Spring 2018

  HA 190B | CCN: 41108

Breaking Boundaries: The Persian in Greek and Roman art (500 BC to AD 600)

Rolf Schneider,

Tuesday | Thursday: 5:00 - 6:30pm

This lecture will look at art breaking boundaries. At its core is the surprisingly ample and conspicuous presence of the Persian in Greek and Roman art. We will discuss the visual evidence from cultures linked to the Mediterranean and beyond, i.e. from areas in modern Europe, Asia and Africa. Within this wide horizon of people, space and time we will look at different art forms, small and large; and we will investigate their places in public, religious and domestic life. Case studies arranged in historical order will pave our way through the lecture. Some of the key questions we will tackle are: Who commissioned images of Persians, and why? Since when and why is it the Persian who became the most popular non-Greek and non-Roman figure in Greek and Roman art? How is he portrayed and made distinct from other people? What are the narratives around him? And in which ways did his image change over a time span of more than a millennium – and, if so, again when and why? Our approach in the lecture is to gain access to the visual evidence by description, to read the image – if possible, in conjunction with contemporary texts, to analyse the specific and general historical and cultural context of the image, and to discuss problems of cultural models, such as East and West, self and other, friend and foe.

This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical area (A) or (D) and Chronological period (I), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.