Tuesday, 12:00pm - 2:45pm
This course explores the extraordinary cultural transformation Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East underwent from Diocletian's reorganization of the Roman Empire in the late third century to the Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth century. Monuments and sites, sculpture, mosaics, frescoes and ceramics, icons and relics, textiles, coins and seals chart the movement of people, commodities and ideas along routes of warfare, pilgrimage, trade and diplomacy. Was the world of late antiquity still bearing the hallmarks of Roman connectivity, administration and culture? Were Ireland and Anglo-Saxon Englans really the edge of the known world? What was the extent of the Eastern Roman Empire's cultural power in late antique Europe, Africa and the Middle East? How did religious changes influence urban topographies, geographies of power and artistic choices?
Close-up inspection of works of art in the Harvard Art Museums, the Harvard Business School and the Boston Fine Arts Museum; art making in the Harvard Art Museum Materials Lab and the Harvard Ceramics Studios; and study of archaeological records of the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis offer participants a rare insight into one of the most fascinating chapters in the history of art and architecture.