Classics 456/556 Syllabus

Classics 456/556 Greek and Roman Painting and Mosaics Syllabus


Instructor: Dr. David Soren

  1. Office Hours – Wednesdays, 3 to 4 p.m. Online via Zoom
  2. Reading and Examination Requirements: Each student will be required to read the assignments given out by the instructor and to take a quiz on these every two weeks in class. Students must take three quizzes, a midterm and a final. Additional quizzes may be used as extra credit if the student obtains a high grade. These good quizzes can only be used at the instructor’s discretion to help a borderline student to receive a higher grade. Your midterm is on October 12th and your final is on December 5th.
  3. Discipline- Students caught cheating will receive a failing grade for the class. Cheating is constituted by copying material from the internet without acknowledging it. Students who do not follow specific instructions for the course will also be penalized in their examinations.
  4. Attendance- Students must COMPLETELY VIEW every videoto the end to obtain extra credit. When this is done, the student automatically gets extra credit for the viewing.  Extra credit will be granted if the students complete all requirements within their allotted time frames. Extra credit may also be obtained by attending a recommended lecture and signing in there. Each extra credit adds one point to your final examination grade.
  1. Responsibilities- Students are expected to take the quizzes every two weeks, the midterm and final. Papers or other work cannot be substituted for quizzes or examinations. Graduate students must do a classroom presentation of ten minutes and a ten page paper in addition to the regular requirements. Final papers from graduate students must be ca. 10 pages long and they will receive two grades: one for grammar and one for content. These papers are due on the last day of class.
  1. Final Grades- Your grade is determined by your midterm (one third), final (one third), quizzes (one third). Good attendance and extra credit will boost a borderline student to a higher grade but is done at the discretion of the instructor.
  1. Missing Examinations- Examinations may be missed and retaken only in the case of a major documented medical illness, official university excused business, or documented family emergency. Otherwise a missed examination is averaged in as an E. Attendance at weddings, family outings and vacations to visit friends are not acceptable excuses.
  1. Textbooks are:

          Katherine M. D. Dunbabin, Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World

          Roger Ling, Roman Painting


I. Possible Paper Topics for Graduate Students and Undergraduates and Honors Students.

Topics may be selected on a first come first served basis. Students must also select a presentation slot near semester's end asap:                 

Asarotos Oikos- Unswept Floor Mosaics-

The Alexander Mosaic of Pompeii

Hunting Theme Mosaics-

Mosaic Decoration in Syria

Mosaic Decoration in the Near East

Mosaic Floors or Painting in Ancient Dacia or Pannonia-

Mosaic Decoration in Merida, Spain

The Role of the Seasons in Painting or Mosaics

Mosaic of the Months from Sousse

Iconography and Symbols in Early Christian Mosaics in Rome

Mosaics of Trier

Roman Mosaics in Hungary

Ships and Boats on Roman Mosaics

Mosaic Signatures in the Greek and Roman Period

Nilotic Subjects- Origins and Types

The Palestrina Mosaic and Its Interpretation

The Woodchester Mosaic

The Lopen Mosaic of Somerset

Daily Life Illustrated in Mosaic or Painting-

The Zodiac in Mosaic- Astrological Signs and Symbols

Apotropaic Mosaics- Magic Signs and Evil Spirits-

Achilles in Mosaic and Painting or Other Homeric Figures

Orpheus Mosaics

The Rape of Ganymede in Mosaics

Jesus in Early Christian Mosaics versus Our Image of Jesus Now

Scaenografia- stage painting artists of the Greeks

Egyptianizing motives

The Later Roman Wall Paintings of Ostia

Catacomb Painting in Rome-

The Concept of the Grotto in Wall Decoration

Painting in the Second Century A.D. at Ostia-

Dura-Europus Synogogue


                Preliminary Course Bibliography:

-- La Mosaique Greco-Romaine I (Paris, 1963)

-- La Mosaique Greco-Romaine II (Paris, 1971)

-- Mosaics: Deterioration and Conservation (Rome, 1977)

