Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

CLASSICS 4BB3 Seminar In Ancient Art (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Michele George


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 708

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23452

Office Hours: Fridays 9:30 (or by appointment)

Course Objectives:

In this seminar course we shall study the medium of sculpture in Roman art by considering several major genres (e.g., portraits, relief, and freestanding figures in the round).  In the process of studying major and representative monuments, we shall also consider relevant issues in Roman art and culture, such as:  aesthetics, function, context, the patron/artist relationship, the role of Greek art and culture, imperial influences in private art, genre and style and their interconnection.  Because this is a seminar course, students are expected to pursue the research subject independently and do intensive work with library sources. 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Required Texts

D.E.E. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture (New Haven 1992)

Peter Stewart, Statues in Roman Society: Representation and Response (Oxford 2003)

This book is available in Mills in hard copy and as an ebook


Method of Assessment:


Class Attendance & Participation                                          10%

Article Assessments (3 x 5%)                                                15%

Annotated bibliography                                                          10% (due February 8)

Oral presentation & essay                                                       35% (5% + 30%)

Final Exam (as set by the registrar)                                        30%


The first part of the course will consist of the presentation of material by the instructor, with discussion and analysis by the participants.  Students will be expected to come to class with the readings done, so that fruitful discussion is generated; marks will be given for participation in these sessions, as well as in the peer presentations.  The last part of the course will consist of papers given by students (roughly 20-30 minutes each).  A sign-up sheet for topics will be posted on my office door (TSH 708) on Monday, January 7; please choose a topic by Friday, January 18.  Sign-up is on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, and the order of presentations cannot be changed.

Class Attendance & Participation

Students are expected to attend all classes, both those led by me and those led by other students.  Participation and attendance are not the same thing.  If you merely attend class without participating, you will receive a mark below 5/10.  I will take attendance at the beginning of every class.

Article Assessments 3x5% = 15%

Each student will write 3 article assessments worth 5% each (a choice of 3 out of 6; see course outline).  Each assessment should be 3 pages in length (double-spaced, 12 point font, normal margins), plus a separate title page, and should have:

  • i) a description of the issue that is under discussion in the article in which you isolate and characterize the evidence that the author draws on;
  • ii) an analysis of the author’s argument and the methodology employed.

Article assessments are due on specific dates (see course outline) and will be collected at the beginning of each seminar meeting; assessments handed in after class will be penalized by 1%, and no assessments will be accepted after the specified due date.  They will be assessed on style, including punctuation, grammar, organisation, clarity and coherence of expression.   

Major Paper

As part of the process of researching and writing your major seminar paper, students must:

  • Prepare an annotated bibliography (worth 10%), which must be submitted in hard copy in class on Friday, February 8th (see separate sheet).  If your annotated bibliography is not handed in during this class, late penalties will apply. 
  • One week before their presentation date, each student must also send me (via email) a Word document with a summary of their major paper topic (approx. 250 words), with a required reading for the rest of the class.  I will upload these to the A2L course website so that everyone can prepare for the presentations.  Failure to do so will result in a penalty to your mark following the late policy (see infra for late policy). 
  • Each student will have 25 minutes to present their research topic to the rest of the class. Class participation marks will include participation in these discussions.
  • You are responsible for the material presented in the seminars of your fellow students, since all seminar reports will be represented on the final exam; therefore, it is imperative that you attend every class and read the material for each other’s seminars. 
  • A final paper (in hard copy) based on your seminar presentation and approximately 3000 words in length must be handed in one week after your presentationLate papers will receive a 3% deduction per day that they are late. 


Grading System

All written material will receive a letter grade based on the grading system outlined in the Undergraduate Calendar.  It 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.



Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Policy

Students must complete their work by the stated deadlines (see above).  There is a rolling deadline for written essays that is determined by your presentation date, i.e., your final paper must be submitted in hard copy one week after your class presentation.  A deduction of 3% per day will be made for all work turned in late.  This applies to all assignments for the course, including:  i) the annotated bibliography, ii) the abstract to be distributed one week before your presentation date, iii) the presentation itself, and iv) the final paper.

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

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.

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

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 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 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:

Outline of seminar meetings

Required readings are given below each seminar topic and must be done in advance of the class in order to engender discussion and a fuller understanding of the material presented in class time.  Coming to class with the readings done, understood, and digested is a significant part of the preparation and participation mark.  Full references to the readings are included on the attached bibliography.

Several readings have been uploaded to the course website on A2L; other readings are available through JSTOR.  For the full bibliographic citation for the readings, please see the short bibliography (last page).  A number of books are on reserve at Mills library for seminar papers.

Course Outline (Subject to modification)

Jan. 11 – introduction

            Reading:  Stewart 2003:  Introduction

Jan. 18 – Style in Roman sculpture

            Reading:          Bianchi-Bandinelli 1970:  51-71 (on A2L)

Kleiner:  49-51; 103-109; 141-49; 191-2

Paper topics must be chosen by today.


