ARTH 721-401
(AAMW 721/ANCH 721)
Time, Space & the Roman Monument: Ovid's Fasti & Augustan Rome 
Instructor: Professor Ann Kuttner
T 3-5

Course Description

[In conjunction with Latin 609, Ovidís Fasti, Prof. Joseph Farrell,]

Prof. Ann Kuttner, History of Art
tel. 898 8327

Of interest esp. to students in ClSt, ArtH, AAMW, AncH, RelSt, Anthro, CompLit, Phil, GSFA PhD architecture and landscape architecture. Open to all graduate students; advanced undergraduates may apply to the professor for enrolment. Reading competence in at least one foreign language (Italian, French, German) required. No prior experience required in Roman studies or ancient language (any related theoretical and case-study experience, visual or textual, very useful to the group).

Event is an accident of place, said Lucretius; memory, space and place are coterminous, said Roman rhetorical education; persona and portrait, clan and tomb, house and monument "sacramentally" embody one another, said the entire Roman commemorative tradition. Time and space: what is a calendar monument, a map monument, a political monument, a story monument? Roman life was played out in the calendar of recorded daily rituals, Roman history advertised itself in calendrical annals to triumphal achievements, Roman imperial time came to fuse the life cycle of the emperor, one person, with the time of every imperial citizen. Making such calendars or almanacs, "fasti", was itself an important socio-political ritual, the vehicle to Roman historical memory and identity. Ovidís strange verse treatise the Fasti was written for a state just then inventing new forms of physical monuments to Roman time, to make journey through the city a journey through calendar monuments, like Augustusí triumphal fasti portal to the Roman Forum, and to bind the regions of empire together by calendar monuments.

Ovidís Fasti also is a "response text" important to any study of Western esthetics. It is a largely unexplored treatise in Roman viewing and physical experience of complex monuments and cities, sanctified by divine spectators. It gives (like all Ovidís other texts) not just block descriptions of monuments. From its opening to its close, important sections prescribe how to look at physical Rome (or any other spectacle) from its founding to Ovidís day; throughout it gestures knowingly at itinerary in physical Rome, at the Greek Mediterranean too, and at the larger physical cosmos framing Rome. In the Fasti more than perhaps any other Roman text, movement, event and place converge, and the primordial landscape lives on, a numinous presence overlapping the modern city. That is why reading Ovidís text, therefore, has to be set in an awareness of Ovidís city, and framed by the prose and verse efforts of his predecessors and contemporaries also to outline Roman time and space, in epic, lyric, grammar, history. And that effort can, of course, shed new light on how to understand the Augustan artistic program and its view of its Republican heritage, whether we look at references to art and architecture, or also at the stories and settings woven into the Fasti which so often link to Augustan art and architecture, public and private.


Textbooks and syllabus TBA 01/10/01. Sample sources below.

Disciplinary aims:
The innovative current methods of Roman literary criticism and art history are only just now coming into real conceptual dialogue; so, finally, this seminar will be a guide to how we can usefully share our knowledges across the disciplines, use one anotherís commentary tools, and listen, look and read together as would an ancient Roman. The twin seminars Latin 609 and ArtH 721 will meet together in selected weeks, and use virtual means also to provide resopurces to one anotherís projects.

How to integrate visual presentation, use a slide library, deploy handouts, and primary source dossiers will be explicitly coached. Joint meetings especially will let us reflect on professional panel formats. If we can work out how to construct this, "threaded discussion" on the web will permit students to support one anotherís thinking. In meetings, the proportion of "workshop" to individual "report" sessions will depend on course enrolment.


Web support:
This course has a BlackBoard site, where all written material from the professors and reporters will be posted. It will include links to course and related images, related course sites, bibliography, the rich web corpus of dictionary and text databases (Latin, ancient history, archaeology), Romanist research essays already online (or potentially scanned for this course), and the good search engines to Romanist research and bibliography.

How to log on:
You may visit as "guest"/ "guest" in the logon window. Course email and virtual discussion access is restricted to formally enroled students.


Primary Readings: all will be read in translation, with critique to original language supplied as relevant from professors and philogically enabled students.

Ovid, Fasti Excerpts, focussed to written "tours" to period and legendary Rome and Italy: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Tristia, Letter from Pontos, Heroides, Amores, Ars Amatoria Vergil, Aeneid, Georgics, Eclogues; Propertius; Varro/Pliny; Livy; Cicero, speeches and letters; Valerius Maximus; Rhetorica ad Herennium

Secondary Readings:
Fortunately, much of the important documentary and theoretical writing on Latin literature and Roman art is in English, as are sources to the architecture and topography of Rome; professors and enabled students will support general critique of Italian, German, and French sources.

Core monuments:
E.g. The fasti inscriptions; Augustusí Parthian arch, Ara Pacis, Horologium pizza, Res Gestae pillars; the Fasti author portrait monument at Praeneste; Fulviusí Nobiliorís fasti shrine to Hercules and the Muses; Forum Augustum, Palatine, Capitolium; the pictorial history chonicles at the Basilica Aemilia, and Republican tombs; the "gardened" landscape/history sculpture monuments [like the Wolf&Twins, pool of Castor and Pollux, Palatine Cows of Cacus, Sperlonga grotto, Palladium]; the exemplary portrait series monuments; polemic coinmage and luxury arts, etc.

Task structure:
Reading group, workshop-style meetings; occasional very short assigned oral contributions, eg. to a passage or article or thing; one substantive report; occasional very short "note taking" exercises, one substantive research essay. The timed short exercises are training exercises in analysis and presentation.