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The University of Southampton

HUMA6017 Remaking Rome

Module Overview

Rome is one of Western Europe’s most ancient and most symbolically significant cities. In this multidisciplinary module you will explore how Rome gained and retained political, cultural, and symbolic power over two millennia. Through a series of linked case-studies from different disciplines, you will have the opportunity to explore the development, performance, and projection of Rome’s political, cultural and ideological power in the classical period, late Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Taught by a multidisciplinary team of specialists, this module will introduce you to a range of disciplinary perspectives and encourage you to engage with interdisciplinary methodologies. You will investigate the remaking of Rome through sites, spaces and their interpretation; documentary and historiographical evidence; and literary and iconographic sources.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • conduct independent research on a topic of your own choosing relating to the module theme
  • effectively present the results of your research orally and in writing
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • explain and discuss factors that impacted upon the historical development of Rome and its changing significance in different historical periods
  • analyse a variety of source types (e.g. literary texts; historical accounts and documents; personal records; paintings; buildings and archaeological records; maps), situating these in appropriate historical and cultural context
  • evaluate critically the theoretical and methodological approaches used by scholars working on the cultural history of Rome
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • key moments in the historical and cultural development of the city of Rome between the Classical and Renaissance periods
  • the changing significance of Rome in a variety of religious, cultural, and national contexts between the Classical and Renaissance periods
  • the role of Rome in the formation of political, social, cultural, and religious identities between the Classical and Renaissance periods
  • the means and processes by which (through texts, performance, material culture, cartography, iconography) places gain political, religious and cultural significance
  • key primary sources that can illuminate Rome’s society, culture, and significance in different periods
  • recent developments in research focussed on and relevant to the study of Rome


The precise syllabus will vary from year to year, but will include a selection of the following case studies in the Classical, medieval, and Renaissance periods • Urbanism, political spectacle, and the forum Romanum in the late Roman republic • Public spaces and Imperial commemoration in Imperial Rome • Textual sources and the built environment in the Empire • Satire and the city in late Antiquity • The view from Anglo-Saxon England: Rome as origin, destination and legacy • Papacy, city and commune in the later Middle Ages • Ideal city; corrupted city: Rome in late-Medieval literature • Renaissance remakings: The Sistine Chapel • Rome and Romanitas on the Renaissance stage

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• Weekly 2-hr seminars • Small group and full group discussions • Individual and group presentations • Independent study and research

Follow-up work10
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Completion of assessment task50
Wider reading or practice17
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Valerie L. Garver, Owen M. Phelan and Brenda Bolton (2014). Rome and Religion in the Medieval World : Studies in Honor of Thomas F.X. Noble. 

Nicholas Howe (2004). Rome: Capital of Anglo-Saxon England. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 34.1. ,147-172 .

Loren Partridge (1996). The Renaissance in Rome 1400-1600. 

Bertrand Lançon (2000). Rome in late Antiquity: Everyday Life and Urban Change, AD 312-609. 

Philip Jacks (1993). The Antiquarian and the Myth of Antiquity: The Origins of Rome in Renaissance Thought. 

Robert Brentano (1990). Rome before Avignon. A Social History of Thirteenth-century Rome. 

Warren L. Chernaik (2011). The Myth of Rome in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries. 

Loeb Classics.

Anthony Grafton (1993). Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library and Renaissance Culture. 

Carroll William Westfall (1974). In this Most Perfect Paradise : Alberti, Nicholas V, and the Invention of Conscious Urban Planning in Rome 1447-55. 

Ingrid D. Rowland (1998). The Culture of the High Renaissance: Ancients and Moderns in Sixteenth-Century Rome. 

Elizabeth M. McCahill (2013). Reviving the Eternal City: Rome and the Papal Court, 1420-1447. 

Richard Krautheimer (1980). Rome: Profile of a City, 312-1308. 

Freyja Cox Jensen (2012). Reading the Roman Republic in Early Modern England. 

Debra J. Birch (1998). Pilgrimage to Rome in the Middle Ages: Continuity and Change. 

Digital Augustan Rome.

John F. D'Amico (1983). Renaissance Humanism in Papal Rome: Humanists and Churchmen on the Eve of the Reformation. 

Paul Erdkamp (2013). The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Rome. 

S. J. Freedberg (1972). Painting of the High Renaissance in Rome and Florence. 



Oral presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Research essay  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research essay  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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