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CLASSICS 3S03 Pompeii,Herculaneum,Ostia

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Michele George

Email: georgem@mcmaster.ca

Office: Togo Salmon Hall 708

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23452


Office Hours: Monday, 10:30 – 11:20, Thursday, 11:30-12:20 (or by appointment)

Course Objectives:

Course description & Objectives

In this course we shall examine the archaeology of three towns in Italy (Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ostia) which offer some of the best extant evidence for Roman urbanism.  Issues covered include:  public space; major building types (basilicas, baths, theatres, amphitheatres); tombs and their role in self-representation; domestic architecture, its decoration and spatial function.  We shall also consider the unique aspects of these three sites, such as the archaeological consequences of the volcanic destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the ways in which Ostia’s role as port town for the capital shaped its urban landscape.

The goals of the course are:

1) to introduce students to three of the most important urban settlements in Roman Italy;

2) to examine their constituent elements and their integration into the urban fabric;

3) to capture the variegated social context of a ‘typical’ Roman town, and

4) to determine how different kinds of archaeological evidence furnishes that picture.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts:

1. A. Cooley, Pompeii & Herculaneum  A Sourcebook (Routledge 2014) ISBN  9 780415 666800

2. J. Berry, The Complete Pompeii (Thames & Hudson 2007) ï‚·  978-0500051504

3. Courseware for 3S03

4. website:  www.ostia-antica.org


Method of Assessment:


Mid-term Test                                    30%                             on Monday, February 13

Writing assignment                             30%                             due on Monday, March 27

Exam                                                   40%                             during exam period


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Policy

Students must complete their work by the stated deadlines (see above).  Papers submitted after Monday, March 27 will be penalized â…“ of the letter grade per calendar day late (e.g., a B+ paper, one day late, becomes a B). Late penalties will not be waived unless your Faculty/Program Office advises the instructor that you have submitted to that office the appropriate documentation to support your inability to submit the work by the due date. No make-up exams will be given.  Please note that papers submitted after March 31, 2017 will not be accepted.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Reading assignments

Readings from the two texts for Pompeii and Herculaneum have been assigned on a weekly basis (see course outline), and students are advised to keep up with all reading material.  Images of material covered in the course will also be available for review on the course’s Avenue to Learn website on a semi-weekly basis.  For Ostia, we will be consulting this website, so please bookmark it in your web browser:


Students are advised that attendance at all lectures is mandatory, and that they will be solely responsible acquiring lectures notes for all classes that they miss; lecture notes will not be posted on the course website.  Students are also advised to keep all term work and all research notes taken in the preparation of their term papers.

Grading System

The mid-term, writing assignment, and final exam will receive a letter grade based on the grading system outlined in the Undergraduate Calendar.  Papers will be assessed on style (including punctuation and grammar), organization, clarity and coherence of expression, and the development of ideas; proper referencing must be used.  Failing grades may be assigned for failure to complete course requirements by the stated deadlines, or for academic dishonesty.

Course Outline

Jan. 4:             Introduction to course

                        READING:     Cooley:  Introduction; p. 7-8

                                                Berry:  ch. 1

Jan. 6:                                    CLASS CANCELLED

Week of:

Jan. 9:            The volcanic eruption & its effects; excavation history; casts

READING:     Cooley:  C1, C3; p. 43; C10, C11, C19, C21

Berry:  ch. 2

Jan. 16:           The site of Pompeii & how to read the plan; water system; the Forum at Pompeii (1)

READING:     Cooley:  H116; A29; E1, E2; B9

Berry:             ch. 3; pp. 120-133; 240-41

Jan. 23:          Forum cont’d (2); Herculaneum

READING:     Cooley: 140-145; E69; F4, F8, F10, F20, F29-30; F60, F141; p. 185-86; D14; E44; p. 186-7:  FF94, 95a & b, F99-102; F104, F105a & b

Berry:             pp. 186-199; 219-233

Jan. 30:           Shops, bakeries, fullonicae & lupanares; Baths; Tombs

READING:     Cooley:  H116; H20, H38-46; D116-120; D121; D122-124; F92; F116 & 117a & b; E80-81

Berry:  pp. 92-101; 109-111; 150-153; 222

Feb. 6:             Theaters & Temple of Isis; Amphitheatre & Gladiators at Pompeii

READING:     Cooley:  D54, D56, C5, pp. 119-124; pp. 58-61; B12; D10, D16-20; D39; D49-53

Berry:  pp. 134-149

Feb. 10:                        MID-TERM TEST

Feb. 13-15:     Campanian Houses 1; Domestic Décor

Feb. 17:               CLASS CANCELLED

Feb. 20:                      READING WEEK

Feb. 27:          Public & private space; Slaves & the Pompeian house; Domestic Cults

READING:     Berry:  pp. 154-185

March 6:         The Villa at Oplontis; Villa of the Papyri;

                        READING:     Berry:  pp. 42-44; 207-209


March 13-15: Villa decoration in small houses; Problems of Cultural Heritage - Will Pompeii survive?

