Visions of Rome: Uses and Abuses of the Eternal City (CLAM109)

StaffDr Claire Holleran - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of how and why the ancient Rome that we know today is as much a creation as a historical reality, shaped by the uses and abuses of ancient monuments and ideas of Rome by subsequent generations. Students will also gain a thorough and detailed knowledge of the urban development of Rome, from the Augustan era to the present day. They will develop their critical skills by using a wide variety of literary, visual, and archaeological source material drawn from a range of historical periods, and will develop their awareness of the particular difficulties presented by the different contexts in which this material was produced. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Detailed knowledge of approaches to ancient Rome in a number of historical periods
  • 2. Detailed knowledge of the urban development of Rome
  • 3. Familiarity with a wide range of literary, visual, and archaeological source material relating to the city of Rome (including antiquarian material, e.g. maps, engravings by Piranesi etc.)

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Development of critical approaches to source material
  • 5. Experience in conducting independent research in Classics and History
  • 6. Experience in formal academic writing in Classics and History

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Development of skills in critical analysis
  • 8. Ability to digest and organize diverse information to form a coherent argument
  • 9. Experience in writing an analytical essay
  • 10. Experience in conducting independent research
  • 11. Experience of discussing issues with peer group
  • 12. Development of strong oral presentation skills and the production of visual aids (e.g. handouts / Powerpoint presentations)

Syllabus plan

Possible topics could include:

Augustus and the creation of the Roman past; the city of Rome in ancient literature; Charlemagne and Rome; Roman antiquities in the Renaissance; Italian unification and Roma Capitale; Rome outside Rome (e.g. ancient Rome in the provinces, the British and the ‘Grand Tour’, Rome and the US etc); Mussolini and the culture of Romanità; Rome as a World Heritage site; Richard Meier and the Ara Pacis.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities 15 hoursIntensive Seminar and Reading Group Teaching
Guided independent study 135 hoursStudents working independently & in groups in preparation for seminars and essays

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay804000 words1-10Mark, written and oral feedback
Oral Presentation2020 minutes1-10Mark, written and oral feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-10Refer/Defer period
PresentationEssay1-10Refer/Defer period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bolgia, C., R. McKitterick and J.. Osborne (eds), Rome across time and space. Cultural transmission and the exchange of ideas, c. 500-1400 (Cambridge, 2011)

Bosworth, R. J. B. 2011. The Whispering City: Rome and its Histories (New Haven)

Edwards, C. 1996. Writing Rome: Textual Approaches to the City of Rome (Cambridge)

Karmon, D. E. 2011. The Ruin of the Eternal City: Antiquity and Preservation in Renaissance Rome (Oxford)

Krautheimer, R. 1980. Rome, Profile of a City, 312-1308 (Princeton, NJ)

Painter, B. 2005. Mussolini’s Rome: Rebuilding the Eternal City (New York)

Vout, C. 2012. The Hills of Rome: Signature of an Eternal City (Cambridge)



Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

Feb 2013

Last revision date

July 2013

Key words search

Rome, Antiquities, Renaissance