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COURSE NAME: "World Art I: Visual Culture of the Ancient World"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018

EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 11:30-12:45 PM

This survey course focuses on the art, archaeology and architecture of the Mediterranean world, roughly between 2500 BC – AD 300. The course investigates the material culture of the diverse cultural groups that shaped this cosmopolitan world: Sumerians, Assyrians, Minoans/Mycenaeans, Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, Persians, Italics and Romans. Special attention will be given to the interconnectivity and dynamic relationship of inspiration between these cultures. The aim is for a firm contextual understanding of the works examined, and of the cultural, political and historical aspects that shaped these. The course will also assist students in cultivating basic art-historical skills, in particular description, stylistic analysis, and iconographic and iconological analysis.

Focused on the material culture of the ancient Mediterranean (approximately 2500 BC - AD 300), the course investigates the material culture of the diverse cultural groups that shaped this world: Sumerians, Assyrians, Minoans/Myceneans, Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, Persians, Italics and Romans.

The course establishes a nuanced appreciation of the cultural characteristics and value systems of these peoples and how they developed over time. An important focus of investigation is the cultural interconnectivity between these and the dynamic relationships of inspiration within a cosmopolitan and multicultural world.

Thematic discussions of religious and urban topography, temple architecture, domestic space, religious votives, and "self-representation" will investigate the articulation of civic, social and individual identities, and the responses to new inspirations and political structures.


Understanding of salient developments in the history of the ancient world
Identify major monuments of the various peoples and cultures of the ancient Mediterranean: Greeks, Etruscan, Romans and well as those of the Near East and Egypt.

Ability to analyze, and contextualize, the historical development of human cultures
Consider developments over time and changes in the expression of material culture within cultural groups and across the Mediterranean world

Ability to analyze primary sources and assess secondary sources
Describe and analyze works of art from those periods and cultures, with particular attention to their iconographies, period meanings, materials, and social functions.

Ability to articulate historical and cultural developments as affected by cultural factors
Develop an awareness of cultural interaction and an ability to analyze these as dynamic interactions of inspiration, response and emulation

Ability to analyze, and contextualize, the historical development of human cultures
Appreciate the distinctive character of works used for public display, commemoration and honor as evidence both of requirements of context and of social stratification / access to public visibility

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
There is no set textbook for the course. Introductory reading will be listed for each classGardner's Art through the Ages will function as a reference point for reading in advance of class -- Kleiner, Fred Gardner's Art through the Ages: A Global History, International Edition. Cengage
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
A full bibliography for the course will be provided at the start of the course -For core bibliographic works see below-- 

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Further reading suggestions for the course will be provided at the start of the course ---- 
Participation and acacdemic professionalismContribution to the academic milieu of the class: contribution to class discussions, willingness to share own observations, and collaborative behavior0%
Visual analyses exercisesVisual analysis of four works of your choice based on first hand observation. A variety of periods, cultures and media must be addressed25%
Research paper Short research paper: independent research, ability to evaluate and interpret materials and their inherent interests, and capability for discussing these in a nuanced manner in writing25%
Final examIdentifications and discussions of individual works, term definitions, analytical essays 30%
Mid-term examIdentifications and discussions of individual works, term definitions, analytical essay20%

ASuperior work directly addresses the question or problem raised; provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information; demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory; and has an element of originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading.
BGood work is highly competent; directly addresses the question or problem raised; demonstrates some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice; and discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CSatisfactory work provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings only; it may have some significant structural flaw, absence of information or research background, or too casual and imprecise a treatment, or contain only a minimum of interpretation.
DPoor work lacks a coherent grasp of the material; fails to support its argument with sufficient evidence; indicates a hasty or unconsidered preparation, and/or fails to fulfil the assignment in some way; omits important information and includes irrelevant points.
FFailure work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question; most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


• You are expected to participate in all scheduled classes. Absences and late arrival will be noted, and may affect your grade.
• You are expected to have dealt with food, drink and bathroom needs before class.
• Make-up work is not offered, except in exceptional circumstances and after consultation with the Dean of Academic Affairs

Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed.

Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam: a major exam (midterm or final) cannot be made up without the permission of the Dean’s Office. Permission will be granted only when the absence is caused by a serious impediment or grave situation, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or funeral service for immediate family. Absences due to conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. 

Changes to / cancellation of class
•     Changes, additional course information, etc will be posted on MyJCU. Please check this regularly and, certainly, in advance of each class.
•     In case of unavoidable cancellations of class, notification will be posted at the front desk at both Tiber and Guarini campuses. A suitable date and time for a make-up class will subsequently be established.

Revision aid
• An overview of works studied, as well as themed questions to help you organise your notes and gain an overview of the material, will be posted on MyJCU in advance of each exam.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Details of further reading suggestions as well as a relevant bibliography for the course will be provided at the start of the semester
Core bibliographic works for the course:

Barringer, J. (2014) The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Greece.

