Today, Rome is a vibrant modern town deeply tied to its ancient past. Footprints of this past are visible at every turn, imbedded into the architecture of succeeding epochs. In these architectural and artistic remnants are imprinted the records of people, events, and cultural ideals and customs that have long outlasted the civilization that created them. “Rome” is therefore both a place and an idea. The legacy of Roman civilization looms large in the ethos of Western culture and this class aims to investigate the details of that legacy by peeling back the physical layers of the city in which it all started. The course is therefore chronological in approach and will tell the story of how a small village became the capital of a powerful empire, and later the spiritual capital of Catholic Christianity (roughly 8th century BCE – 5th century CE). Such transformations are the result of complex cultural and demographic changes that will be investigated through the lens of Rome’s urban, architectural development. We will especially focus on the relationships between art and power, ritual and public spectacle.