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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: Constantinople and the Cities of Asia Minor, 330-565 (ARCA10071)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAsia Minor was a major centre of classical urbanism and the creation of a new imperial city on the shores of the Bosporus fundamentally altered the urban dynamic of the Roman east. Constantinople became the greatest city in the ancient world with new civic institutions, ideologies and structures. There will be particular attention to the evidence surviving from modern Istanbul and comparative evidence from a selection of the surviving classical cities and villages of Turkey.
Course description Introduction and Tetrarchic cities
¿ Did Constantine create a Christian city?
¿ Rome in the fourth century
¿ Infrastructures and Resources
¿ Christian imagery and new imperial art
¿ The city under Justinian
¿ Key cities of Asia Minor, Sagalassos and Ephesos
¿ Cities and Countryside in Lycia
¿ Late antique urban transformations

By the end of the fifth century AD, Constantinople was the largest and most important city in the Roman world. This aims to study how the city was founded and how it is possible to understand the city from a range of sources: historical, textual, topographic and archaeological. Major monuments survive from late antiquity, such as Hagia Sophia, however much is lost below the later Ottoman capital. To understand the new Byzantine capital it is necessary to integrate the study of historical sources and topographical and archaeological remains. The city can not be studied in isolation and we will also consider some of the many cities from western Asia Minor, including Ephesos and Aphrodisias to examine how urban society was transformed as part of a new Christian empire, and how urban forms responded to new elites and ideologies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Pre-requisites: Archaeology 2A and 2B, or Honours entry to degrees in Classics, or equivalent.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Archaeology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate an understanding of the material and written sources relating to the transformation of urban life and institutions of Constantinople and the cities late antique Asia Minor;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the material, art-historical and topographical evidence for Constantinople and other key excavated sites within the region;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the differing interpretations for the decline and transformation of the classical city;
  4. demonstrate a critical knowledge of the literary, hagiographic and legal sources for late antique urbanism;
  5. demonstrate an awareness of the economic and wider regional context of urban and rural life in the Roman east
Reading List
Mango, C. (2002) The Oxford History of Byzantium (Oxford, 2002). Cormack, R. (2000) Byzantine Art (CUP 2000).
Curcic, S. (2010) Architecture in the Balkans from Diocletian to Süleyman the Magnificant (New Haven 2010).
Croke, B. (2005), ¿Justinian¿s Constantinople¿, in Maas, M. (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian (Cambridge, 2005), 60-86.
Crow, J. (2007a) ¿The Infrastructures of a Great city, Earth, Walls and Water in Late Antique Constantinople¿, in Zanini E and Lavan, L. Technology in Transition, Late Antique Archaeology
Mango, C. (1993) «The development of Constantinople as an urban centre¿, in Mango Studies on Constantinople (Aldershot, 1993) no I.
Cameron, A. (2012) The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity AD 395-700. London & New York. 2nd ed.
Ratté, C. and Smith, R. (2008) Aphrodisias papers. 4. New research on the city and its monuments, Journal of Roman archaeology. Supplementary series ; no. 70
Charlotte Roueché,2004 Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity: The Late Roman and Byzantine Inscriptions, on-line publication:
Foss, C. 1996. Cities, Fortresses and Villages of Byzantine Asia
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills At the end of this course the student will be able, through written examination, coursework and class discussion, demonstrate:

¿ his/her written skills and oral communication skills
¿ his/her analytical skills of both written and visual evidence
¿ his/her ability to recognise and focus on important aspects of a wide-ranging subject and to select specific examples
¿ his/her ability to produce a concise summary

Additional Class Delivery Information There is one lecture per week and student presentations. Normally there is one or two each week depending on the class size. Where possible students are encouraged to work together, but to be able to present a distinct theme related to their chosen topic.
KeywordsConstantinople,Byzantine,Late Antique,Urbanism
Course organiserProf Jim Crow
Course secretaryMs Amanda Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)50 2501
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