History of Greek and Roman Art (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Patrizia Basso
Patrizia Basso
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Other available courses
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A dal Feb 18, 2019 al Mar 30, 2019.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course focuses on a particular class of ancient monuments: theaters, amphitheatres and circuses.
The course aims to:
- contextualize the artistic events into the historical and socio-economic situation of the Greek and Roman age;
- show the diachronic development of techniques, styles and cultural choices;
- use an interdisciplinary methodological approach in the interpretation of the ancient art;
- historicize the transformations of ancient monuments in order to understand their effects to the present age.


The course offers a focused study of buildings used for public spectacle in the Classical era: the class of monuments was chosen on the basis of the teacher’s recent excavations at the Aquileia amphitheater.
The course consists of 30 hours of teaching.
In the first part (20 hours) we address the study of Greek and Roman theatres, amphitheatres, circuses/racecourses and stadia by means of the integrated analysis of various types of source (literary, epigraphic, topographic, archaeological and historico-artistic). Topics highlighted include their function, their location in the city, their ground plans and construction, decoration and statuary and the ideological and propagandistic ends that they served. Further, themes of persistence, abandonment and re-use will be addressed – themes that relate to these ancient structures over the course of time – as we try to understand what has become of them in the modern city.
In a second part of the course (10 hours) we will analyse in-depth several particularly important examples of this class of buildings in the Cisalpine world. We will pay particular attention to the Aquileia amphitheatre, which has been the subject of archaeological research by the course teacher.
There will be one or two educational trips to see monuments close up (these trips will be agreed with the students at the beginning of the course).

The first part of the course will consist of lectures while the second will consist of seminars and the educational trips to be agreed upon at the beginning of the course.
Lectures will be broadcast via videoconferencing for students taking the course away from campus. They will also be recorded and available to registered students. Further, the lecture PowerPoints will be made available to students by way of the online teaching page.

The material provided by the teacher (lecture PowerPoints) should be combined with study of a text chosen from amongst those that will be presented in class and listed on the first slide of each lecture.

For those wishing to fill in gaps in their background knowledge, the following volume on the history of Greek and Roman art is recommended: T. Hölscher, L’archeologia classica. Un’introduzione, “L’Erma” di Bretschneider, Roma 2010, chapters. 4-6, 9-22.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is intended to assess the extent of achievement of the learning outcomes described above.
The oral exam will consist of several questions about the general part of the course and the educational visits (this part will account for 40% of the final grade). There will also be an essay and a short (15 minute) PowerPoint presentation on a particular spectacle-related building chosen by the student (this part will account for 60% of the final grade).