Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

ClSt 307 / FnAr 337 / RoSt 307 - ART OF THE ROMAN WORLD

Spring 2012


This course is an introduction to the art of ancient Italy from the 2nd millennium B.C.E. to the 5th century A.D. It focuses on major trends and developments in Etruscan and Roman art and explores the impact of Greek art and culture on both. Students will learn to consider and interpret selected examples of material culture and art, placing them in the broader context of contemporary history. Due reference will be made also to the broad geographical context, ranging from local areas of Central Italy in the Bronze Age to vaste areas of the known world over which – in due time – the Roman Empire expanded.


Students will study and learn to interpret examples of ancient Roman art (with its fundamental forerunners in Etruria and in the Greek World) including painting, sculpture, mosaic, architecture, and other artistic media from the late Bronze Age (2nd millennium B.C.E.) to c. 400 A.D.

While students will be able to apply their knowledge to analyze literary descriptions and aesthetic interpretations of Roman art, they will also be able to do so comparatively to examples of western and non-western art.  In addition to honing observational and critical skills, students will learn about the production of material culture or art and the techniques used to create its various types. In doing so, they will acquire at least part of  the technical vocabulary attaching to art and art-productions, well beyond the ancient world.

They will also come to understand that art -even in the rather different cultures of the ancient world, Rome included- is yet a communication that not only reflects the desire of artists to portray the truths about the human condition and environment in aesthetic ways, but also (since art is profoundly tied to audience, time and place) that it is a representation of social, psychological, political, intellectual and cultural topics and concerns.  Through the course students will also see and discuss how, in specific fields (like that of historical representations used as “political propaganda”), Rome anticipated much of later experiences and skills

To contextualize their studies and lay the optimum groundwork for analysis and interpretation of individual examples, aspects of myth, religion, sociology, history and other related socio-cultural subjects will be introduced as they pertain to various pieces. Introduction of scholarship on Roman art will demonstrate the multiplicity of interpretations possible and how these reflect cultural and temporal differences.

As the material is presented chronologically, students will see and evaluate works of art in the light of their aesthetic and cultural precedents.  Acquisition of this knowledge with the relevant vocabularies will enable students to better focus in, observe, describe and analyze objects of ancient Roman art, to introduce thoughtfully the considered views of others, and to formulate their own fresh interpretations and viewpoints about how and why such art was produced and what it means. As a result of this course, they will be better able to recognize and participate in the artistic-cultural life of their communities.


Every lesson will be richly illustrated by original slides from the instructor’s collection; occasionally readings and abstracts from ancient written sources in translation will be offered. In all cases, class discussion and active participation to class work are to be considered crucial and are highly encouraged and valued by the instructor. The same principle applies to the context of on-site classes, with the added benefit of the direct vision of works of the most different materials and scales, suggesting a very broad range of visual and intellectual stimuli. Moreover, since the variety of points and comparisons developed in class can only in part find a substitute in the required readings, class attendance is strongly recommended.

This course will be using Blackboard.  For email contacts, usually answered within 24 hours in office days, see address above.  Personal appointments  will  be  arranged   at the students’ discretion.

The  midterm exam  will consist of a hand-written essay answering two questions over four or five;  such questions  –broad in scope and flexible in structure-  will be strictly based on class-work, on-site visits and related reading-material.  The same format and methodology will be applied to the final test .  Individual cases  and personal problems can be discussed with the Instructor.

During the month of February the students will choose, with the instructor’s guidance, the topic for an individual project in writing (a brief essay or book report for the equivalent of 5 to 6 typed pages), ideally reflecting a personal interest within the scope of the course. These  papers are to be given personally in hard copy to the instructor by March 26  at the very latest.     No  email  message  will  be  accepted  for  grading



References are made to Nigel SPIVEY, Etruscan Art, London and to Nancy & Andrew RAMAGE Roman Art - Romulus to Constantine, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey,2005 (both available at our bookstore)

Lesson 1 & 2                   Introduction. The appreciation of art and of material culture. Early peoples of ancient Italy : The Etruscans and their neighbors – an introduction. Aspects of the archaeological evidence, 11th to 8th c. B.C.  (SPIVEY, Intro & Chapters 1 & 2).

