Subject: History
Credit units: 6
Offered: Either Spring or Summer
College: Arts and Science
Department: History


The city of Rome evokes visions of conquest and empire, and of emperors and dictators. Augustus, establishing himself as Rome’s first emperor after decades of civil war, transformed Rome from ‘a city of brick to one of marble,’ imprinting the ideology of his rule, and of the eternity of empire in architecture. Two millennia later, in the 20th century, Benito Mussolini became il Duce, the founder of fascism, and Italy’s leader. Like Augustus, Mussolini stressed the need for the rebirth of the Italian nation after a long period of disunity and warfare. This entailed the creation of “new Italians” and the foundation of a “new Italy” of which Rome once again would be the symbolic centre, an embodiment of the glorious Roman imperial past, and of the glorious fascist present and future. Thus, the Rome of the emperors and the Rome of fascism are intimately linked. In this course we examine how Augustus and his successors, through architecture and other urban interventions, made Rome into the “Imperial city” par excellence, one that reflected their absolutist rule. At the same time we explore how Mussolini often appropriated (and sometimes destroyed) this ancient architectural heritage to create a city that reflected the socio-political ideals of Fascism. In this course, students will experience ancient and Fascist Rome in person, and will come to see how these two political systems used architecture, monuments and urban space as socio-political tools aimed at shaping their societies.

Prerequisite(s): 6 credit units of senior-level HIST of which 3 credit units must be 300-level; or permission of the department.
Note: Costs in addition to tuition apply to this course and some are non-refundable. Students must apply and be accepted to register in this course. Please contact the Department of History for information on how to apply.

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