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Academic year
Didactic period
Secondo Semestre

Training objectives

The course aims to provide advanced training in the field of ancient topography. Training objective is the acquisition of a wide and qualified theoretical and practical knowledge of the latest research methodologies in relation to the topography of the classical world. The student will acquire the ability to critically and autonomously interpret the signs of the ancient landscape, identifying the components of urban and rural landscapes, studying their relationships with attention to the relationship between man and the environment. They will also develop the ability to read the landscape using the variety of available sources (literary, cartographic, epigraphic, numismatic, archaeological, environmental science data) and will achieve a critical awareness of the scientific debate on the topography and the Greek and Roman ancient landscape, of which will be known settlement programs, agricultural divisions, ramping water, road systems and infrastructure. The final objectives will be the ability to decode the ancient landscape in all its components, identifying the semantic systems and coming, therefore, for the wise management of the contemporary landscape and the ability to properly communicate the skills acquired on the history of the landscape.


Basic knowledge of ancient geography, history and culture of the Mediterranean world.

Course programme

The goal of the course is to provide students with basic knowledge of the methodological tools useful for dealing with topographic research. The course includes 30 hours of teaching between lessons (24 hours) and laboratory (6 hours). In the first part of the course the lessons will focus on the characteristics and objectives of ancient topography (history of the discipline; research and methodology) and the problems related to the use of tools and the main sources of information (cartography, aerial photography, GIS; literary, epigraphic, itinerary, juridical, archaeological, toponymic, iconographic sources), highlighting the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature of topographical research. A second part involves the study of landscape management in ancient societies and the analysis of the elements constituting the territorial structure in ancient times: roads, waterways, aqueducts, settlements, necropolis, infrastructures, agricultural divisions. Particular consideration will be given to the Italian, peninsular and insular area, and the regio VIII Aemilia, with attention to the contexts of greater archaeological concentration and specific significance in the topographic and urbanistic field, without neglecting references to other mediterranean areas, especially hellenic ones, which are useful for understanding both urban and rural landscapes.

Didactic methods

The course is organized as follows:
- classroom teaching on all the topics of the course with the support of PowerPoint containing schemes with the key concepts, maps and explanatory drawings, photographic images, concrete examples relating to the topics covered. An essential reference and in-depth bibliography will also be provided.
- laboratory with the professor and specialist scholars
Lessons available in FAD mode. Participation in didactic laboratory is required.

Learning assessment procedures

Oral exam. The aim of the exam is to verify the extent to which the educational goals have been reached. The oral test will assess a) the knowledge acquired and the ability to establish connections between the contents (historical, archaeological, cultural) covered by the course; b) the ability to critically understand and elaborate the contents, in particular the capacity to autonomous judgment on the disciplinary contents will be assessed, to be placed within the technical, historical and socio-cultural context of reference; c) the clarity, accuracy and appropriacy of language used.

Reference texts

Notes will be provided by the professor and available on the course website, in addition to

G. Bonora, P.G. Dall’Aglio, S. Patitucci, G. Uggeri, La topografia antica, CLUEB, Bologna 2000.

F. Fabiani, L’urbanistica: città e paesaggi, Carocci, Roma 2014 (cap I, pp. 15-66).

Further in-depth readings will be suggested during the lessons and uploaded on the course website (didactic materials).

Non-attending students must establish what texts they intend to study for the exam with the professor. In any case, the following book is recommended:

F. Fabiani, L’urbanistica: città e paesaggi, Carocci, Roma 2014.