Theme description ARK123

Life in Ancient Rome: an Introduction to Roman Archaeology

Gatelivet i antikkens Roma
Jonathan Westin

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At the height of its power in the second century, the Roman Empire stretched from Scotland to Iraq, and also had a big impact outside its borders: from Scandinavia in the north, to India and East Africa. In many ways, the Romans had a culture similar to our own, with megacities, citizenship, well-organized state power, and a large transport network, leading to intense commerce, cultural encounters and widespread migration. Simultaneously, Roman society was very different from our own: the Romans viewed slavery as something natural, gladiatorial games as harmless entertainment, and they had a religion and a conception of the world in many ways alien to our own.

This course will provide you with an introduction to the most important aspects of Roman culture in the period 200 BCE to 600 CE: how society was organized, what role religion and tradition played, how the Romans built, what their art meant, how the megacity of Rome worked, and how the Empire developed a common culture through an early form of globalization.

The examination is in the form of a 15 minute oral paper presented at a concluding seminar.