Today marks the Ides of March. This day not only signifies a particular day on the Roman calendar, but it is also the day Julius Caesar was assassinated, igniting a turning point in Roman history with the transition of the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar infamously warns us to “beware the Ides of March.”
This Ides of March learn more about the remarkable city of Rome, its history, culture and architecture in The Meaning of Rome: The Renaissance and Baroque City.
St. Peter’s Basilica. Piazza Navona. Piazza del Campidoglio. Capitoline Hill. The Arch of Constantine. Castel Sant’Angelo. Ponte Sant’Angelo. The Gesù. These are some of the defining places, buildings, and structures that make Rome one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But there is more to the city’s architecture than its beauty.
The Rome we see today was designed during the Renaissance to not only be beautiful, but meaningful. It was a vehicle for conveying ideas—political, spiritual, and even philosophical—just like a painting or a sculpture. In The Meaning of Rome: The Renaissance and Baroque City, Professor David Mayernik, a practicing architect and a professor of design theory in the University of Notre Dame, will guide students through a reading of Renaissance and Baroque Rome’s urban form, art, and architecture. Over this 5-week course, learners will discover how the city projected its image of itself to its citizens and the world.
Teaching in Rome is most exciting and engaging when it interacts directly with the city. One of the greatest motivations but also greatest challenges in designing “The Meaning of Rome” was replicating an on-site experience of being in Rome. In creating the course, Professor Mayernik and the design team strove to capitalize on the various modes of delivery and engagement enabled by the online learning space to give learners the experience of being in one of Europe’s most famous cities.
All of the course lectures were filmed in Rome. The on-site lectures are supplemented with unique resources from Notre Dame’s School of Architecture library, Prof. Mayernik’s own drawings and dynamic animations. Through this combination of resources, students are provided with the opportunity of seeing the city’s architecture, but also understanding it, as those who lived in it would have.
This course is about Rome, but it’s also about the relationship between cities and cultural identity more generally. It opens a doorway into a fascinating way of understanding our world. In learning to read Rome, we hope that students will be able to unlock some of the meaning behind their own urban environments, and even consider what meanings might still be added.
To that end, the assignments in this course have been designed to encourage learners to read their own local spaces using the techniques taught throughout the course. Students who successfully complete the course will have the opportunity to complete a Digication ePortfolio and earn a digital badge proving their mastery of the concepts addressed in the course. ePortfolios provide an excellent showcase for work done in any course, particularly multimedia assignments. Upon successful completion of the portfolio, students will be awarded a verified Notre Dame digital badge, which extends beyond the traditional verified certificate. This badge confirms mastery of the course’s three central architectural concepts with student work from the course as evidence. Badges can be displayed on LinkedIn and social media sites, and are connected to online evidence demonstrating the reason a badge was earned.
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