Alexander, Margaret, Mongi Ennaifer, David Soren and others. Corpus des Mosaiques de Tunisie Vol. I, Fascicule l (Tunis, 1973)- (there are also four more volumes)

Balty, Janine. Mosaique Antiques de Syrie (Brussels, 1977)

Ben Abed Ben Khader, Aicha and David Soren (editors). Carthage- A Mosaic of Ancient Tunisia (New York, 1987)

Brilliant, Richard. Roman Art (London, 1974) pp. 135-148

Bruneau, Philippe. Delos (Paris, 1973)

Campanati, Raffaela Farioli. Il Colloquio Internazionale Sul Mosaico Antico

     (Ravenna, 1980)

Campbell, Sheila. Mosaics of Antioch (Toronto, 1988)

Clarke, John. Roman Black-and-White Figural Mosaics (New York, 1979)

Darmon, Jean-Pierre. Nympharum Domus (Leiden, 1980)

Dunbabin, Katherine. The Mosaics of Roman North Africa (Oxford, 1978)

Dunbabin, Katherine. Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World (Cambridge, 1999)

Field, Robert. Geometric Patterns from Roman Mosaics (Tarquin, 1990)

Fischer, Peter. Mosaic: History and Technique (New York,1971)

Freijeiro, Antonio Blanco. Mosaicos Romanos de Merida (Madrid, 1978)

Foucher, Louis. Inventaire des Mosaiques-Sousse (Tunis, 1960)

Gentili, Gino. The Mosaics of Piazza Armerina (Milan, 1964)

Germain, Suzanne. Les Mosaiques de Timgad (Paris, 1969)

Kiss, Akos. Roman Mosaics in Hungary (Budapest, 1973)

Lancha, Janine. Mosaiques Geometriques Les Ateliers de Vienne  (Isere) (Rome, 1977)

Levi, Doro. Antioch Mosaic Pavements Vols. I and II (Rome, 1971)

Ling, Roger, Ancient Mosaics (Princeton, 1998)

Ling, Roger, Ancient Painting (Cambridge, 1991)

L'Orange, H.P. Mosaics (London, 1966)

Meyboom, Robert. The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina (Brill, 1995)

Michaelides, Dimitris. Cypriot Mosaics (Nicosia, 1987)

Moore, Richard E.M.  "A Newly Observed Stratum in Roman Floor Mosaics," American

     Journal of Archaeology 72 1968 pp. 57-68

Neal, David S. Roman Mosaics in Britain (London, 1981)

Ovadiah, Asher. Geometric and Floral Patterns in Ancient Mosaics (Rome, 1980)

Petsas, P.M. Pella (Lund, 1964)

Rainey, Anne. Mosaics in Roman Britain (Totowa, New Jersey, 1973)

Richter, Gisela. Greek Painting (New York, 1949)

Salomonson, J.W. Mosaiques Romains de la Tunisie (Washington,1964)

Stern, Henri. Recueil General du Mosaiques de la Gaule Vols. I and II (Paris, 1963)

Stern, Henri and others. Repertoire graphique du decor geometrique dans la mosaique   antique (Paris, 1973)

Vitruvius. The Ten Books on Architecture translated by Morris Hicky Morgan (Dover,1960) Book VII. l on floor


     By the end of the course it is hoped you will have a better knowledge of Greek and Roman mosaics and painting.  Your proficiency in the class will be measured by the examinations, quizzes and term paper projects discussed above and using the formulas described. You will be asked to think critically on your essay exams, papers and to communicate effectively orally and in your exams and essays. You must organize the information you will be given effectively and, thinking critically, answer the questions outlined for you in the textbooks and in class as the course progresses.  Remember that you will have received 40% of your final grade by the 8th week of the class so it is important to get off to a good start. Note that this course is regularly available for Honors Credit. Honors students will do a 10 page paper on a mutually agreed upon subject. Honors students will meet directly with the professor.


   Do not forget to incorporate up to date bibliography in your term paper for the course and this can include books, websites and films.


     Students with any sort of special needs accepted by the university should notify the instructor immediately. Special testing accommodations are also available through our DRC representatives if you have qualified for this. Make sure and register with DRC if you are able to and wish to do so.