INDS 214: Rome the Eternal City: Approaches and Explorations (Interim January 2013)

INDS 214: Rome the Eternal City: Approaches and Explorations (Interim January 2013)

INDS 214: Rome the Eternal City: Approaches and Explorations (Interim January 2013)

Munich-Verona-Rome RomePompeii


Instructors: Professors Markus Dubischar (Classics) and Robert Cohn (Religious Studies)

Course Description

The breadth and depth of Rome's historic and cultural legacy are matched by only few other cities in the world. This course will be a double journey in time. Naturally, we will explore the city of Rome itself, focusing mainly (but not exclusively) on classical antiquity. In addition, we will attempt to recreate the experience of traveling to the Eternal City as an educational and transformational experience sought by noblemen, intellectuals, and dreamers in the 18th and 19th centuries. The travel reports of four famous "tourists" (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Henry James) will add depth and reflection to our own journeys and explorations.

This course consists of three main parts: first, the approach to Rome, literally and metaphorically, following Goethe's path (but faster by train) via Munich, Innsbruck-Brenner, and Verona; second, explorations in Rome, combining classroom sessions and archeological, cultural, and art-historical excursions; third, a concluding visit to the Naples area and two of the best-excavated sites of Roman antiquity, the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum that were catastrophically destroyed by the erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE.

Learning Outcomes

In this course, students will gain critical historical understanding of Rome as a cultural and political center through the ages, as well as of "Rome" as an idealized city of the imagination. By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the major historical developments and cultural characteristics of ancient Rome's four major periods (Kings, Republic, Empire, Late Antiquity).
  2. Demonstrate the perennially close relationship between text and context by relating classical texts to Rome's sites that the texts presuppose or refer to.
  3. Describe the influence of Jewish culture and religion on Roman life.
  4. Trace the continuities and discontinuities between pagan Rome, Christian Rome, and Catholic Rome.
  5. Identify the major historical and cultural developments in Italy after the fall of the Roman Empire (Mediaeval Ages, Renaissance, Baroque Age, Nationalism, Modernity).
  6. Assess how our image of ancient Rome is indebted especially to the Renaissance and European Romanticism.
  7. Contrast travel habits in the 18th and 19th centuries with traveling in today's globalized world, and explain how traveling as a social practice is inevitably conditioned by intellectual, economic, and technological factors and forces at the time.

Itinerary and Course Topics


Monday, January 7

4pm – Group meets Newark Liberty Airport

7:30pm – Depart Newark Liberty on United Flight 9254

MUNICH: Roman Antiquities North of the Alps

Tuesday, January 8


10:20am – Arrive at Franz Joseph Straus International Airport Munich, Germany

11am – Transfer by public transportation to Hotel

3pm – Walking Tour of Munich

Wednesday, January 9

Munich: Ancient and Modern

9am – Tour of Glyptothek, Antikensammlung

12pm – Lunch in the T.U. Mensa

3pm – BMW Museum

8pm – Communal Dinner at the Hofbräuhaus

MUNICH to VERONA: Following a Centuries-Old Travel Route across the Alps

Thursday, January 10

Travel day

9:30am – Depart Munich Hauptbahnhof by train, via Innsbruck-Brenner

3pm – Arrive at Verona, Porta Nuova Station

VERONA: A Roman Urban Center in Northern Italy

Thursday, January 10 (cont'd)

Orientation in Verona

4pm – Walking tour of Verona

8pm – Group Dinner at Osteria Verona Antica

Friday, January 11

Verona: From Rome to Romeo

10am – Tour of Verona's Roman sites (arena, theater, triumphal arch, city gates, bridge, mosaics, marble streets)

1pm – Lunch

3pm – Tour of Juliette’s House and Verona’s churches

ROME: The "Eternal City"

Saturday, January 12

Travel day and orientation in Rome

10am – Depart Verona Porta Nuova by high-speed train

2:15pm – Arrive Roma Termini

2:30pm – Transfer by taxi to apartments

4pm – Walking tour of Trastevere, grocery shopping

Sunday, January 13

Ancient Rome I: The political center of ancient Rome

9am – Lecture

10am – Capitol with Archeological Museum

3pm – Forum Romanum

7pm – Group dinner at Taverna dei Quaranta

Monday, January 14

Ancient Rome II: Official representation and propaganda

9am – Lecture

10am – Fora of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Trajan

3pm – Ara Pacis and Pantheon

Tuesday, January 15

Ancient Rome III: Imperial megalomania

9 am – Lecture

10am – Circus Maximus

3pm – Colosseum, Baths of Caracalla

Wednesday, January 16

Jewish Life in Rome

9am – Lecture

10am – Walking tour of the Jewish Ghetto

1pm – Group lunch at Taverna Del Ghetto

Free afternoon and evening

Thursday, January 17

The Christian Transformation of Rome: Late Antiquity and the Medieval Ages

9am – Lecture

10am – Case Romane, Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere

3pm – San Clemente, Santa Maria del Popolo

Friday, January 18

The Power and Splendor of the Catholic Church: Rome in the Baroque Age

9am – Lecture

10am – Il Gésu

3pm – The Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican Museums

Saturday, January 19

Modern Rome

Free morning and lunch

3pm – Via del Corso, Via dei Condotti, Italian National Pasta Museum

8pm – Opera at Teatro dell’Opera

NAPLES/POMPEII: Under the Shadow of Mt. Vesuvius

Sunday, January 20

Travel day and orientation Bay of Naples

TBD – Depart Roma Termini by train

TBD – Arrive at Napoli Centrale

3pm – Bus ride to the top of Mt. Vesuvius

Monday, January 21

Excavated after almost 2,000 years: the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii, and Herculaneum

