This course, taught completely in Italy, will explore the rise, floruit, and fall of Rome, from Etruscan beginnings in the seventh century B.C., to the rise of the Republic in the third to first centuries B.C., to the rise and fall of the empire during the first to third century A.D. The first stage of our itinerary will take us to Rome itself, where we will tour the ancient forum, major museums, and other related ancient sites. The second stage will take us north to Tuscany, where we will explore several Etruscan archaeological sites to gain perspective on Rome's origins. After a three-day stay in Florence to visit sites and museums we will return to Rome for a day of study and classroom instruction. The third stage will take us south to Campania and sites on the Bay of Naples. In Naples we will visit the famous archaeological museum, then make excursions to Herculaneum, Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, and Capri. The course will conclude in Rome, where we will continue our tour of archaeological sites from the heyday of the Roman Empire, including the various imperial fora, monuments, and villas. The course will analyze the mechanisms by which Rome built a long-lasting Republic, and how that Republic transitioned into empire via a series of constitutional and military crises. We will reflect on the nature and evolution of the empire, what sustained it, how and why it fell, and the ways in which Roman material culture influenced the Renaissance and Western civilization.