Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

CLST 395 Topography of Rome

Summer 2014- Session I

Summer 2014 - Prof. Giovanna Piga office hours: by appointment

Email: pigagio@gmail.com

Cell Phone: 339 8127659

Course Syllabus







Topography of Rome

CLST 395 1878

TUE/THU  9:am – 12:20 pm








01_ Course description


Topography of Rome is an upper level survey course on the topography, primary monuments and buildings, artistic and architectural styles, building techniques of Ancient Rome from its origin (753 B.C.) to Constantine (312-337 A.D.)

It focuses on changing patterns of the physical fabric of the city and its buildings, as seen within the context of the broader political, religious, military, social, economic, and cultural history.

The transformation of the Eternal City, the complex layers of history which remain visible within the fabric of contemporary Rome, is analyzed through an interdisciplinary approach, including art, architecture, urbanism and history. The study is supported by extensive site visits, allowing students to better

visualize the course’s key themes and lessons.


Outcome: Students will get acquainted with the urban spaces of the city and its major monuments as well as with the Italian cultural context in which Rome has always played a leading role. Students will ultimately develop an ability to connect specific details and features of the city of Rome with important moments and ideas throughout European and Western history.

Discussions regarding architecture's and urbanism’s role in mediating culture, nature and technology will help develop the students' architectural vocabulary.


One introductory classroom lesson will be followed by weekly on site visits to Roman ruins, buildings, monuments, museum, palaces and villas in order to reconstruct through living examples the artistic fabric of the city.

Selected readings will be assigned on a weekly basis in order to provide information and a common ground for class discussion.


The course will meet twice a week to visit various archaeological sites and museums within the city. It is mandatory that you attend every site visit and that you come prepared to all of these site visits (cf. course outline for further details); you are expected to have read all basic material before come to class. Site visits will be coordinated according to the topics.


Note: Students should anticipate needing about €50 to cover entrance fees to museums, monuments or galleries.



02_ Course learning objectives


During the term work the following objectives will be pursued:


•        to achieve an understanding of the basic principles and concepts of urban topography;

•        to understand key aspects of urban layout and spatial organization in the Ancient City

•        to foster an awareness of the multilayered, architectural complexity of the City of Rome.

•        to establish strategies for analyzing this complexity and understanding the wider implications of a building's role within such a setting.

•        to develop skills for visually reading art and architecture and abilities for understanding  the relationships between art/architecture and  civilization;

•        to analyze buildings in their context and to identify their main physical, conceptual and historical characteristics;

•        to achieve an understanding and appreciation of the basic principles and concepts of Roman

Architecture and Urbanism that shaped the Roman Empire and Western culture.


03_Course learning activities


•        One introductory classroom lesson and course overview will be taught in power point presentation of slides, and will be delivered according to the attached schedule.

•        Readings have been selected for this course. You are required to read the relative topics before each class and come ready to discuss, you are also are encouraged to initiate discussions based on readings, lectures and through observations during the on-site visits. Reading about the topic in advance will allow you a greater familiarity with the material before it is presented formally in class.

•        On-site visits: this is an on-site course. On-site visits are “regular” classes and you are required to arrive on time and follow the lesson as in a regular classroom setting.



04_ Course Requirements


04.1 Exams


There will be two in-class examinations (a mid-term and a final examinations).

In addition, you are required to keep a journal of your observations, comments, notes, sketches and/or photographs.


Exams are based on readings, classroom and on-site discussions.

The Midterm examination will cover all topics done up to that point.  The Final examination will be based on all the semester work (cumulative).


In addition to the exams, you will be asked to do short oral presentations on site.

The oral presentation is based on a topic that is course related. The presentation is 10 minutes in length. The presentation should be delivered on site in the context of our regular on site visits and should be referred to the specific monument/building/site listed for that day.

Following the presentation you are required to submit a one-page summary of the presentation plus three bibliographic sources.

Presentation topics can be a further analysis of what we have discussed in class or any topic that is course related.

You are encouraged to keep a journal of your observations, comments, notes, sketches and/or photographs on all site visits.



The professor reserves the right to change the sequencing of lessons and site visits when necessary.


N.B. Changes in examination dates are not open to negotiation. Absence from an exam without avalid excuse (to be proved) will result in an F (0 points) for the exam. Make-up examinations will not be given for travel-related absences. Cheating or dishonesty of any kind on an examination will be penalized with an F (0 points) grade.


You will be allowed 2 absences for illnesses and emergencies. Your final grade, however, will bedropped a third of a letter grade (e.g., B to B-) for each absence after two.