9am – Lecture

10am – Tour of Pompeii

3pm – Tour of Herculaneum

Tuesday, January 22

Naples City

9am – Lecture

10am – Walking Tour of Naples

1pm – Group lunch at Pizzeria I Decumani

2pm – Naples Archaeological Museum

Wednesday, January 23

Travel Day

TBD – Depart from Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli

TBD – Arrive at Newark Liberty Airport

Course Materials

G.S. Aldrete, Daily Life in the Roman City, University of Oklahoma Press 2004.

F. Coarelli, Rome and Environs : an Archaeological Guide, transl. J.J. Clauss and D.P. Harmon, University of California Press 2007.

Course Reader, provided by the instructors, containing
(1) passages from Latin literature in English translation (see below)
(2) excerpts from travel writings by Johann Wolfgang Goethe's Italian Journey, Charles Dickens' Pictures from Italy, Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad, and Henry James' Italian Hours
(3) excerpts from current scholarship, including H. Hearder, Italy: a Short History, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press 2001; E. Gruen, Diaspora: Jews Among Greeks and Romans, Harvard University Press 2004; Bernard Green, Christianity in Ancient Rome: the First Three Centuries, T&T Clark 2010; D.E. Karmon, The Ruin of the Eternal City: Antiquity and Preservation in Renaissance Rome, Oxford University Press 2011; D.H. Larmour and D. Spencer (eds.), The Sites of Rome: Time, Space, Memory, Oxford University Press 2007; ### Gombrich

Special Resources

While in Italy, we will use logistical and pedagogical support by the Paideia Institute.

Prerequisites: None

Active Participation

Students will arrive on time and prepared for class sessions and excursions; contribute meaningfully to discussions in class and on excursions; ask questions about what they don't understand, whether it concerns ancient Rome or modern Italy; listen carefully to others and treat everyone with respect; gain as much intellectual benefit and life experience as possible from every situation; and contribute positively to the experiences of the other members of our group.

Failure to comply with any of the above, and especially tardiness, will count severely against the participation score.


Attendance for all planned activities is mandatory.

Daily Assignments

To enhance "deep" learning while abroad, most days will see assignments in the form of readings, presentations, discussions, and/or on-site tours. As the character of our journey changes, depending on where we are, so will the nature of these assignments. There is, however, one standing assignment: the written daily travel journal (see immediately below).

Daily Travel Journal

Like many travelers to Italy in the 18th and 19 centuries, the course participants will maintain a daily travel journal in a sturdy, bound notebook. Its contents should be rich in factual information – derived from our excursions, readings, and classroom sessions – and mature in reflections about ancient Roman or Italian history, culture, and society. To respect privacy, the instructors will not read the students' journals, or do so only with permission by the student. But the instructors will check that the journals are well-kept and current.

The journals will also provide the raw material for two "travel letters" that each participant will write (see below). Moreover, since memories of extraordinary experiences in our youth can bring us joy in later life, it may be worthwhile to keep the journals long after the trip.

Two Travel Letters

Letter-writing was another common practice of travelers in past centuries. Reviving this mode of communication, every participant will write two "travel letters." They will be addressed to a real or fictitious person. Letters may be hand-written or typed. The target length for each letter is 800 to 1,000 words.

The letters may be based on the personal travel journal and should therefore likewise contain substantial factual information and personal reflection. The letters will show the student's ability to focus on particularly fascinating and instructive aspects of our travels and to relate them effectively to someone who was not on this trip and has maybe never traveled to Italy at all.

Our course readings from the travel reports by Goethe, Dickens, Twain, and James (see course reader) may be helpful for this project. These writers, too, wrote for audiences who would likely never travel to Italy themselves, and they, too, could not rely on camera phones and social media to share their experiences. Differences between travel customs past and present will become sharply noticeable this way.


At the end of the trip, there will be a written exam.

Academic Honesty

To maintain the scholarly standards of the College and, equally important, the personal ethical standards of our students, it is essential that assignments be a student’s own work. A student who commits academic dishonesty is subject to a range of penalties, including suspension or expulsion. Finally, the underlying principle is one of intellectual honesty. If a person is to have the self-respect and the respect of others, all work must be his/her own. (Student Handbook, p. 7 and pp. 20-21.)

Privacy Statement

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Grading Policy

Active participation 25 %

Daily assignments 15 %

Daily travel journal 10 %

Three travel letters 30 %

Exam 20 %

100 %