Netherlands, Utrecht

Archaeological Wonders of Ancient Rome

when 20 June 2016 - 30 June 2016
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 1350

For centuries on end, Rome was the capital of one of the most impressive empires the world has ever known. Rome also was, and still is, one of the major centres of the Christian faith. Why and how did this happen? And, more particularly, what does the archaeology of ancient Rome, which is more than abundant, tell us about these developments? Who were the people that shaped these developments and what exactly do the latest archaeological discoveries and technologies reveal about them?

These are the questions this course seeks to answer by way of a hands-on study of a carefully-selected set of archaeological sites. Starting in the time Rome?s inception as a city-state we will investigate, on-site and face-to-face, a selection of archaeological monuments and museums that relate to all the major transitional phases in the history of the city, all the way up to the emergence of the papacy in the early Middle Ages.

We?ll begin by exploring Rome?s Etruscan roots, to then move on to explore how Roman religion developed, to then study the religious revolution that brought about the rise of Christianity. We will look at the larger cultural context within which these developments took place. In the process we will investigate why competitors such as the cult of Mithras or the adherents of other so-called oriental religions did not carry the day. We will pay special attention to Christianity?s Jewish roots and to why the Jewish community in ancient Rome flourished in the way it did. And we will try to find out what Christianity really meant for those buried in the long, dark, and mysterious galleries of the catacombs of ancient Rome.

In the end, participants will have gained clear sense of the ideas and the realities that shaped the history of the city of Rome, and of the larger and underlying structural developments that determine why Rome still occupies such a central place in Europe?s collective consciousness.

Needless to say, this course is also very much about experiencing the archaeology of one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities on earth for yourself, in ways that will allow you to enjoy the artistic beauty and architectural brilliance of Roman art, and to make sense of these remains from a historical and cultural perspective.

Course leader

Prof. dr. Leonard V. Rutgers is an internationally renowned archaeologist and historian of religion. He has worked in Rome for many years, where he has conducted archaeological fieldwork projects in the Jewish and early Christian catacombs of Rome. This h

Target group

This course aims at advanced bachelor students and beginning masterstudents, particularly those who contemplate continuing their studies in the area addressed by the course. Some prior familiarity with the ancient world is a perequisite. Such prior knowledge is assumed to exist if, in the past, you have taken one or more classes in either classics, ancient history, archaeology, religion, early Christianity or Jewish studies.

Due to the nature of the archaeological monuments we will visit, the maximum number of participants to this course is set at 22

Course aim

To introduce participants to some of the major archaeological monuments of ancient Rome in the area of pagan, Jewish and early Christian visual culture

To familiarize students with the latest archaeological discovieries and insights in this area

To instruct participants in new research methodologies

To train participants in how to engage with these monuments from a historical and cultural perspective

Fee info

EUR 1350: Course + course materials + housing
EUR 1000: Course + course materials

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