Fall 2023

Roma Redux: The Eternal City Across Time

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-285  |  Classics, as CLAS-285  |  European Studies, as EUST-285


Nicola Courtright (Section 01)
Christopher S. van den Berg (Section 01)


(Offered as ARHA 285, CLAS 285, EUST 285) From its legendary origins in the eighth century BCE, through its political framing as a republic, to its global dominion as an empire and its subsequent Renaissance revival as the center of a Christian empire, Rome was a seat of unmistakable political and cultural power. Its art and architecture, the literature and oratory of its leaders, its devotion to protective deities, and its styles of governance became the model for countless nations who sought to imitate, adopt and surpass Rome’s authority. The continuity and change visible in the rich material composing the city itself—temples, churches, sculpture, painting, fountains, tombs, palaces, baths, streets, walls, fora and piazzas—will be the subject of the class. Meeting twice a week, classes will alternate between examining the philosophy, literature, and historical documents of a period and analyzing selected examples of the art and architecture where the daily life of Romans—from soldiers, citizens and emperors, to women, Jews, and the enslaved—took place. The class will culminate in a trip to the Eternal City for two weeks in January 2024, sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

The class (limited to 18) will live in Rome and make daily excursions to places studied in the course—e.g., the Roman forum, the remains of the imperial palace on the Palatine, the Colosseum, aqueducts, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque churches, the Vatican Palace, St. Peter’s, and more. Students will prepare presentations in situ related to the papers they have written earlier in class. Three class hours per week.

Not open to first-year students. Admission with the consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professors Courtright and van den Berg.

Pending Faculty Approval

How to handle overenrollment: Interviews and reviews of students’ academic record will take place in Spring 2023 to determine the composition of the class. Preference is given to majors in the ARHA and Classics Departments, then rising seniors, juniors, and sophomores.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Students will interpret art and material culture, read philosophy, literature and history, and complete several papers and presentations. The course includes international travel.

ARHA 285 - LEC

Section 01
M 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM FAYE 217
W 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM FAYE 217

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
The Architecture of Roman Temples Cambridge UP J. Stamper Required Amherst Books TBD
Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide (2nd ed.) Oxford UP A. Claridge Required Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2023