Classics and Ancient History

CLAS3323The Jewel of the East: The Art and Archaeology of Byzantium (A) 3 ch (3C) [W]

The eastern Roman empire, known today as Byzantium, flourished for over 1000 years (AD 324-1453). The art and architecture of this multicultural society, united under a single state religion, reflect contemporary political and religious attitudes. They tell the story of an evolving state that slowly drew away from Roman traditions to create its own identity. Clinging to its classical-Hellenic past through education, it laid a firm foundation for humanisitic studies and the emergence of the Renaissance period. The surveying luxury items (jewelry, textiles, metalwork), the iconography (icons, wall paintings, and mosaics), the elegantly decorated books and illuminated manuscripts, the great basilicas and high-domed churches, most of which survive intact, are just some of the remains of material culture discussed. With the assistance of historical documents and anthropological and scientific studies, this course traces the story of this 'mystical' empire and its legacy to the development of western civilization.