Clarke, J. (1991) The Houses of Roman Italy, 100 BC – AD 250.
Curtis, J. (1989) Ancient Persia. British Museum

Ewald, B.C. and Noreña, C.F. (2010) The Emperor and Rome.
Fullerton, M.D. (2000) Greek Art.

Galinsky, K. (1996) Augustan Culture, an Interpretative Introduction.
Hurwitt, J.M. (1999) The Athenian Acropolis.

Kleiner, D.E.E. (1992) Roman Sculpture.
Liverani, M. (2014) The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy.

Osborne, R. (1998) Archaic and Classical Art.
Podany, A. (2014) The Ancient Near East: A very Short Introduction.

Reade, J. (1998) Assyrian Sculpture. British Museum
Reade, J. (2000) Mesopotamia. British Museum Reserve

Riggs, C. (2014) Ancient Egyptian Art and Architecture: a very short introduction.
Robins, G. (1997) The Art of Ancient Egypt. British Museum.

Smith, C. (2014) The Etruscans. A very Short Introduction.
Spivey, N. (1997) Etruscan Art.

Stewart, P. (2008) The Social History of Roman Art.


Please note - the schedule includes two make-up days: Friday September 21 and Friday November 9

Representing the world 5000-1500 BC

1. Tues. Sept. 4 Introduction to the course and to Rome
Themes/works         Course requirements & logistics.

2. Thurs. Sept. 6 Agriculture and technology
Far East: Zhang and Zhou (China); Jomon (Japan); Harappa, Indus civilization. Describing art
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 424-8; 451-3; 476-7 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  434-8, 463-5, 492-3

City-states and kings (c 3000-2300 BC)

3. Tues. Sept. 11 
Writing and city-states
Near East: Mesopotamia. Standard of Ur, Ziggurat of Uruk, tomb of Puabi, cuneiform writing, harps and figurines
Gardner’s (14th / 15th ed.): 31-42

4. Thurs. Sept. 13 Cities and rulers

Egypt: pre/early dynastic and old kingdom; Europe: Cyclades. Funerary architecture: pyramids and sphinx at Gizeh, sculpture, reliefs and painting; Cycladic figurines
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 55-66, 86-88 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  55-66, 84-6

Cities and administration
(c 2000-1000 BC)

5. Tues. Sept. 18 
Palace and city – religion
Egypt and Europe: Middle Kingdom; Minoans. The human figure and the natural world: wall painting and pottery; Knossos, Thera
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 67-69, 89-95 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  67-69, 86-93

6. Thurs. Sept. 20 
Queens and kings – leadership and administration
Egypt and Europe: New Kingdom, Myceneans. Hatshepsut funerary temple; Amarna Period; painted scenes
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 69-80, 95-102 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  68-78, 93-100

7. Fri. Sept. 21 Royal pursuits and heroic ideals
Themes/works         Near East and Far East: Babylonia and Assyria. Palace of Ashurnasirpal; epic of Gilgamesh; royal ideals: palace structure and decoration
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 43-48 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  42-48

Polis, colony and peer-polity relationships (c 1000-700 BC)

8. Tues. Sept. 25 Image and narrative
Themes/works         Europe: Geometric and Orientalizing Greece. Writing and technologies, depicting myth. Dipylon krater/amphora; votive figurines; Lefkandi heroon; loutherion, Thebes; ‘Chigi olpe’; Aristonothos krater
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 108-11 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  106-9

9. Thurs. Sept. 27 Colonies
Themes/works         Europe: Orientalizing and Archaic Magna Graecia and Greece. Pithekoussai (settlement); Poseidonia/Paestum (city and temples); Temple of Artemis, Corcyra, temple plans
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 115-8 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  113-6

Cities and aristocracies (700-600 BC)

10. Tues. Oct. 2 
International elite values         Visual Analysis 1 dueThemes/works         Europe: Orientalizing and Archaic Etruria. International trade and exchange of technology; grave goods assemblages; status of women; rock-cut tombs, Caere; Couple sarcophagi, Caere
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 166-67 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  164-65

11. Thurs. Oct. 4 Aristocratic and mercantile elites
Themes/works         Europe: Archaic and Classical Etruria, Latium and Magna Graecia. Painted tombs, Tarquinia; Pyrgi sanctuary; Portonaccio sanctuary, Veii; Temple of Jupiter, Rome
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 111-14, 120-3, 129-31 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  109- 13, 118-21, 125-8

Changing social mobility (600-500 BC)

12. Tues. Oct. 9  New styles of government: tyranny and democracy
Themes/works         Europe: Archaic Greece. Kouros and kore figures, experimentation with movement; Black-figure and Red-figure pottery; ‘hekatompedon temple’
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 167-72, 173-6, 180-1 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  165-70, 171-4, 178-9

