Our second site visit was the famous Roman Forum. The format of our course, The New Testament in the Eternal City, includes not only classroom lectures but also site visits each week. More than simply “fun field trips”, these site visits are an integral part of the academic component of our study abroad program. Each week the site is to be integrated with the content of the classroom lecture. And while we’re on site, there is even more academic input from me and the occasional guide who leads us. So, pens, notebooks and course texts are not left behind! Instead, the site itself becomes both our classroom and the focus of our study – our “text”.
Our lecture was on the Roman context of early Christianity and our trip to the Roman Forum gave us a feel for what it was like to live, work, shop, participate in politics, and pray in ancient Rome. The basilicas, government buildings, temples, and areas of commerce included in the Forum helped us to understand how it functioned as the political, religious, and social center of ancient Rome.
Haley Bryan (’15) had this reaction to our trip to the Forum:
“The trip to the Roman Forum yesterday showed me how “ancient” Rome really is. It’s unbelievable these ruins from the most powerful empire still remain more than two thousand years later. The politics of the Roman Empire all happened here.”
Elizabeth Ward (’15) said: “I greatly enjoyed visiting the Roman Forum. It is fascinating to walk along the same streets that were once inhabited by Caesar, Cicero, and so many other greats that we have learned about in history classes. I love being able to see how much of today’s world is taken from structures and practices of the Ancient World. Rome continues to surprise me with each turn; one moment you’re riding on the 21st century Metro and then the next you’re walking among ruins from the age before Christ.”
Hearing the story of the assassination of Julius Caesar and seeing the spot in the Forum where his body was cremated struck Alissa Pappano (’15): “I thought the most exciting part of the Roman Forum was viewing the site of the ashes of Julius Caesar. It was interesting to learn that his was one of the first cases of a burial within the city of Rome.”
Another University of San Diego student, Danielle Brasher (’15), simply stated: “The
forum was an incredible glimpse at what life was like thousands of years