Archaeology of Italy: from Constantine to Charlemagne
ANC 298 T - Cr: 3; Contact hrs: 45
Once dismissed as the “Dark Ages” of invasion and destruction between the fall of ancient Rome and the rise of the medieval communes, the period has become the focus of intense scholarly activity and debate. Thanks to excavations in towns, villas, cemeteries, churches and castles, a vastly more dynamic picture has emerged for Italy from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (circa 300-1000 CE). Exploiting new data and nds, together with secondary studies and literary sources, this course o ers an overview of the archeological evidence and history of one of the most vital and complex periods in all European history. The stress is on continuity and major changes that occurred in the peninsula after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. The medieval remains in Rome and northern Latium are outstanding. Course topics include: archaeology of various typologies (domestic, settlements, churches, monasteries, burials, defensive structures); speci c cultures (Ostrogoths, Lombards); inscriptions; conservation and reconstruction; distinctive object types; basic analytical methods of various materials (pottery, metal, glass, wood, stone). Activities include visits to museums in Rome and Tuscania (special laboratory), and to two excavation sites.
This is an introduction to the ancient traditions of the highly civilized Etruscan cuisine, through literature and archaeology. Practical recipes are focused on cereals and legumes, and vegetable and fruit dishes. Meats, seafood, desserts, and serving traditions will also be studied.
This course presents a survey of the extraordinarily rich civilizations that thrived in Central Italy, where Tuscania ourished, from the 8th century BCE to the 5th century CE. Students will discover the political, social, cultural and religious dimensions of the Etruscan and Roman cultures, engaging with surviving art, architecture and literature. We’ll discover together their customs and daily life starting from the analysis of the remaining archaeological evidence. Key issues in the practice of modern archaeology are explored through the use of case studies relating to the town of Tuscania and its surroundings (Tuscia), an area of exceptional archaeological interest and very rich in ancient history. Site visits enforce what the students have learned in class and enhance the understanding of these past cultures.
The traditional stories about the Greek gods and heroes have always been a fundamental part of Western art and literature, especially since their “rediscovery” by Renaissance humanism. A selection of the great works of ancient Greek literature will present the most important stories, and will also show how the Greeks used myth to express the traditional ideals and personal re ections that captivated and shaped subsequent European culture. The pictorial narratives, so common in Greek and Roman monuments and objects, will introduce the sophisticated visual language created by the Greeks to tell such elaborate tales, the rst such iconographic system and one which was to some extent “revived,” together with the gods, heroes and heroines, in Renaissance art. To know Roman mythology and understand its similarities and di erences with Greek mythology is to understand the real essence of the ideals and aspirations of a great people that built a great empire. In particular, Virgil and Ovid, the most widely known writers of Roman mythology, and also other Roman writers, will help students develop a new interest for Roman myth, history and art.
The course is a general overview of ancient literature through the analysis and comparison of some of the oldest works of Western civilization. Through a reading of the most signi cant chapters of the Iliad and the Odyssey, students will get in contact with the aristocratic world and heroes described by Homer in 8-7th century BCE, in order to reconstruct the society of early Greece in the Mycenaean period. The stories presented in the Iliad and Odyssey, considered the “Bible” of classical civilization, show how Greeks used myth to express archetypal values which became immortal for successive generations. Myths are analyzed not only as amazing stories but also as bearers of important messages about life within society, and as primary forms of communication and instruction in a non- literate and oral society. The great in uence of Greek myths on Roman legends will also be seen through the reading of some passages of the Aeneid - the national poem of Rome written by Virgil in the 1st century BCE - focusing on the link between Roman history and Greek tradition. The hero of the work, Aeneas, was the survivor of the fall of Troy and the ancestor of Rome’s leaders. A comparison between Aeneas’ and Odysseus’ wanderings will conclude the course.