Italian civilization in its encyclopedic sweep, from ancient Rome to the contemporary scene, will be studied through the historian’s eye and the film maker’s lens. How does history “change” depending on the time, place, and medium of our retrospective? How do movies, with their stories of military conquests, cultural heroes, romantic intrigue and scandal, differ from accounts in the annals of history? Do directors from other cultures see it differently from natives? Are there stereotypes? Readings (Machiavelli’s Prince, modern historical texts) will be paired with a a range of film types (the spectacle with a cast of thousands, costume drama, Neorealist slice-of-life, political exposé, documentary recreation) focused on successive periods: the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Unification, Turn of the Century, Fascist era, World War II, post-war years, and Italy today. Students will independently view one film per week (available in the library); supplementary clips will be shown by the professor in class for comparison. Course taught in English; films with English subtitles, all readings in English. No prerequisites.