From a group of thatched huts on the banks of the Tiber River, to a wall built to keep the Picts out of England; from the marble temples to the emperors in modern Turkey to the houses of North Africa; from the theaters in Roman Gaul to the destroyed town of Pompeii, the Romans inhabited the entire Mediterranean basin and formed a diverse urban society. We will explore how the Romans built and decorated their houses, how they buried their dead, how they interacted in public spaces, and how they used art in the service of the sacred. We will begin with the formation of Rome in the 8th century BCE, and finish when Constantine moves the capital of the Empire to the east. In this chronological unfolding of the Roman world, we will explore how the Romans developed different building types for their new urban needs; developed the art of interior painting and mosaic; used sculpture to glorify the individual and explain what it means to be a "Roman." We will pay particular attention to the interplay between the city of Rome and its monuments and the larger cultural world the Romans inhabited, especially where they met other art styles that influenced the development of their own - in Greece, France, Asia Minor, the Middle East and Africa.
Field trips are mandatory for this class.