Pays partenaires :

accueil site > Pedagogic tools > Teaching materials > Secondary school > Theodoric’s mausoleum

Theodoric’s mausoleum
Thursday 16 October 2008
Version imprimable de cet article Printable version


- To read architecture and to understand the meaning and function of the mausoleum
- To develop the children’s abilities to observe and express what they see

- To recognize the geometrical volumes the monument is made of, starting from the plan of the various parts of the mausoleum
- To be able to make the difference between structure and decorative elements


- Starting from geometric figures the pupil can find the plan of two superposed rooms
- To recognise and recompose the structure of the mausoleum by the use of geometrical volumes available in class
- To recognise tongs-shaped patterns and other kinds of decorative elements
- To acquire sensitivity to the materials that have been used
- To grasp the connection between the monument and its environment, to examine its orientation as related to the points of the compass.


- Small coloured cards with drawings of various geometrical shapes
- Pencils, glue, a box of paints, scissors
- Photocopies of reproductions of other mausoleums
- Cardboard geometrical volumes


- A history of the life of Theodoric, especially referring to his town planning and architectural work in Ravenna


- Summarize with the pupils Theodoric’s political role in Ravenna
- They observe the Mausoleum and examine the relationship between the monument and the landscape around it
- They explore the Mausoleum outside and inside in order to examine which materials have been used, its architecture and it most significant decorative elements, its openings, the connection with the light from the sun (orientation of the Mausoleum)
- Give each pupil small cards arranged so that they can identify the parts that make the building and its decorative elements
- Ask the pupils to write down their feelings when they observe the Mausoleum from outside and inside
- The group reads what has been written down and talk about ancient and contemporary funeral architectures and about the landscape.


A visit to Galla Placida’s Mausoleum and a comparison with previously visited Theodoric’s Mausoleum.

- To write a letter to a far-away friend, describing the two mausoleums and the feelings they aroused.
- To raise hypotheses on the monolithic cupola: how was it put up there?
- To understand how the two parts of Theodoric’s Mausoleum were linked together in the first place.
- To design a funeral monument for a contemporary famous person.

A visit to the so-called Theodoric’s Palace, in Saint Apollinaire le Neuf and to the Arians’ baptistry: to examine the architecture of the buildings that Theodoric had erected when in power.


With stage 3 pupils you can study more thoroughly the architecture and historical and artistic context.


- Ability to recognize shapes, to compose the structure of the Mausoleum and to understand its connection with its environment.
- Ability to get acquainted with an architecture usually seen from a distance, as one drives past.

Cetty Muscolino, Responsable des Services éducatifs de la "Soprintendenza per i Beni Architettonici e per il Paesaggio" Ravenna