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Level 7

7AACM870 Cyprus from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance

Credit value: 20 credits                                                    
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Tassos Papacostas
Assessment in 2015/6: 1 x essay of 4,000 words (100%)
Assessment in 2016/7: 1 x essay of 5,000 words (100%)
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour classes (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 aims to introduce students to the history and material culture of Cyprus between the end of Antiquity and the dawn of the Modern era, through successive periods of its history (Byzantine, Crusader, Venetian), in a case study of a medieval Mediterranean society. Students will be trained in working with the relevant tools (original textual sources, archaeological evidence, works of art).

The subject matter is approached, firstly, as a case study of a Byzantine province, looking at its fate in the 'dark age' and medieval period, and secondly as a prime example of western expansion into the eastern Mediterranean in the wake of the Crusades and later in the context of Venice’s commercial empire. 

The island’s history illustrates several important themes in the evolution of the Mediterranean and consequently its artistic and monumental heritage encapsulate and exemplify the principal wider trends (the centrality of Byzantine culture, the introduction of Gothic architecture, the genesis of Crusader art, the impact of the Renaissance). Thus one of the overarching themes is the wider context (Byzantine and/or Crusader, Levantine and/or Mediterranean), which will loom large over the investigation of each topic.

Provisional teaching plan

  • Week 1: Introduction: geography, history, bibliography

  • Week 2: Cities and villages: shifting settlement patterns 

  • Week 3: Late antique and Byzantine architecture

  • Week 4: Monumental art (11th-16th c.)

  • Week 5: Sources seminar

  • Week 6: Monastic founders and patronage

  • Week 7: Presentations: the Mediterranean context - economy, trade

  • Week 8: Crusader art and Gothic architecture

  • Week 9: Venetian prosperity and glimpses of the Renaissance

  • Week 10: Essay presentations and seminar discussion

Core reading

Purchase of books is not mandatory.

  • P.W. Edbury, The Kingdom of Cyprus and the Crusades, 1191-1374, CUP (Cambridge 1991)

  • B. Englezakis, Studies on the History of the Church of Cyprus, 4th-20th centuries, Ashgate (Aldershot 1995)

  • C. Enlart (transl. D. Hunt), Gothic Art and the Renaissance in Cyprus, Trigraph (London 1987)

  • C. Galatariotou, The Making of a Saint. The Life, Times and Sanctification of Neophytos the Recluse, CUP (Cambridge 1991)

  • G. Hill, A History of Cyprus, 4 vols., CUP (Cambridge 1940-52)

  • D.M. Metcalf, Byzantine Cyprus 491-1191, Cyprus Research Centre (Nicosia 2009)

  • A. Nicolaou-Konnari and C. Schabel (eds.), Cyprus. Society and Culture 1191-1374, Brill (Leiden 2005)

  • A.J. Wharton, Art of Empire. Painting and Architecture of the Byzantine Periphery. A Comparative Study of Four Provinces, Penn. State UP (University Park – London 1988)

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