. Journal of Roman Studies 75: 209-21. JSTOR

Stevenson, T. (1998) The ‘problem’ with nude honorific statuary and portraits in late republican and Augustan Rome. Greece and Rome 45.1: 45-69. JSTOR

Stewart, P. (2012) The Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. In M. van Ackeren (ed.), A Companion to Marcus Aurelius: 264-77. Wiley-Blackwell. JCU eBook

Taraporewalla, Rashna (2010) The Templum Pacis: Construction of memory under Vespasian. Acta Classica 53: 145-163. JCU eArticle

Varner, E. (2014) Maxentius, Constantine, and Hadrian: Images and the expropriation of imperial identity In S. Birk, T. Myrup Kristensen and B. Poulsen (eds), Using Images in Late Antiquity: 48-77.Oxbow Books.JCU eBook / JSTOR.

Walker, S. The moral museum: Augustus and the city of Rome.InJ. Coulston and H. Dodge (eds), Ancient Rome. The Archaeology of the Eternal City: 61-75. Oxford University School of Archaeology. JCU eBook

Witschel, C. (2015) late antique sculpture. In E.A. Friedland, M.G. Sobocinski and E.K. Gazda (eds), Oxford Handbook of Roman Sculpture: 323-39. Oxford University Press. JCU eBook

Wright, D.H. (1987) The true face of Constantine the Great. Dumbarton Oaks Papers 41: 493-507. JSTOR

Ziolkowski, A. (1988) Mummius’ temple of Hercules Victor and the Round Temple on the Tiber