City of God, Barbarian Kingdoms: Italy in Late Antiquity


July 11 – 22, 2018

 Thomas Landvatter and Beth Platte, Reed College

We may think of the “Fall of the Roman Empire” as a disastrous time, when barbarians swept through the once-great Roman Empire and ushered in a dark age. And indeed, the city of Rome suffered greatly during the period of Late Antiquity, from 200-800 CE. In this tour, we will explore this history of Late Antique Italy through its urban centers and geography of power. We will begin in Rome with the magnificent displays of imperial power of the Severan Dynasty and the tetrarchy, and examine urban change through visits to the Forum and Rome's port of Ostia. We’ll explore the impact of Christianity through visits to Rome’s Constantinian churches; the Celian, a posh neighborhood that became a center of elite Christian display; and a day trip to the Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino, founded in the 6th century. From Rome, we will travel to the Byzantine outpost of Ravenna, stopping in Spoleto, the 6th century capital of a Lombardic Duchy, and the Temple of Clitumnus, the site of an early church. In Ravenna, we will visit the 6th century mausoleum of Theoderic and other Ostrogothic and Byzantine monuments. The highlights of Ravenna will be the 6th-century churches of San Vitale and Sant’Apollinare and the 5th-century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, which contain beautiful Byzantine mosaics, some of the best preserved in the world.

Wednesday, July 11: Rome

Morning: Roman Forum (including the Basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano and the church of Santa Maria Antiqua); Palatine

Afternoon: Imperial Fora; Arch of Constantine (we will not visit the Colosseum as a group, but participants will have time to do so in the afternoon if they wish)

Welcome Dinner

Thursday, July 12: Rome

Day trip to Ostia Antica

Friday, July 13: Rome

Morning: Via Appia (including the Circus of Maxentius and the Villa of the Quintilii) and the Catacombs of San Sebastiano

Afternoon: Basilica and baptistery of San Giovanni in Laterano ; Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem); Rome city walls; and Basilica of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura

Saturday, July 14: Rome

Morning: Roman National Museum: Palazzo Massimo and Baths of Diocletian

Afternoon: Mausoleum of Constantina and the Basilica of Sant’Agnese (with optional trip to the catacombs); Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo; Basilica of Santa Sabina

Sunday, July 15: Rome

Morning: Roman National Museum: Crypta Balbi

Afternoon: Basilica of San Clemente and excavations on site; Case Romane; tour of the Celian Hill (including the Basilica of Santa Maria in Domnica); Church of San Crisogono and excavations on site

Monday, July 16:

Morning: Day trip to the Abbey of Monte Cassino and abbey museum

Afternoon: Free time in Rome

Tuesday, July 17: Rome

Morning: National Museum of the Early Middle Ages

Afternoon: Basilica of Santa Prassede; Basilica of Santa Pudenziana (church); Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

Travel to Spoleto

Wednesday, July 18: Spoleto

Morning: Basilica of San Salvatore and the Museum of the Duchy of Spoleto

Afternoon: Free time in Spoleto

Thursday, July 19: Spoleto and Campello sul Clitunno

Morning: Depart Spoleto with a stop at the tempietto (ancient church) in Campello sul Clitunno

Afternoon: Travel to Ravenna

Friday, July 20: Ravenna

Morning: National Museum of Ravenna, Basilica of San Vitale, and Mausoleum of Galla Placidia

Afternoon: Arian Baptistery, Church of Saint John the Evangelist, and Tomb of Theoderic

Saturday, July 21: Ravenna

Morning: The excavations at the House of the Stone Carpets, Chapel of Sant’Andrea and museum, Neonian Baptistery, Palace of Theoderic, and Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo

Afternoon: Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe

Farewell dinner

Sunday, July 22: Travel back to Rome and departures