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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Classical Art/Classical Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: A Visual History of the Later Roman World (CACA10040)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will offer an approach to late Roman history through the lens of its visual culture, offering a concrete, material-based approach to late antique life and culture. The students will learn how to analyse visual documents for historical purposes, combining them with literary sources and interpreting them as part of a broader historical narrative.
Course description The course will focus on the visual culture of the late antique Roman empire, with a particular attention to the period between the late third and early fifth centuries, and to the relation between artworks, historical events, and cultural continuities and changes. It will offer students a general narrative of the development of late antique art in its (all but consistent) shift from a Greek-shaped classicising antiquity to the new visual language of the middle ages, at the same time providing them with the theoretical and methodological tools necessary to analyse visual documents as sources of historical information.

The course will be organised in two main parts: 1. An overview of the chronological development of late antique visual language, dealing with problems of patronage, style, and artistic geography. This section will also include the analysis of public monuments with a strong political significance, that can be linked to key historical figures and play an important part in the interpretation of major political events. 2. A selection of visual documents from private contexts, which will offer a glimpse into the world of late antique Romans and their cultural practices. This section will also include some key examples of early Christian art, showing how the new religion found its place within an already crowded visual environment, and how its new values were conveyed by means of the traditional language already familiar late antique artists and patrons.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is available to all students who have progressed to Honours.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics, History or Archaeology (at least 1 of which should be in Classical Art and Archaeology or in Roman History) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.

**as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  14
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 2, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 3,500 word essay on the artistic and historical contextualisation of an artwork (30%)
Exam: 2 hour paper (60%)
Practical Exam: Course participation and contribution to class discussion (10%)
Feedback Students will receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours for this course or by appointment.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, a sound knowledge of the main characteristics and chronological development of late Roman culture.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to assimilate a variety of primary sources, both written and visual, compare them, and formulate critical opinions on them.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to make informed contributions to class discussion.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to read, analyse, contextualise, and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence.
Reading List
R. Bianchi Bandinelli, Rome, the Late Empire: Roman art, A.D. 200-400, London: Thames and Hudson, 1971

G.W. Bowersock, Hellenism in Late Antiquity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990

G.W. Bowersock, Mosaics as History: The Near East from Late Antiquity to Islam, Cambridge, Ma. and London: Belknap Press, 2006

P. Brown, The Making of Late Antiquity, Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1978

A. Cameron, The Last Pagans of Rome, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010

J. Elsner, Imperial Rome and Christian Triumph: The Art of the Roman Empire AD 100-450, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998

E. Kitzinger, Byzantine Art in the Making: Main Lines of Stylistic Development in Mediterranean Art, 3rd-7th Century, Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1977

R.E. Leader-Newby, Silver and Society in Late Antiquity: Functions and Meanings of Silver Plate in the Fourth to Seventh Centuries, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003

R. Lizzi Testa (ed.), The Strange Death of Pagan Rome: Reflections on a Historiographical Controversy, Turnhout: Brepols, 2013

H.P. L'Orange, Art Forms and Civic Life in the Late Roman Empire, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965

S.G. MacCormack, Art and Ceremony in Late Antiquity, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981

A. Riegl, Late Roman Art Industry, Roma: G. Bretschneider, 1985
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Fabio Guidetti
Course secretaryMiss Rachel Ord
Tel: (0131 6)50 3580
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