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This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection.

Over 17 hours of lectures

23 lecture videos

Course books


Diana E. E. Kleiner is the Dunham Professor of History of Art and Classics at Yale University, Founding Project Director and Principal Investigator of Open Yale Courses, and former Deputy Provost at Yale. She is the author of numerous books on Roman art in its political and social context including Roman Sculpture (Yale University Press), the fundamental reference on the subject. She has done seminal work on Roman women, centered around the ground-breaking exhibition, I Clavdia: Women in Ancient Rome, and is the author of Cleopatra and Rome (Harvard University Press), which opens a new perspective on one of the most intriguing women who ever lived. Professor Kleiner has resided in Rome and Athens and has traveled extensively throughout what was once the Roman Empire, experiencing firsthand nearly every site and building featured in Roman Architecture.


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HSAR 252: Roman Architecture by Diana E. E. Kleiner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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Course content

  • Lecture 1 Introduction to Roman Architecture

  • Lecture 2 It Takes a City: The Founding of Rome & the Beginnings of Urbanism in Italy

  • Lecture 3 Technology and Revolution in Roman Architecture

  • Lecture 4 Civic Life Interrupted: Nightmare and Destiny on August 24, A.D. 79

  • Lecture 5 Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: Houses and Villas at Pompeii

  • Lecture 6 Habitats at Herculaneum and Early Roman Interior Decoration

  • Lecture 7 Gilding the Lily: Painting Palaces and Villas in the First Century A.D.

  • Lecture 8 Exploring Special Subjects on Pompeian Walls

  • Lecture 9 From Brick to Marble: Augustus Assembles Rome

  • Lecture 10 Accessing Afterlife: Tombs of Roman Aristocrats, Freedmen, and Slaves

  • Lecture 11 Notorious Nero and His Amazing Architectural Legacy

  • Lecture 12 The Creation of an Icon: The Colosseum and Contemporary Architecture in Rome

  • Lecture 13 The Prince and the Palace: Human Made Divine on the Palatine Hill

  • Paper Topics - Discovering the Roman Provinces and Designing a Roman City

  • Lecture 14 The Mother of All Forums: Civic Architecture in Rome under Trajan

  • Lecture 15 Rome and a Villa: Hadrian's Pantheon and Tivoli Retreat

  • Lecture 16 The Roman Way of Life and Death at Ostia, the Port of Rome

  • Lecture 17 Bigger Is Better: The Baths of Caracalla and Other 2nd & 3rd Century Buildings in Rome

  • Lecture 18 Hometown Boy: Honoring an Emperor's Roots in Roman North Africa

  • Lecture 19 Baroque Extravaganzas: Rock Tombs, Fountains, & Sanctuaries in Jordan, Lebanon, & Libya

  • Lecture 20 Roman Wine in Greek Bottles: The Rebirth of Athens

  • Lecture 21 Making Mini Romes on the Western Frontier

  • Lecture 22 Rome Redux: The Tetrarchic Renaissance

  • Lecture 23 Rome of Constantine and a New Rome

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