Introduction to Roman Archaeology
MWF 2:00pm-3:00pm
Angell Hall, Aud C
4 Credit Lecture

A millennium and a half after its collapse, the Roman Empire lives on in the popular imagination. No wonder: at its peak, Rome's empire was the largest the world had yet seen, spanning almost 3000 miles from West to East, with a population of 50 million inhabitants. Its capital was the world's first megacity, a sprawling home to a million people from all walks of life. From the movies we have visions of decadent emperors, fearless gladiators, and the teeming masses screaming for blood at the Colosseum. But what was life in ancient Rome really like? This course will move beyond the standard stereotypes and explore the history and culture of the city of Rome and its vast empire. Through the objects the Romans left behind, such as ruined temples, perfume bottles, imperial portraits, and soldiers' helmets, we can use art and archaeology to reconstruct the story of ancient Rome and the experiences of daily life in the Empire. Beginning with Rome's lowly origins as a small village we will trace its rise and eventual fall, traversing the empire from rainy Britain to the sands of the Sahara. Along the way we will explore such topics as politics and power, life in the army, religion, food and drink, entertainments, and the private life of its subjects. The readings and illustrated lectures will provide a broad overview, while weekly discussion sections will focus on specialized topics. There are no prerequisites for the course. Your grade will be based on two 1 hour-long exams, one final exam, and your section participation.