Rome: A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City

FutureLearn Rome: A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City

University of Reading
3 hours/week
5 weeks
Paid Certificate Available
Course Link
Explore ancient Rome through a unique, historically accurate 3D model.
Take a guided tour around ancient Rome with expert Dr Matthew Nicholls, using his detailed and award-winning 3D digital model of the city. Explore Rome’s architecture and how it was used - how did Romans worship their gods and meet their political masters? How was drinking water supplied to the city’s million inhabitants? Moving seamlessly between footage of contemporary Rome and the digital model (including interactive elements), you’ll explore these questions and much more.

Use this insight to inform your own encounters with the eternal city and the study of ancient history more generally.

This course is open to anyone with an interest in discovering more about ancient Rome. You might be: planning a visit to the Italian capital; an avid watcher of documentaries on Roman history; or considering studying archaeology, classics or history at university.

What topics will you cover?
Week one: Ancient Rome location and infrastructure
  • Geographical and historical overview
  • Introduction to the digital model
  • Roman building materials and techniques
  • The importance of aqueducts and sewers
  • Using coins to illustrate ancient architecture
Week two: Political architecture in Ancient Rome
  • The Imperial Fora
  • The function and development of the Forum
  • Types of monumental architecture
  • Using poetry as evidence to investigate the past
Week three: Religious architecture in Ancient Rome
  • Overview of Roman religion
  • The architecture of the Capitoline Hill
  • Developments in Imperial temple architecture
  • Worshipping the gods
Week four: Life and death in Ancient Rome
  • Overview of Roman housing
  • Food supply in the ancient city
  • How the Romans liked to be remembered
  • Using inscriptions as evidence to investigate the past
Week five: Bread and circuses (entertainment architecture) in Ancient Rome
  • The importance of entertainment for Rome’s rulers
  • The architecture and function of theatres and circuses
  • Roman baths and bathing
  • Using evidence to understand the Colosseum

Taught by

Matthew Nicholls
First release
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