04.2 Grading


Final grades  are based on attendance, participation, journal, 1 oral on-site presentation, 1 midterm exam and 1 final exam and will be calculated according to the following criteria:


Midterm exam                              25%  The midterm exam consists in two parts: slide identifications and multiple choice questions.

Oral presentation                           30%  In the course of the term, you will deliver an oral

presentation to the class in the context of our regular on site visits and on a topic chosen within the parameters of the course.

The presentation topics are listed in the course outline. You will be asked to sign up for presentation the first day of class.

Final Exam                                   30%  The final exam consists in two parts: image identification + related labels, slide identifications and short essay questions.

Journal                                         10%  A journal of observations, comments, notes, sketches and/ or photographs will document the term’s educational experience. Documenting what we see by annotated sketches/photographs/maps/schemes, forces you to learn about essential physical patterns and relationships in our environment in a way that photography and writing alone cannot.

The journal will be reviewed and evaluated at the end of the term for the depth of descriptive content, not beauty or artistic skill.

Class participation                          5%   This part of the grading will be evaluated based on the demonstration of having done the readings, willingness to answer questions, attention and response to classmates. You are expected to attend each class, to read the assigned material prior to class, and to be prepared with questions and comments for discussion.


































04.3 Attendance

Is required not graded. You must attend each scheduled class. As most of the classes will meet on site, you are expected to be always punctual and it is your responsibility to to find out where the meeting place are.


04.3 Academic integrity

See The University’s Academic Integrity Code, infringements will always be taken seriously and disciplinary actions are automatic in such cases.


05_Course resources


05.1 Textbook


•                 Coarelli, F., Rome and its Environs: An Archaeological Guide, (2007);



05.2 Required Readings on Library Reserve


•                 Claridge, A., The Oxford Archeological Guide to Rome, 1998);


•                 Stambaugh, J.E., The Ancient Roman City, (1988).



05.3 Suggested Readings



•           Boatwright, M.T., Gargola, D.J. and Talbert, R., The Romans: from Village to Empire (2004);


•           Coarelli, F., The Colosseum (2001);


•           MacDonald, W., The Pantheon: design, meaning, and progeny (1976);


•           MacDonald, W., The Architecture of the Roman Empire (1982);


•           Orlin, E.. Temples, Religion and Politics in Republican Rome. New York : E.J. Brill  (1997);


•           Sear, F., Roman Architecture (1982);


•           Stamper, J., The Architecture of Roman Temples. The Republic to the Middle Empire (2005);


•           Ward-Perkins, J.B., Roman Imperial Architecture (1981).



05.4 Internet resources


•                 http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Roma/Rome/_Texts/ PLATOP*/Forum_Romanum.html

•                 http://www.cvrlab.org/projects/real_time/roman_forum/roman_forum.html

•                 http://www.romereborn.virginia.edu/ge/FR-006.html

•                  http://www.vroma.org

•                 http://cdm.reed.edu/ara-pacis

•                 http://dlib.etc.ucla.edu/projects/Forum/

•                 http://cdm.reed.edu/ara-pacis




05_Course term schedule


Classes/on-site visits will be held on  T/THU  9:am – 12:20 pm                 

                                                            Midterm Exam             June 3

Final Exam                  June 19




N.B. The professor reserves the right to change the sequencing of lectures and site visits when necessary





















Class Topics


Required reading

ALL students are responsible for reading all material assigned


May 20 (Tuesday)


Class 1

Class Introduction and course overview


Foundation of Rome; Topography & Myth;

Rome urban form, chronological overview


Claridge (1998): 3-30 (Historical Overview) and 51-58 (Architectural Orders and Dimensions and Building-Types)

Classroom introduction lesson

May 22 (Thursday)


Class 2

The ancient city: Capitoline Hill, Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and the Arx (Capitoline Museum)


(admission fee to

Musei Capitolini =

12 €)

Site visit:

Meet in front of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Piazza

Venezia (right corner of the monument)

Coarelli (2007): 1-9 Introduction and 28-40 Capitoline: Historical Notes, Temple Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Area Capitolina;


Stambaugh (1988): Introduction and Ch.1 Earliest Rome

Site visit


Students’Pres entations

1. Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus

2. The


3. The Temple of Veiovis and the Arx





Class Topics


Required reading

ALL students are responsible for reading all material assigned


May 27 (Tuesday)


Class 3

The ancient city from the Monarchy to the Republic and the early Empire Palatine, Roman Forum


(admission fee to Roman Forum & Palatine = 12 €)

