Students should read all the required texts listed below under General Art and Archaeology. In consultation with their advisor, they will also select at least one area for closer study, for which they should read all the readings given below and plan to write a half-hour essay in their written M.A. Exams.

General Roman Art & Archaeology

Required Readings

Students should demonstrate general knowledge of the basic characteristics of style, iconography, function and design in Roman art and architecture from the Republic to the Constantinian period. The monuments and artifacts represented in the slide identification portion of the M.A. comprehensive exam will be those illustrated in these texts.

  • Elsner, J. The Art of the Roman Empire: 100-450 AD (2018, 2nd edition)
  • Kleiner, F., The History of Roman Art (2010, enhanced edition)
  • Hölscher, T., The Language of Images in Roman Art (2004)
  • Ramage, N. and A. Ramage, Roman Art (2014, 6th edition)
  • Stewart, P., The Social History of Roman Art (2008)
  • Zanker, P., Roman Art (2008)


Students should demonstrate advanced knowledge and critical reading of at least ONE and not more than THREE areas of Roman Art and Archaeology.  Keep in mind that you must write a total SIX essays based on the Greek and Roman Archaeology reading lists for the M.A. Archaeology track.

I. Republican and Imperial Architecture:

  1. Anderson, J., Roman Architecture and Society (2002)
  2. Davies, Architecture and Politics in Republican Rome (2017)
  3. Hopkins, J.N. The Genesis of Roman Architecture (2016)
  4. MacDonald, W., The Architecture of the Roman Empire, vols. I (1982 2nd ed.) and II (1987)
  5. Wallace-Hadrill, A. Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum (1996)
  6. Rowland, Ingrid D. and T.N. Howe, Vitruvius. Ten Books on Architecture.  (1999)
  7. Sear, F., Roman Architecture (2021)
  8. Ulrich, R. and C. Quenemoen, A Companion to Roman Architecture (2014)
  9. Wilson Jones, M., Principles of Roman Architecture (2000)
  10. Yegül, F., Bathing in the Roman World (2010)
  11. Yegül, F. and D. Favro, Roman Architecture and Urbanism (2019)
  12. Zanker, P., Pompeii: Public and Private Life (1999)

II. Republican and Imperial Sculpture

  1. Brendel, O., Prolegomena to the Study of Roman Art (1979)
  2. Kleiner, D., Roman Sculpture (1992)
  3. Friedland & Sobocinski (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Sculpture (2015)
  4. Ridgway, B. S., Roman copies of Greek sculpture: the problem of the originals (1984)
  5. Rose, C. B., Dynastic art and ideology in the Julio-Claudian period (1997)
  6. Nodelman, S., “How to read a Roman Portrait,” in D’Ambra, E., ed., Roman Art in Context: An Anthology (1993)
  7. Zanker, P., The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus (1988)
  8. Torelli, M. Typology and Structure of Roman Historical Reliefs (1982)
  9. Gazda, E., The Ancient Art of Emulation: Studies in Artistic Originality and Tradition from the Present to Classical Antiquity. Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome, Supplementary Volume I  (2002)
  10. P. Stewart, Statues in Roman Society (2004)
  11. Marvin, M., The language of the muses: the dialogue between Roman and Greek sculpture (2008)
  12. Varner, E., Mutilation and transformation: damnatio memoriae and Roman imperial portraiture (2004)

III. Painting and Mosaics

  1. Ling, R., Roman Painting (1991)
  2. Ling, R., Ancient Mosaics (1998)
  3. Leach, E., The Social Life of Painting in ancient Rome and on the Bay of Naples (2004)
  4. Brilliant, R., “Pendants and the Mind’s Eye,” Visual Narratives. Storytelling in Etruscan and Roman Art (1984)
  5. Bruno, V., “Antecedents of the Pompeian First Style,” AJA 73 (1969): 305-317
  6. Holliday, P., “Roman Triumphal Painting: its function, development, and reception,” Art Bulletin, v. 79 (Mar. 97): 130-47
  7. Clarke, J., The Houses of Roman Italy, 100 B.C. – A.D. 250: Ritual, Space and Decoration (1991)
  8. Bergmann, B., “The Pregnant Moment: Tragic Wives in the Roman Interior,” in Kampen, N., ed., Sexuality in Ancient Art (1996)
  9. Cohen, A., The Alexander Mosaic: Stories of Victory and Defeat (1997)
  10. Dunbabin, K., Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World (2006)

IV. Coins, Gems and Metalwork

  1. Harl, K., Civic Coins and Civic Politics in the Roman East (1987)
  2. Bieber, M., “The Development of Portraiture on Roman Republican Coins,” ANRW I.4 (1973): 871-98
  3. Pollini, J., “The Gemma Augusta: Ideology, Rhetorical Imagery and the Creation of a Dynastic Narrative,” in P. Holliday, Narrative and Event in Ancient Art (1993)
  4. Wallace-Hadrill, A., “Image and Authority in the Coinage of Augustus,” JRS 76 (1986): 66-87
  5. Howgego, C., Ancient History from Coins (1995), Chapter 4, 62-87
  6. Burnett, A., “Buildings and Monuments on Roman Coins” in Paul and Ierardi, eds., Roman Coins and Public Life Under the Empire (1999)
  7. Greene, K., The Archaeology of the Roman Economy (1986), chapter 3 (“Coinage and money in the Roman Empire”)
  8. Kuttner, A., Dynasty and Empire in the Age of Augustus: The Case of the Boscoreale Cups, University of California Press, 1995

V. Art and Architecture in Late Antiquity

  1. Banchi-Bandinelli, R., Rome, the late Empire; Roman art, A.D. 200-400. Translated by Peter Green (1971)
  2. L’Orange, H. P., Art Forms and Civic Life in the Late Roman Empire (1965)
  3. MacCormack, S., Art and Ceremony in Late Antiquity (1981)
  4. Rothman, M., “The Thematic Organization of the Panel Reliefs on the Arch of Galerius,” AJA 41 (1977): 427-454
  5. Curran, John R., Pagan city and Christian capital: Rome in the fourth century  (2000)
  6. Marlowe, E., “Framing the Sun: The Arch of Constantine and the Rome Cityscape,” Art Bulletin 88 (2006): 223-242
  7. Elsner, J., Art and the Roman Viewer: The Transformation of Art from the Pagan World to Christianity (1994)
  8. Pierce, P., “The Arch of Constantine: Propaganda and Ideology in Late Roman Art, Art History 12 (1989): 387-418
  9. Wilson, R. J. A., Piazza Armerina (1983)
  10. Holloway, R., Constantine and Rome (2004)
  11. Krautheimer, R., Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture (1975, Penguin paperback)

UPDATED (05/2021)