Material Rome, 1200–1700





This seminar focuses on the material city of Rome during a 500-year period that saw numerous changes to a city that remained known almost universally for its ancient ruins. The course begins with the geological situation of Rome, including a consideration of the Tiber River, which flows through the city and has caused numerous disastrous floods over the centuries. Students then proceed to consider, in approximate chronological order, aqueducts, streets, plazas, buildings, ornamentation (including painting and sculpture), and obelisks and their transport. The focus is on material artifacts, which are considered also as cultural, social, and political entities. Urbanization is considered in terms of the images of the city (including cartographical images) and of changing social and political spaces. Readings include primary sources and essential recent scholarship. Reading knowledge of Italian and personal knowledge of Rome are welcome but not required. 3 credits.