Jan. 25 – Copying:  The Question of Greek originals; ‘Kopienkritik’ and ‘Ideal’ sculpture

            Reading:          Ridgway Ch. 2 & 7 (on A2L site)

Kleiner 27-31

**Article Assessment:  E. Gazda, 1995. ‘Roman Sculpture and the ethos of emulation: 

                                    Reconsidering Repetition” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology (HSCPH)

                                    97: 121-156.  (available through JSTOR


Feb. 1 – Décor – sculpture as domestic decoration

            Reading:          Stewart 2003 Ch. 7

Kleiner:  244-247

**Article Assessments:  M. Marvin, 1989. ‘Copying in Roman Sculpture:  The Replica Series’, in

Retaining the Original: Multiple Original, Copies, and Reproductions (Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts Symposium Paper VII (Hanover), 29-44.  (on A2L site)

E. Bartman, “Decor et Duplicatio:  Pendants in Roman Sculptural Display”,  American Journal of Archaeology, 92, No. 2 (Apr., 1988), 211-225.   (available through JSTOR)


Feb. 8 – Portraiture

Reading:          Stewart 2003 46-59; 79-91

Kleiner:  31-46; 61-78; 123-141

**Article Assessments:  E. D’Ambra, 1996. 'The Calculus of Venus: Nude Portraits of Roman

Matrons', in N. B. Kampen, (ed.) Sexuality in Ancient Art (Cambridge), 219-232.

(on A2L site)

R.R.R. Smith, ‘Typology and diversity in the portraits of Augustus’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 9:  31-47.

                                    (on A2L site)


Annotated bibliography due today.  They will be available for pick-up on February 14 (before reading week) so that you can benefit from my feedback and use reading week to move ahead in your research.


Feb. 15                        CLASS CANCELLED


March 1 - The Imperial persona in sculpture

            Reading:          Stewart 2003 Ch. 3 & 5

Kleiner:  172-177; 238-244; 268-280; 319-329; 361-384; 400-408;


March 8 - Statues of Private Individuals – funerary and honorific

            Reading:          Stewart Ch. 4

                                    George 2005 (on A2L site)

                                    Kleiner 40-42; 78-81; 177-183; 194-199; 280-283


**Article Assessments:  E. D’Ambra, 1995. ‘Mourning and the Making of Ancestors in the

                                    Testamentum Relief’, American Journal of Archaeology 99:  667-81.

                                    (available through JSTOR)


MARCH 15 –– March 29                 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS;

April 5                        Summary; Exam Review



This is just a short selection; much more material is available in scholarly journals as well as in other books.  Familiarize yourselves with the major journals of Roman archaeology, and never avoid a journal with a title in a foreign language, as they often print articles in English.  It is important to use books and not rely on academic articles available online, as they are often too specialized for undergraduate research, so please anticipate spending time in the library.

Journal of Roman Archaeology (JRA)

American Journal of Archaeology (AJA)

Journal of Roman Studies (JRS)

Römische Mitteilungen (RömMitt or RM) prints some articles in English and French


Berenson, Bernard, The Arch of Constantine; The decline of form (London 1954).

Bergmann, B. 1995. “Greek Masterpieces and Roman Recreative Fictions,” Harvard Studies in

            Classical Philology (HSCPH) 97: 79-120.

Bianchi-Bandinelli, R., "Two Traditions: Plebeian and Patrician" from Rome:  The Center of

 Power: 500 B.C. to A.D. 200 (trans. Peter Green) (New York 1970) pp. 51-71.

Brendel, Otto, Prolegomena to the Study of Roman Art (New Haven 1979).

Brilliant, Richard, Gesture and rank in Roman art (New Haven 1963).

-------- My Laocoön:  alternative claims in the interpretation of artworks (Berkeley2000).

Fullerton, Mark, The Archaistic Style in Roman Statuary (Leiden 1990).

Gazda, Elaine ed. The ancient art of emulation : studies in artistic originality and tradition from the

               present to classical antiquity  (Ann Arbor 2002). 

-------- ed. Roman art in the private sphere : new perspectives on the architecture and decor of the

            domus, villa, and insula (Ann Arbor 1991.)

George, Michele. “Family Imagery and Family Values in Roman Italy”, in M. George, ed., Roman

            Family IV: Italy and Beyond (Oxford 2005) 37-66.

Hallett, Christopher.  The Roman Nude (Oxford 2005)

Hamberg, P. G., Studies in Roman imperial art : with special reference to the state reliefs of the

 second century (Rome 1968).

Koortbojian, Michael, Myth, meaning, and memory on Roman sarcophagi (Berkeley 1995).

Nock, A.D., “Sarcophagi and Symbolism” AJA 50 (1946) 140-170.

Perry, Ellen The aesthetics of emulation in the visual arts of ancient Rome (Cambridge 2005). 

Ridgway, Brunilde, Roman copies of Greek sculpture : the problem of the originals (Ann Arbor


Stewart, Peter, Statues in Roman society : representation and response (Oxford 2003). 

Zanker, Paul, B. Ewald, Living with Myths. The Imagery of Roman Sarcophagi (Oxford 2013).