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AH4205   Byzantium, 330 - 1453: Art, Religion and Imperial Power

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 1

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: 11.00 am - 1.00 pm Thu (lecture) and either 3.00 pm or 4.00 pm Thu (seminar)

This module explores the vibrant visual culture of the Byzantine Empire from the founding of Constantinople in 330 AD to the fifteenth century when the imperial capital succumbed to the might of the Ottoman Turks. It is an exciting period which sees the formation of a distinct Christian art and architecture drawing upon the religious traditions of Judaism and pagan Rome on one hand, and that of imperial power on the other.We will examine a wide range of media (mosaics, frescoes, icons, ivories and luxury objects) in order to gain a rounded view of the art of the Byzantine Empire and we will consider the function of images and objects in specific historical contexts. We will explore the grandeur of Hagia Sophia in Instabul, the mosaics in Constantinople, Ravenna and San Marco in Venice, the extraordinary skills of ivory workers, enamellists and illuminators of manuscripts, and we will relate these treasures to the social, cultural and religious dimensions of this dynamic culture. Particular emphasis will be placed on the theory and function of icons or holy images, the use of art to project imperial ideology, the relationship between art and ritual and the appropriation of Byzantine forms and iconography for ideological purposes outside the empire.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass AH2001 and pass AH2002

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 2 x 1-hour lectures, 1 x 1-hour seminar (x 11 weeks) 2 x tutor's office hour (x 12 weeks), fieldtrip - 8 hours

Scheduled learning hours: 65

Guided independent study hours: 235

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 30%, Coursework = 70%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 30%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 70%

Re-assessment: 1 x Written Assignment to be agreed by the Board of Examiners


Module coordinator: Dr G Kouneni
Module teaching staff: Dr Lenia Kouneni