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

Postgraduate Course: The Art and Archaeology of Sparta and Laconia (PGHC11593)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe module explores the art and archaeology of Sparta and Laconia from the Geometric through the Classical period. Through the study of archaeological, art-historical, and textual sources, we will think of the image and reality of Spartan austerity, the relationship of Sparta and its perioikic neighbours in Laconia and Messenia, issues of art and craft production, social divisions, and Laconia's connections with the wider Mediterranean. The material will be placed in a political, social, and religious context.
Course description Sparta's image as an austere society devoid of architectural embellishments and artistic production is known from the famous passage of the Classical-period author, Thucydides (1.10.2). However, the archaeological evidence from the eighth, seventh, sixth, and early fifth centuries BCE show that Sparta in the preceding centuries, had a rich local tradition in the arts and crafts, such as vase-painting, bronze work, bone and ivory carving, and sculpture. Its temples were embellished with elaborate architectural and decorative programs that show that Sparta, although had knowledge of current trends in the Greek world, it also followed a distinct local artistic and architectural tradition. Thus, Classical Sparta's image as we read in later sources, where it features as a Greek polis, which saw the militarisation of its male citizens and with no interest in art, does not translate into the previous centuries.

This course will study the art and archaeology of Sparta and the region of Laconia from the Geometric through the Classical periods. It will be an interdisciplinary course where archaeological, textual, and art-historical sources will be used to consider several themes, such as the myth of the Spartan austerity, the relationship of Sparta and its perioikic neighbors in Laconia and Messenia, Spartan and Laconian sanctuaries and cults, burial customs, issues of art and craft production, social divisions (homoioi, perioikoi, helots, and women) and Laconia's connections with the wider Mediterranean especially, but not exclusively, through trade. We will pay special attention to the well-known Laconian black-figure vase painting, which, with its distinct shapes and iconography, was exported in the Greek world and beyond, and we will study the art and craft of bronze vessels and the impact of Laconian art abroad.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking The Art and Archaeology of Sparta and Laconia (CACA10052)
Other requirements Students should usually have at least 2 courses in Classics, Ancient History or Classical Archaeology at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesStudents should usually have at least 2 courses in Classics, Ancient History or Classical Archaeology at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
5000 word research essay (80%)

Non-Written Skills:
Participation (attendance, contribution to discussions) (20%)
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.

Formative feedback can involve a short gobbet/image with a relative question for analysis and discussion (500 words).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Reflect critically on the art and archaeology of Sparta and Laconia.
  2. Develop skills to analyse material and textual sources for the ancient world in a written form.
  3. Understand how this material can aid with our view of Spartan politics, interstate relations, burial customs, and local religious tradition.
  4. Analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship relating to Sparta and Laconia.
  5. Understand methodological difficulties in reading archaeological and written sources, both ancient and modern.
Reading List
Catling, H.W. 1977. 'Excavations at the Menelaion, Sparta, 1973-1976', Archaeological Reports, 24-42.

Catling, R.W.V. 1995. 'Archaic Lakonian architecture,' Annual of the British School at Athens 90: 317-324.

Cavanagh, W.G., and S.E.C. Walker, (eds). 1988. Sparta in Laconia. Colloquium held with the British School at Athens and King's and University Colleges, London 6-8 December 1995. London.

Cavanagh, W.G., J. Crouwel, and R.W.V. Catling, (eds). 2002. The Laconia Survey: Continuity and Change in a Greek Rural Landscape Vol. I: Methodology and Interpretation. London.

Cavanagh, W.G., C. Gallou, and M. Gerogiadis (eds), 2009. Sparta And Laconia: from Prehistory to Pre-Modern. Proceedings of the Conference held in Sparta 17-20 March 2005. London.

Christesen, P. 2018. 'The typology and topography of Spartan burials from the Protogeometric to the Hellenistic period: rethinking Spartan exceptionalism and the ostensible cessation of adult intramural burials in the Greek world', Annual of the British School at Athens 113: 307-363.

Delivorrias, A. and St. Vlizos, (eds.), 2011-12. 'Amykles Research Project: Works 2005-2010', Benaki Museum 11-12: 73-191.

Kennell, N. M. 2010. Spartans: A new history. Chichester, UK.

Pavlides. N. 2018. 'The Sanctuaries of Apollo Maleatas and Apollo Tyritas in Laconia. Religion in Spartan-Perioikic Relations', Annual of the British School at Athens 113: 279-305.

Pipili, M. 1987 Laconian Iconography of the Sixth Century B. C. Oxford.

Powell, A. (ed.) 2018. A Companion to Sparta. 2 vols. Hoboken, NJ.

Stibbe, C.M. 1998. The Sons of Hephaistos: Aspects of the Archaic Greek Bronze Industry. Rome.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Analyse, assimilate and deploy critically a range of secondary literature relevant and essential to the student's individual research subject.

Provide clear written and oral analyses based on historical and archaeological information.

Process and critically assess information derived from historical and archaeological research, utilising theoretical and methodological knowledge and skills specific to the subject area.

Construct and pursue a coherent argument driven by analysis of the primary source material.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Nicolette Pavlides
Tel: (0131 6)51 3856
Course secretary
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