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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Late Antique Visual Culture (PGHC11180)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course deliberately takes a broad approach to consider the theme of 'Late Antique Visual Culture', drawing on the disciplines of art history, archaeology, history and literary criticism. Students in this way will move beyond traditional stylistic approaches to late antique art in order to consider issues of continuity and change in the visual culture of Late Antiquity. Students will consider a range of diverse phenomena: as well as studying late antique sculpture, painting and "minor arts" they will also examine how literary texts constructed visual culture as well as exploring broader material and topographical contexts. This course is designed to appeal to students with a range of interests, including those for whom the late antique period constitutes a new field of study.
Course description This interdisciplinary course looks at the subject of 'late antique visual culture' from a deliberately broad perspective. Through wider reading, seminar discussion and student presentations students encounter and develop their understanding of the subject through a range of topical sessions that seek both to place late antique visual culture in its social, cultural, religious and political contexts as well as equipping students with the skills to analyse and interpret this visual culture for themselves. Weekly seminar topics are likely to include: the idea of the 'decline of form'; state art in Late Antiquity; birth and development of Christian art; sacred space; the 'minor arts' in Late Antiquity; Ravenna; the Traprain treasure and late antique silver.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in a written essay a detailed and critical command knowledge of major developments in late antique art and architecture, including the development of Christian art
  2. Demonstrate in a written essay an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning late antique visual culture, the major debates and theoretical and methodological issues involved
  3. Demonstrate in a written essay and seminar participation, an ability to interpret and analyse a range of late antique visual material as well as late antique literary texts which deal with visual culture
  4. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form (in seminar discussions, presentations, and essays) by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  5. Demonstrate in seminar discussions and presentations originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
Belting, H. (1994) Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era of Art. London

Berenson, B. (1975) The Arch of Constantine or the Decline of Form. London

Byzantium, 330-1453. London, 2008

Constantine the Great: York's Roman emperor. York, 2006

Elsner, J. (1995) Art and the Roman Viewer: The Transformation of Art from the Pagan World to Christianity. Cambridge

Finney, P.C. (1994) The Invisible God: The Early Christians on Art. Oxford
The Road to Byzantium: Luxury Arts of Antiquity. London, 2006

MacCormack, S. (1981) Art and Ceremony in Late Antiquity. Berkeley

Roberts, M. (1989) The Jeweled Style: Poetry and Poetics in Late Antiquity. London

Trilling, J. (1987) 'Late Antique and Sub-Antique or the "Decline of Form" Reconsidered', DOP 41: 469-476

Weitzmann, K. (1979) Age of Spirituality: Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Class time TBA in agreement with Dr. Grig (
Keywordslate antique visual culture
Course organiserDr Lucy Grig
Tel: (0131 6)50 3579
Course secretaryMr Gordon Littlejohn
Tel: (0131 6)50 3782
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