Students will learn about the government, religion and history of ancient Rome by researching and writing about different Roman monuments.
Monuments of Rome: Italian Mosaic Table
Time Alloted2 - 3 Hours
State Content Standards
6.7.1 – Discuss the legacies of Roman art and architecture, technology and science, literature, language and law.
Image of Italian Mosaic Table from Digital Crocker (crockerartmuseum.org). Access to research materials (magazines, journals, travel guides, encyclopedia, books, Internet).
Pens, paper, crayons and any other art materials.
- Introduce the Italian Mosaic Table to your students. Tell students about the table and introduce the Roman monuments using information from About the Italian Mosaic Table.
- Have each student chose one Roman monument depicted in the Table.
- Using magazines, books and the Internet, each student will research their monument.
- Each student will complete the Monuments of Romegraphic organizer by answering the following questions.
- What is the name of your monument?
- When was it built?
- Who built your monument?
- Where in Rome is your monument located?
- What was the function or your monument? Has this changed?
- What is the historical/religious/political significance of your monument?
- Does your monument look the same today as it did when it was built? What changed? Why?
- Why do you think this artist chose to depict your monument on on the Italian Mosaic Table?
- Using the graphic organizer, students will write two to three paragraphs about their monument.
- Each student will find or draw a picture of their monument to accompany their summary.
- Finally, students present their monument to the class. You can put their summaries and photographs on a bulletin board in the order of the table, in relation to a map or Rome or organized by topic (ie. Roman Forum, temples, etc.).
- As a class, discuss ways in which Roman government, art, etc. still influences contemporary practices. Government structure, architecture- point out how so many of our government’s buildings incorporate the dome, columns, pediments, etc. St. Peter’s is still the center of the Catholic church.
Book a fieldtrip to the Crocker Art Museum (free for students in Sacramento County). During your visit, look closely at the Italian Mosaic Table in person. Also, see if you can find similar architectural elements in the Crocker Gallery and Crocker home. Columns, pilasters, acanthus leaves, etc.
MONUMENTS OF ROME
About the Italian Mosaic Table, 19th century
A mosaic is a decorative object made from pieces of hard substances fitted together. The materials of mosaics have differed little throughout history. The earliest mosaics were made of clay or stone fragments. In time these became cubical in form and were called tesserae. Glass tesserae were used in the ancient world for mosaic works.
The design is created by embedding tightly fitted cut and painted stones. The scenes of the tabletop mosaic show the famous sites of Rome , including the Forum, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon. In the center is St. Peter's Square, separated from the outside scenes by a border of classicizing leaf forms. Above the dome of St. Peter's Cathedral is the scene of the Pantheon, one of eight such Roman sites separated by richly decorated fictive green columns on pedestals. From the Pantheon are the following: a Triumphal Arch (perhaps the Arch of Constantine), the Capitol, the Forum with the Arch of Septimius Severus to the left, the Colosseum, the round Temple of Vesta with its surrounding columns, Castel Saint Angelo, and a circular tomb, perhaps the tomb of Cecilia Metella. The eight tourist sites are bordered by a Greek-key design in green, red and yellow. Part of the pedestal is a sculptural group of a wolf and two small children.
According to Roman legend, the twins Romulus and Remus founded Rome. Their Uncle Aemulius was afraid that the boys would overthrow his rule when they became older. To prevent this, the uncle had the infants thrown into the Tiber River . A she-wolf found them and, instead of killing them, took care of them and fed them with her own milk. Later, as young men, Romulus and Remus founded the city of Rome on the spot where the she-wolf had cared for them. Since the tabletop displays the tourist sites of Rome , it is appropriate that the table's pedestal shows a scene relating to the founding of the city.
About the Roman Forum
About the Colosseum
About the Pantheon
Alvar Gonzalez-Palacios, The Art of Mosaics: Selections from the Gilbert Collection. Los Angeles , CA : Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977.