                        READING:     Berry:  pp. 212-218

            Coursepack:  Dwyer 2007

March 17:       Ostia:  introduction

                        READING:     Coursepack:  Sear 1982; Keay & Millett 2005

March 20:       Portus & harbour; Horrea & trade; public buildings


We shall be using parts of this website for Ostia.  Please familiarize yourself with it, and don’t be afraid of the Italians names!



For Theatre & the Square of the Corporations (‘Piazzale delle corporazioni’) & warehouses (‘grandi horrea’ II.IX.7); Baths of Neptune (‘terme di Nettuno’ II.IV.2); Forum baths (‘Terme del foro’ I.XII.6) & Round temple (‘Tempio rotondo’ I.XI.1); Capitolium; Warehouses of Epagathianus & Epaphroditianus (‘Horrea Epagathiana et Epaphroditiana’ I.VIII.3)

  • Click on link to ‘Topographical Dictionary’, then to ‘Regio 1 & II’; see Italian names on list and click on relevant links

March 27:       Baths & Cult buildings; Isola sacra

Writing Assignment due in class & via Turnitin TODAY

For Baths of the Lighthouse (‘terme del faro’ IV.II.1), Baths of the Seven Sages (‘Terme dei Sette Sapienti’ III.X.2), & the Guild seat of Trajan (‘Schola traiana’ IV.V.15);

  • Click on link to ‘Topographical Dictionary’, then to ‘Regio III & IV;’ see Italian names on list and click on relevant links

For Isola Sacra:

Navigate through all of this section of the website on the cemetery at Isola Sacra:


  • Click on these links and navigate using the ‘show menu’ link at the bottom of the screen and the ‘Next’ button on the menu: 


Tomb Types;

100 Tombs (please browse through several tombs in order to get a good idea of the extant material)

April 3:           Ostia:  insulae

For the House of Diana (‘caseggiato di Diana’ I.III.3-4), House of Cupid and Psyche (‘domus di Amore e Psiche’ I.XIV.5)

  • Click on link to ‘Topographical Dictionary’, then to ‘Regio I & II’; see Italian names on list and click on relevant links

For the Standard houses (‘casette a tipo’ III.XII.1-2; III.XIII.1-2), House of the Muses (‘Domus delle Muse’ III.IX.22), Garden houses (‘Case a giardino’ III.IX.2-5), House of the Nymphaeum (‘domus del ninfeo’ III.VI.1-3), House of the Painted Vaults (‘casa delle Volte Dipinte’ III.VI.1)

  • Click on link to ‘Topographical Dictionary’, then to ‘Regio III & IV’; see Italian names on list and click on relevant links

For the House of the Porch (‘domus del Protiro’ V.II.4-5) & the House of the Fortuna Annonaria (‘domus della Fortuna Annonaria’ V.II.8)

  • Click on link to ‘Topographical Dictionary’, then to ‘Regio V’; see Italian names on list and click on relevant links

April 5:           Domestic Architecture II; Exam review

                        READING:     Coursepack:  Anderson 1997



Other Course Information:

Statement on Academic Ethics

Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.  It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.  For information on the various kinds of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, specifically Appendix 3, located at http://www.mcmaster.ca/senate/academic/ac_integrity.htm

The following illustrates only two forms of academic dishonesty relevant to this course in particular:

i) Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one's own or for which other credit has been obtained.

ii) Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

In this course we will be using a web-based service (Turnitin.com) to reveal plagiarism.  Students will be expected to submit their work electronically to Turnitin.com and in hard copy so that it can be checked for academic dishonesty. Students who do not wish to submit their work to Turnitin.com must still submit a copy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to Turnitin.com. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, etc.). To see the Turnitin.com Policy, please go to www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

To access Turnitin, please go to this website for instructions and a link:


You will need the Class ID and enrollment password in order to submit your work.

Class ID:  13835201

Enrollment password:  Maiuri


It is the policy of the Classics Department that all email communication between students and instructors (including TAs) must originate from their official McMaster University email accounts.  This policy protects the confidentiality and sensitivity of information and confirms the identities of both the student and instructor.  Classics department instructors will delete messages that do not originate from McMaster email accounts.

Classroom etiquette:

Attendance at lectures is mandatory.  Cell phones and other similar communication devices should be turned off at the beginning of lectures. Students are expected to remain for the duration of the class meeting time. Please notify the instructor in advance for any excused absences. The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.