Lesson 3 & 4                   Glimpses of the Etruscan “golden age” through the monumental cemeteries of Cerveteri and Tarquinia. The Etruscans and their neighbours in Italy and Mediterranean world    (SPIVEY,  Chapters  3  &  4).

Lesson 5 & 6                   The Roman Republic, 509/27 B.C. Expansion, expansionism and the growth of Rome. Aspects in the formation of a Roman identity. Architecture, sculpture and painting in the 2nd and 1st c. B.C. Rome and Greece (RAMAGE, Intro & Chapter 2).

Lesson 7                          The Julio-Claudian emperors: Rome as an art center and as the center of a world market for arts and artist. The “romanization” of the world (RAMAGE, Chapter 4).

Lesson 8  (on site)       Rome as the center of a world-wide empire: an overview of Augustan architecture (RAMAGE, Chapter 3)

Lesson 9                     Rome under the Flavian emperors.    A  master architect  -Rabirius- and his Palace on the Palatine Hill (RAMAGE, Chapter 5).

Lesson 10  (on site)     The Rome of Trajan, A.D. 98/117. The essence of Roman imperial art and architecture (RAMAGE, Chapter 6).

Lesson 11                       Hadrian, the classical revival and a culmination for the Roman Empire (RAMAGE, Chapter 7).

Lesson 12                       The Antonine and the Severan dynasties: new languages for Roman art (RAMAGE, Chapters 8 – 9). Towards another world: Rome and Roman Art from 235 A.D. to circa 400 A.D. – an overview.                            


GRADING:                      The final grade for this course will be calculated in accordance with the following percentages:



                                          “Home Project”.....................................................20%

                                          Active class participation.................................... 10%

                                          Final test...............................................................40%


                                          The grading scale adopted will be:

                                          (A) 100-93           (A-) 92-90      (B+) 89-87     (B) 86-83

                                          (B-) 82-80            (C+) 79-77     (C) 76-73       (C-) 72-70

                                          (D+) 69-67           (D) 66-60       (F) below 60




The basic commitment of a university is to search for and to communicate the truth as it is honestly perceived. The university could not accomplish its purpose in the absence of this demanding standard. Students of this university are called upon to know, to respect, and to practice this standard of personal honesty.

Plagiarism, a serious form of violation of this standard, is the appropriation for gain of ideas, language or work of another without sufficient public acknowledgment that the material is not one’s own. It involves deliberate taking and use of specific words and ideas of others without proper acknowledgment of the source. Examples of plagiarism include submitting as one’s own: (a) material copied from a published sources –print, Internet, CD-ROM, audio, video, etc.- another person’s published work or exam material, or a rewritten or paraphrased version of another’s work; (b) paying another to write or research a paper for one’s own benefit; (c) purchasing, acquiring and using for course credit a pre-written paper. Among other common forms of academic dishonesty are: distributing or communicating materials prior to an exam; obtaining information from another student during an exam; bringing non-allowed materials into an exam for clandestine use; attempting to change answers after an exam has been submitted; and falsifying medical or other reasons to petition for excused absences.

Plagiarism or dishonest examination behavior will result minimally in the instructor assigning the grade of “F” for the assignment. In addition, all instances of academic dishonestly will be reported to the Rome Center’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who may constitute a hearing board to consider the imposition of additional sanctions, including a recommendation of expulsion, depending on the seriousness of the misconduct.



                                                                see above for details

Midterm exam:    ................................................................................. February  27

Choice of topic for “home-projects”:  ............................................. before March 1st

Deadline for submitting your papers:  ........................................................ March 26

             VALID FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER of  the  Academic  Year  2011/2012

                                                                                                            Updated  October 25, 2011

Note  that  an  extra  Friday  class  for  this  course  will be scheduled at a later date