Art in Late Antiquity
This class examines the complex artistic, religious, and cultural transformations that took place in the ancient Mediterranean world in the period from the emperor Constantine (306-337) to the rise of Islam in the seventh century. The first weeks of the class’ readings and lectures emphasize a historical understanding of the period, in particular the Christianization of the Roman Empire, the conflict between paganism and Christianity, the reasons and consequences for the fall of Rome and the Western Roman Empire, the rise of the Eastern Roman Empire, centered in Constantinople, and the first wave of Islamic expansion. The rest of the material is divided thematically. Art (such as mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, and ivories) and the built environment (palaces, churches, and cities) are taken as statements in discourses of power, Christian doctrine, spirituality, paganism, gender, and the holy.
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (A) and (D) and Chronological period (I).