The Ancient City

History 103A.002

Spring 2013
Instructor (text): 
Laura Pfuntner
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Th 12-2


This seminar will consider the ancient Greco-Roman city as a dynamic form of settlement, from its origins in archaic Greece to its demise (or transformation) in the late antique West.  Our readings - all in translation - will include ancient discussions of the political and economic roles of cities (Aristotle), urban architecture and design (Vitruvius, Pausanias), as well as depictions in prose and poetry of everyday life in imperial Rome and classical Athens.  We will also examine the material remains of these two ancient Òmega-citiesÓ and of the smaller but well-preserved cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.  We will attempt to formulate our own definition(s) of the ancient city, and we will trace changes in the organization and uses of urban space, and in ancient writers' conceptions of the political, social, economic, and religious roles of cities, over the course of classical antiquity.

Course Books

Rome (Oxford Archaeological Guides) by Claridge, Amanda Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0199546831 Optional
Rome: A Living Portrait of an Ancient City by Dyson, S.L. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 978-0801892547 Optional
The Archaeology of Athens by Camp, John M. Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0300101515 Optional