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Art And Power In The Age Of Alexander (Hellenistic Art I)


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Module description

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.

In the first century AD, Pliny the Elder famously claimed in his Natural History that art ceased in the early third century BC only to be revived in the middle of the second century by artists much inferior to their predecessors. This damning opinion of Hellenistic art has long influenced its study, but the surviving material shows it to be a dynamic, varied and complex art subject to technological innovation, exotic influence and demand for realism, caricature, humour and eroticism.

This course traces its development from the death of Alexander through to the Battle at Actium between Octavian, later the Emperor Augustus, and Mark Antony, in an area extending from Italy, Sicily and Punic North Africa, across the Attalid, Macedonian, Ptolemaic and Seleucid Kingdoms bordering the Mediterranean and out east to Bactria and Persia. The sheer variety of influences provides a unique opportunity to study the indigenous art of each area alongside the processes leading to the creation of hybrid forms.

Assessment details


750-word commentary (30%); 1 x 2,000 word essay (70%)

Teaching pattern

10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)

Subject areas