Spring 2006

HUMS 639
Rome through the Ages


01/23/2006 - 05/06/2006
Monday 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Davison Art Center 300

Using literature and monuments we survey the history of Rome, Europe's oldest capital city and most significant urban symbol, from antiquity to the age of the Baroque (17th century). We travel from the founding of the city beside the Tiber marshes to its heyday as an imperial center and its transformations (not "decline") under medieval popes and pilgrims to its revival as the epicenter of Renaissance and Baroque culture. Our focus is both on Rome's own urban, political, and cultural history, and on the city's rich yet changing symbolism in the European imagination over two thousand years. The format of our course is a combination of lectures, usually with slides, and discussion of the readings, which are original sources in translation. Rome, in this course, is both a city of living people and a city of the imagination. Students will develop the skills of close reading of visual and textual evidence as you follow its path through time.

Readings for the course include, among other authors, selections from Livy's History of Rome, Suetonius's Life of Augustus, Virgil's Aeneid, St. Augustine's City of God, Dante's On Monarchy, Vasari's Lives of the Artists, and Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.

Students will be responsible for two papers on the assigned reading and a short research paper and oral report.

This course may, by petition, count toward the arts or social sciences concentrations.

In advance of the first class, students should read the first chapter "Introduction: the city of words" in Catharine Edwards' Writing Rome, pp. 1-26. Photocopies of this reading are available at the GLSP Office.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

Laurie Nussdorfer(B.A. Yale University; M. Sc. London School of Economics; Ph. D. Princeton University) is professor of history and letters. She has published numerous studies on the politics, urbanism, and culture of Baroque Rome, is completing the book Brokers of Public Trust: Notaries in Early Modern Rome, and is the author of Civic Politics in the Rome of Urban VIII (Princeton University Press, 1992). Click here for more information about Laurie Nussdorfer.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Maurice Keen, THE HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL EUROPE (Penguin), Paperback

Titus Livy, THE EARLY HISTORY OF ROME (Penguin), Paperback

Francis Morgan Nichols, THE MARVELS OF ROME (Italica Press), Paperback

William Shakespeare, ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (Penguin), Paperback

John Stambaugh, THE ANCIENT CITY OF ROME (Johsn Hopkins University), Paperback

Virgil, THE AENEID OF VIRGIL, Translated by Allen Mandelbaum (Penguin), Paperback

John Wright, THE LIFE OF COLA DI RIENZO (Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies), Paperback


PLEASE NOTE: A course packet of readings is required for student purchase, and will be available at PIP Printing, 179 Main Street, Middletown. Order online at http://www.pip.com/easyDocs/Catalogs.asp.

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Contact glsinquire@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. 
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