Site visit: Meet at the entrance to Palatine Hill on Via di San Gregorio

Coarelli (2007): 42-101 Roman

Forum; 130-157 Palatine


Stambaugh (1988): Ch. 2

Expansion under the Republic

Site visit


Students’Pres entations

1. Basilica Julia & Basilica Aemilia

2. Temple of


3. House of the Vestals and Temple of Vesta

May 29 (Thursday)


Class 4

Augustan City: Campus Martius, Religion and Propaganda


(admission fee to

Ara Pacis = 9 €)

Site visit:

Meet in front of the Museum of the Ara Pacis

Coarelli (2007): 275-304 The Central Campus Martius, The Northern Campus Martius;


Stambaugh (1988): Ch. 4 The Augustan City, Ch. 13 The City and the Gods

Site visit


Students’Pres entations

1. Ara Pacis

2. Mausoluem of Augustus

3. Augustan





Class Topics


Required reading

ALL students are responsible for reading all material assigned


June 3 (Tuesday)


Class 5

MIDTERM EXAM (in class)


The Late Republican City: Theatre of Pompey; victory temples in L. Argentina and Forum Holitorium (on site)



Site visit: Meet in Largo Argentina, near medieval tower

Coarelli (2007): 306-321 Forum

Holitorium, Forum Boarium;

260-275 Campus Martius, The Southern and western Campus Martius;


Stambaugh (1988): Ch. 3 The Late

Republic, Ch. 7 City Government



Site visit

June 5 (Thursday)


Class 6

Rome under the


The Imperial City


(admission fee to Museo Mercati di Traiano = 9,5 €)

Site visit:

Meet in front of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Piazza

Venezia (right corner of the monument)

Coarelli (2007): 102-129 Imperial



Stambaugh (1988): Ch. 5 Rome under the Emperors

Site visit


Students’Pres entations

1. Forum of


2. Forum of


3. Trajan






Class Topics


Required reading

ALL students are responsible for reading all material assigned


June 10 (Tuesday)


Class 7

Rome under the Emperors: Valley of the Colosseum, The Oppian Hill


Constantine: Arch of Constantine

Site visit: Meet across the street from the metro Colosseo

Coarelli (2007): 158-175 I Valley of the Colosseum;


Stambaugh (1988): Ch. 14 Roman


Site visit


Students’Pres entations

1. Colosseum

2. Ludus


3. Arch of


June 12 (Thursday)


Class 8

Topography & Buildings under the Emperors: Quirinal, Viminal & Via Lata


(admission fee to Museo Nazionale Romano  = 7 €)

Site visit

Meet in front of Michelangelo's Santa Maria degli Angeli Church,

Piazza della


Coarelli (2007): 230-236, Historical Notes, 247-254 From the Castra Praetoria to the Viminal;


Stambaugh (1988): Ch. 14 Roman


Site visit




Class Topics


Required reading

ALL students are responsible for reading all material assigned


June 17 (Tuesday)


Class 9

The Republican


Forum Boarium, Southern Campus Martius (on site)

Site visit:

Meet in front of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, Piazza

Venezia (right corner of the monument)


Site visit


Students’Pres entations

1. Round Temple of the Forum Boarium

2. Temple of


3. Theatrum


June 19 (Thursday)


Class 10










Most of my classes will be held at sites both outdoors and indoors around Rome. Please budget 50

Euros for admission to various sites. Please leave a minimum of 75 MINUTES for transportation.  Please bring/wear the following items to each class to get the most out of this experience:


•        Admission fees (as required)

•        Map, meeting address and suggested bus route (or visit www.atac.roma.it – click British flag for

English and then “route planner”)

•        Comfortable walking shoes

•        Bottle of water

•        Sunscreen/hat/sunglasses/umbrella/jacket as appropriate

•        When visiting churches: no tank tops or short shorts/skirts

•        No photography during class: you may take pictures only after we have finished the on-site discussion.

•        Student international I.D.

•        Valid bus tickets which can be purchased at any tabaccaio (look for sign with capital “T” outside) and some newspaper stand.  1,5 Euro for 100 minutes of travel, including transfers - purchase 2 per class.

•        Unlined notebook / sketchbook

•        Syllabus, onsite class instructions and all guidelines









Requirements: The presentation is 10 minutes in length. You can use photos, sketches and maps/floor plans to illustrate your points.



Be prepared to submit a one-page summary of the presentation plus three bibliographic sources. All topics must be approved by the professor.  For sources you can start with the list of books at the front of your reader and the readings list included in the course syllabus, some of them are in our library on reserve.