City of Rome: literature and imagination

Classics and Ancient History, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity

College of Arts and Law


Code 23387

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester Scheduled 2012-13, 1 and 2

Pre-requisite modules none

Other pre-requisites none

Module description

This module focuses on the various ways in which we construct and reconstruct a sense of the city of Rome through its literature and its reception in ancient and later art and culture. The primary chronological focus in semester 1 will be on the late republic and early empire, and discussion will concentrate on exploring the intersections between cultural constructs of the city, and representations of the city in literary texts. Class activities and lecture presentations will deal in detail with the interplay between literary and built urban landscapes, and how these 'texts' are simultaneously a product of the city, while also, paradoxically, functioning as part of its ideological development. Students will be introduced to contemporary theories of cultural and civic space, and relate recent critical developments to their study of the textual history of civic Rome. Semester 2 builds on the knowledge of literary constructs of Rome explored in Semester 1, and also expands on the understanding of theories of urban, intellectual and cultural space that were gained. In semester 2, this module focuses on how (and why) Rome functions as a perpetually significant civic archetype. Lectures, class discussion and other activities will be structured to help students to investigate and interrogate our reception of Rome through literary and visual texts (e.g. Renaissance, Grand Tour, Napoleonic Europe, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth-Century fascist appropriations). This module will examine a variety of media to develop a coherent story of how Rome exists for now as an intellectual and imaginary space in the early twenty-first century.

Teaching and learning methods