Roman Class Update

I’ve not commented in a bit on the Roman Art and Architecture class. This entry is first and foremost a shout out to Suzanne Seibert and her excellently run Writing Institute this past summer, of which I was a lucky participant. During those two days, we were asked to develop an assignment. Mine was a writing assignment/presentation in which students would describe “A Day in the Life of a Roman Citizen.”

To try to evoke the population of Rome, they had to choose an identity from a hat. In it I had placed more “slave” identities than patricians (as it would have been), as well as a few plebeians, freedmen and soldiers.

All in all I was incredibly pleased with their presentations (I’m grading the writing this weekend…). Some of them presented in groups — three soldiers commented on their life on the march; two plebeians talked about their slave; two slaves described their life in the domus. They understood what I was trying to get them to do: to put themselves into the time and place.

One student who chose “slave” decided to describe his life as a Roman gladiator…up until the moment of his great combat in the Roman arena. He left us all in suspense — we don’t know if he won or lost his battle!

The next phase of this assignment is the WIKI project. They will be reshuffled and each group will have to creat a WIKI Exhibition, in which they must select art that we’ve studied this semester that can evoke to a modern viewer what life was like in ancient Rome. They are responsible for text and images. Stay tuned!

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