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Level 6

6AACAR60 Venice: history and art

Credit value: 15
Module convenor/tutor 2018/19: Dr Tassos Papacostas & Dr Vicky Manolopoulou
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2 hour seminar (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 2 x 2,500 word essays: one on history, one on art/architecture (weighted 50% each)

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.

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

A medieval Italian city and its links with the Byzantine East

Although tucked away at the northern corner of the Adriatic Sea, the city of Venice became one of the most important states in the Mediterranean. A rare case of a republic among kingdoms and empires, Venice built its power on trade and a flexibility to construct and shift allegiances to suit its interests. It had a complex relationship with the Byzantine Empire, developing from satellite city state, to ally and eventually conqueror. At the same time Venice maintained an important role as intermediary between the world of Islam and the western European states.

This module will explore the evolution and complexity of these relations through the ages, using both textual and visual sources to reconstruct a fascinatingly dense and rich story. The main foci being history and visual culture, the ten sessions will be divided equally between these two approaches. Similarly, the two essays through which the module is assessed will also reflect this, one being on a history topic, the other on art or architectural history.

If there is sufficient interest, the convenor(s) of the module will be prepared to lead students on a tour of some of the key sites. However, this cannot be guaranteed, and travel, accommodation, insurance and all other sundry subsistence costs, i.e. meals and entrance fees to sites, would have to be arranged and paid for by the students themselves.

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

  • O. Demus, The church of San Marco in Venice: history, architecture, sculpture (Washington DC 1960).
  • E. Dursteler (ed.), A companion to Venetian history, 1400-1797 (Leiden – Boston 2013)
  • P. Fortini Brown, Venice and Antiquity. The Venetian sense of the past (New Haven – London 1996)
  • M. Georgopoulou, Venice’s Mediterranean colonies: Architecture and urbanism (Cambridge 2001
  • D. Howard, The architectural history of Venice (New Haven – London 2002)
  • T. F. Madden, Venice: A new history (New York – London 2012)
  • H. Maguire and R. S. Nelson (eds), San Marco, Byzantium and the myths of Venice (Washington DC 2010)
  • M. E. Mallett and J. R. Hale, The military organization of a Renaissance state: Venice c. 1400 to 1617 (Cambridge 1984)
  • D. M. Nicol, Byzantium and Venice (Cambridge 1988)
  • N. G. Wilson, From Byzantium to Italy (London 1992)

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