13. Thurs. Oct. 11 Civic and Pan-Hellenic sanctuaries
Themes/works         Europe: Archaic and Classical Greece. Heraion (Perachora, Argos), Epidauros, Delphi, Olympia
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 48-53, 153-5 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  48-52, 150-52 

Visual experience – viewers and architecture (700-400 BC)

14. Tues. Oct. 16   Polis and palace     Visual Analysis 2 due
Themes/works         Europe: Archaic and Classical Greece; Near East: Persia. Priene and Athens: agora and theatres; Persepolis palace and apadana
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 119, 123-8, 151-2 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  117, 121-5 

15. Thurs. Oct. 18 Acropolis, Athens
Themes/works         Europe: Classical Greece. Parthenon temple and decoration; Erechtheion; Temple of Nike
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 133-41 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  130-8 

16. Tues. Oct. 23 Mid-term Exam

Details will uploaded to MyJCU

Week 8 – Civic representation (500-400 BC)

17. Thurs. Oct. 25       Sculpture

Europe: Classical Greece. Doryphoros (Polykleitos); Aphrodite of Knidos (Praxiteles); Apoxyomenos (Lysippos); bronze- and stone working technique
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 132-3, 145-48 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  129-30, 142-5

18. Tues. Oct. 30 ‘World’ cities and ruler representation
Themes/works         Europe: Hellenistic world. Depicting kings, making a new ‘world’ city. Portrait of Alexander the Great; mausoleum of Mausolos; Pergamon
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 148-9, 153-60 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  145-6, 150-9

Thursday November 1 - No class

Hellenistic Mediterranean (c 300 BC – AD 50)

19. Tues. Nov. 6  Italy and the Greek Hellenistic world

Europe: Hellenistic Italy, Egypt 2nd-1st century BC. Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia, Praeneste; House of the Faun, Pompeii, Sarcophagus of Lars Pulena, statue of Aule Metele; Theatre of Pompey, Rome; Paris-Munich relief
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 150, 172-76, 183 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  147-8, 171-4, 181-3

20. Thurs. Nov. 8 Rome: world city and new style of government  
Themes/works         Europe: 1st-century BC/AD Rome. Veristic and Augustan portraiture; Tivoli general; Prima Porta Augustus; Ara Pacis Augustae
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 182, 185-7, 197-202 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  179, 183-5, 195-202

Patrons and viewers (100 BC – AD 200)

21. Fri. Nov. 9  The Roman house as social theatre  
Themes/works         Europe: Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia: atrium house, peristyle house, medianum house 1st century BC-2nd century AD. House of Neptune and Amphitrite (Herculaneum); House of the Menander, House Sallust, House of the Faun, House of Octavius Quartio, Villa of the Mysteries (Pompeii); House of the Yellow Walls (Ostia)
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 190, 192, 196, 213-4 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  188, 190, 194, 213-4 

22. Tues. Nov. 13 Roman painted interiors
Themes/works         Europe: Rome, Pompeii, Boscotrecase. Domestic painted programs. 1st century BC-1st century AD. Villa of Livia (Prima Porta, Rome); Farnesina villa (Rome); House of Sallust, House of the Faun, Villa of the Mysteries (Pompeii); Villa of Agrippa Postumus (Boscotrecase)
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 191-6 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  189-94 

Cosmopolitan Empire (AD 100-200)

23. Thurs. Nov. 15 A Globalized world       Research paper due
Themes/works        Roman Empire: cosmopolitan styles, international influences. 2nd century AD. Temple of Venus and Roma (Rome), Olympeion (Athens), mummy portraits (Fayum Egypt), portraiture of Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius
Gardner's (14th ed.): 210-2, 216, 218 / Gardner's (15th ed.): 179, 183-5, 195-202

24. Tues. Nov. 20 Boundaries of the Roman world

Themes/works         Roman Empire: depictions of non-Romans, depictions of warfare and victories, defining a Roman world. 1st-2nd century AD. Arch of Titus; Column of Trajan, Column of Marcus Aurelius (Rome); Statue of Hadrian (
Hierapytna, Crete)
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 205-9 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  203-9

Thursday November 22 - No class

Reconfigured images (AD 200-400)

25. Tues. Nov. 27 Traditional images – new meanings

Europe, Africa and the Near East: 3rd-century AD Rome, Leptis Magna and Dura-Europos. Arch of the Argentarii, Baths of Caracalla (Rome); Arch of Septimius Severus (Leptis Magna)
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 219-21, 234-36 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  218-20, 233-4

26. Thurs. Nov. 29 New images – remaining Roman

Europe: 4th-century AD Rome. A new style of emperor, Christian funerary imagery. Portrait of Constantine, Arch of Constantine, catacomb paintings
Gardner’s (14th ed.): 224-30, 237-48 / Gardner’s (15th ed.):  223-8, 234-44


27. Tues. Dec. 4    
Discussion of course themes 

28. Thurs. Dec. 6         Review

Discussion of course themes 

29/30. Dec. 10-14 Final exam

Date, time and place to be announced