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Pompeii: Cultural Mosaic of the Ancient Mediterranean

Classics 3250 - Spring 2021

This course will provide an in-depth survey of artistic, architectural, and archaeological material from the ancient town of Pompeii - a river port of middling size and importance in southern Italy, who remains were remarkably well preserved by the ash and pumice stones of Mt. Vesuvius during the eruption of 79 CE. Starting with an overview of its development - an Oscan settlement under Greek and Etruscan influence, which expanded after the conquest of the Samnite and then Roman armies - students will explore all aspects of urban life through Pompeii's uniquely rich archaeological record, with a particular focus on the social, cultural, and ethnic diversity that can be difficult to detect and appreciate even in the much larger, wealthier, and more cosmopolitan capitals of the Roman Empire. Over the course of the semester, students will learn various methods for applying different types of material evidence (including wall paintings, sculpture, architecture, furniture, graffiti, and more) to a series of scholarly questions about key points of conflict and tension within society, such as local attitudes toward foreign cultures, resistance to imperialism, the marginalization of women and slaves, opportunities for social mobility, and religious censorship. By the end of the course a dynamic and colorful mosaic of Pompeii will have emerged, far removed from the image of a static Roman town supposedly frozen in time.
Course Attributes: FA AHEN HBU HumBU ISAS HUMAS LCDGF AHFA HUMAR HUM

Section 01

Pompeii: Cultural Mosaic of the Ancient Mediterranean
INSTRUCTOR: Sheppard
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