The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Aims to give an introduction to the sculpture, painting, pottery, architecture, minor arts and mosaic of the Etruscans and Romans. The period covered will range from the early Italian Villanovan culture, or pre-Etruscan civilisation (ca. 1000 B.C.) to the Roman Empire of about 200 AD. Broad topic themes include the importance of funerary art, the influence of Greek art, the rise of personal portraiture, patronage and the consumer, the problem of originality as opposed to copies, and the use of art in private and state propaganda.


Not currently offered.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. An understanding and appreciation of Etruscan and Roman art as a rich physical expression of values, aesthetics, religious beliefs and (sometimes) political attitudes of these cultures.

2. An appreciation of the visual and the importance of observation and detail, as well as an understanding of the major art-historical developments; i.e. being able to recognise and understand the differences between objects from different periods in Greco-Roman history; for instance, why a piece of Archaic statuary or vase is different from something Classical.

3. An appreciation of the social and historical context of Etruscan and Roman art and thereby linkages with past and subsequent literary, historical and social environments of Greece and Italy.

4. The ability to offer a critical analysis of both ancient and modern texts which discuss art and its role.

5. Development of oral and written expression capable of conveying the understanding and the analyses referred to in 1 - 4.


Introduction to the Etruscans; country, sites, ethnic origins, language, cultural influences. Etruscan archaeology - past and present.The Villanovan culture. Etruscan canopic urns and funerary sculpture. Etruscan sculpture in stone, bronze and terracotta. Tomb painting; the afterlife and the Eternal Banquet. Etruscan pottery, bronze utensils, jewellery and minor arts; the importance of women as consumers. Etruscan architecture. Introduction to Roman art, private and state. The Greek antecedents of Roman art; the problem of copies and Roman originality. Verism and Roman Republican sculpture. Augustan art and architecture. Roman painting and mosaic.

Assumed knowledge

20 units at any level in Ancient History or History or Fine Art

Assessment items

Essay: Major essay project

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial paper

In Term Test: Class-Test