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Level 4

4AACHB02 Introduction to Byzantium and Modern Greece: the Greek-speaking world from 330 AD to today

Credit value: 15
Module tutor/convenor 2017/18:
 Dr Tassos Papacostas & Dr Sotirios Paraschas
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Dr Tassos Papacostas & Profesor Gonda van Steen & Dr Tassos Papacostas 
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour lectures (weekly); 10 x 1-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 2 x  2,000 word essays (100%, based on the higher of the two essay marks; failure to submit 2 essays will be penalized by capping module mark at 40%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

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.

The module introduces students to the history, literature and culture of those who spoke and wrote in Greek over almost two millennia beginning in late antiquity, and still do today.

The first half of the module focuses on the Byzantine period, from the foundation of the capital city of Constantinople in 330 AD to the conquest of the Byzantine empire in 1453 by the Ottoman Turks (who renamed the city Istanbul). Topics include the monuments and legacy of Constantinople itself, the largest and richest city in Europe during the middle ages; the religious art of Byzantium; the role of the Crusades and the western presence in Byzantine lands in the later medieval period.

The second half follows the fortunes of Greek speakers during and after the breakup of the empire, and focuses on the building and consolidation of a Greek nation state in the early 19th century, the cultural achievements of Greeks since, particularly in literature, and their troubled relationship with Europe that lies at the root of the financial and social crisis that broke out in Greece in 2010.

Core reading

Books will be available in the library and purchase is not mandatory.

Core reading (weeks 1-5)

  • Herrin, Judith, Byzantium: the surprising life of a medieval empire (London: Penguin, 2007)
  • Lowden, John, Early Christian and Byzantine art (London: Phaidon, 1997)
  • Stathakopoulos, Dionysios, A short history of the Byzantine empire (London: Tauris, 2014)

Core reading (weeks 6-10)

  • Beaton, Roderick, An introduction to modern Greek literature (revd ed., Oxford University Press, 1999)
  • Clogg, A concise history of Greece (3rd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2013)
  • Kalyvas, Stathis, Modern Greece: what everyone needs to know (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Suggested additional reading

Additional reading (weeks 1-5)

  • Cameron, Averil, The Byzantines (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006)
  • Kaldellis, Anthony, Hellenism in Byzantium: the transformations of Greek identity and the reception of the classical tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • Kaldellis, Anthony, The Byzantine republic: people and power in New Rome (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015)
  • Loverance, Rowena, Byzantium (London: British Museum, 1988)

Additional reading (weeks 6-10)

  • Beaton, Roderick, Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation (Penguin Random House, 2019)
  • Campbell, John and Philip Sherrard, Modern Greece (London: Benn, 1968)
  • Gallant, Thomas W., Modern Greece: From the war of independence to the present (London: Bloomsbury, 2016)
  • Koliopoulos, John S. and Thanos M. Veremis, Greece: The modern sequel (London: C. Hurst, 2002)
  • Ricks, David (ed.), Modern Greek writing: an anthology in English (London: Peter Owen, 2003)
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