Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

CLST 207: Art of the Roman World

Spring 2013

 Course Title:         ART OF THE ROMAN WORLD


    Instructor: Dr. Giovanni SCICHILONE


      Address:              Via Gran Bretagna,  20  -  00196   ROMA


       Phones:              06 807 4936 (home,  with answering machine; 9am/9pm - Rome time)

                                    348 82 77 331 (mobile; 9 am / 7 pm, except urgent matters)


         E-mail:            giovanniscichilone@yahoo.it



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 –and, in general, ancient art-  they will also be able to do so comparatively to examples of western and non-western art.  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.


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.  Introduction of scholarship on ancient 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  observe, describe and analyze objects of  Roman -and, more generally, ancient-  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 partecipate 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 28  at the very latest.     No  email  messages  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 neighbours – 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)    93-100        (A-) 89-92          (B+) 86-88             (B) 81-85

                                          (B-)   78-80         (C+) 75-77        (C) 71-74,5            (C-) 68-70,5

                                          (D+)  63-67,5     (D) 60-62,5       (F) 59 and below





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.  In this context, it will be given for granted their knowledge of our University’s policy on matters regarding Academic Integrity   (see:  www.luc.edu/academics/catalog/undergrad/reg_academicintegrity.shtml)






Taking into due account, as soon as issued, the finalized calendar for the semester, all important dates and deadlines for the students in this course  will be  listed  in  the  final  version  of  this  syllabus.




Please note class will also meet on Friday, March 15. 



















                                 VALID FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER      of    the    Academic    Year    2012 / 2013













                                                                                    PRELIMINARY   VERSION