HAA 138M - From Byzantium to the British Isles: The Materiality of Late Antiquity

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2021

Evridiki Georganteli

Mondays, 9:00 am - 11:45 am

This course explores the extraordinary cultural transformation of 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 England 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?

Research stunning works of art from collections across the globe. Go behind the scenes in the Metropolitan Museum. Handle metalwork, textiles, coins, and seals in the Harvard Art Museums and the Dumbarton Oaks Collections. Visit a city in late antique Macedonia. Be an archaeologist for a day and explore Harvard's flagship dig at the archaeological Exploration of Sardis. Map your findings on the Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations, and create podcasts about your favorite objects.