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Level 7

7AACM876 Living in Byzantium II: Material culture and built environment in the Middle Ages

Credit value: 20 credits  
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Tassos Papacostas
Assessment in 2015/6: 1 x essay of 2,000 words (50%); 1 x 1.5-hour exam (50%)
Assessment in 2016/7: 1 x essay of 5,000 words (100%) 

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.
Teaching pattern
: 10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly) 

Availability: Please see module list  for relevant year

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This module deals with several important aspects of the man-made environment of Byzantium in its medieval phase (8th to 15th century).  It covers domestic artefacts and military architecture as well as unique luxury items, richly decorated churches, rock-cut dwellings and the urban landscape. Among the module's principal aims is to provide students with the necessary skills with which to assess and use this material in historical studies, and to develop a sound understanding of art historical and archaeological matters. 

This is the medieval pendant of 7AACM875 Living in Byzantium I: Material culture and built environment in Late Antiquity , which, although not a prerequisite, students are advised to take, if available, before taking Living in Byzantium II.

Provisional teaching plan

  • Week 1: Aims, coursework, assessment – history, practicalities of research

  • Week 2: Medieval innovations       

  • Week 3: Architectural experiments

  • Week 4: A unique province – Cappadocia

  • Week 5: Looking back – revivals

  • Week 6: Student presentations – the rural world

  • Week 7: Brass doors and medieval trade

  • Week 8: Wall mosaics 

  • Week 9: Seminar discussion – essay

  • Week 10: Student presentations – museum visit, exam revision

Core reading

Purchase of books is not mandatory.

  • R. Cormack, Byzantine art, OUP (Oxford 2000).

  • R. Krautheimer, Early Christian and Byzantine architecture, Penguin (Harmondsworth 1986).

  • R. Loverance, Byzantium, British Museum Press (London 2004).

  • J. Lowden, Early Christian and Byzantine art, Phaidon Press (London 1997).

  • C. Mango, The art of the Byzantine empire, 312-1453: sources and documents, University of Toronto Press (Englewood Cliffs NJ 1972).

  • C. Mango, Byzantine architecture, Faber / Electa (London 1978).

  • T.F. Mathews, The art of Byzantium, Everyman Art Library (London 1998).

  • L. Rodley, Byzantine art and architecture. An introduction, CUP (Cambridge 1994).

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