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COURSE NAME: "Special Topics in Ancient Art: Archaeology of the Athenian Acropolis "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021

INSTRUCTOR: Sophy Downes
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 4:30 PM 5:45 PM
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the ancient world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.
Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the ancient world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.
Specialized courses offered periodically on specific aspects of the art of the ancient world. Courses are normally research-led topics on an area of current academic concern.
May be taken more than once for credit with different topics.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Athenian Acropolis. History, Mythology and Archaeology from the Neolithic Era to the PresentHurwit, J.M. Cambridge University Press978-0521428347  

Attendance and participation This will include discussion of class readings.10%.
Short research presentationThe paper is a 10-minute, research-based presentation to class on a chosen topic that relates to the class discussion. 15%
Mid-term ExamThese will consist of identification and discussion of images studied so far in the course. This will evaluate visual awareness and vocabulary, as well as familiarity with the material studied.20%
Research paper Students will answer one of a selection of research questions focusing either on general themes or a specific period of the Acropolis’ history.25%
Final examThis will have two parts: a) the identification and discussion of images, as for the mid-term and b) questions based on in-class discussions and readings, which will evaluate critical 30%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.



Students are expected to participate in all scheduled classes; absences will be noted and may affect the final grade. Please refer to the university catalogue.

Punctuality is necessary; late arrival will be noted and may affect the final grade.



Examination policy [Please include this statement]

A major exam (midterm or final) cannot be made up without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused.Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual 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.

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.




Each week will consist of a lecture introducing the historical and artistic background, and a discussion period, which will be based on the assigned readings. Additional readings are useful also for developing presentation and paper topics.


Week 1: The Acropolis now

Korres, M. 1994. ‘The History of the Acropolis Monuments,’ in Acropolis Restoration: the CCAM Interventions, ed. E. Economakis. London: 34-51. 

Mallouchou-Tufano, F., ed. 2003. Proceedings of the 5th International Meeting for the Restoration of the Acropolis Monuments, Athens, 4–6 October, 2002. Athens, Greece.

Regueiro, M., M. Stamatakis, & K. Laskaridis. 2014‘The geology of the Acropolis (Athens, Greece)’ in European Geologist 38, 45-52.

Valavanis, P. 2013. The Acropolis through its Museum. Athens.

Vieira, A., A. Gilbert (trans.), H. Papadimitriou (trans.). 2019. On the Rock: The Acropolis Interviews. Chicago.


Week 2: The fifth-century Acropolis: the surviving / restored buildings

Beard, Mary. 2003. The Parthenon. Rev. ed. Cambridge, MA.

Haselberger, L. 2005. Bending the Truth: Curvature and Other Refinements of the Parthenon.  The Parthenon: From Antiquity to the Present. J. Neils: 101-157.

Jameson, M. 1994. ‘The Ritual of the Athena Nike Parapet’ in R. Osborne and S. Hornblower (eds) Ritual, Finance, Politics. Athenian Democratic Accounts presented to David Lewis. Oxford: 307-324.

Stevens, G.P. 1936. ‘The Periklean Entrance Court of the Acropolis of Athens.’ Hesperia5: 443-520. J-stor

Vickers, M. (1985). ‘Persepolis, Vitruvius and the Erectheum Karyatids: The Iconography of Medism and Servitude.’ Revue Archéologique1: 3-28.J-stor


Week 3: The Bronze Age Acropolis: A Mycenaean Stronghold

Hurwit 1999:67-84

Iakovidis, S. 2006 [1962]. The Mycenaean Acropolis of AthensArchaeological Society at Athens Library no. 240. Athens. Translated from the 1962 Greek. 

Shear, I. M. 1999. ‘The western approach to the Athenian Acropolis’. Journal of Hellenic Studies119:86–127.


Week 4: The Geometric Period: The Acropolis in Iron-Age Attika

Hurwit 1999: 85-98

Glowacki, K. 1998. ‘The Acropolis of Athens before 566 B.C.’ In STEPHANOS: Papers in honor of Ridgway, Brunilde Sismondo. University Museum Monograph 100. Edited by K. Hartswick andM. Sturgeon, 79–88. Philadelphia.


Week 5: The Archaic Acropolis: A Pisistratid Mirage

Hurwit 1999:99-137

Paga, J. 2017. ‘Contested Space at the Entrance of the Athenian Acropolis’ Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians76 (2): 154–174.


 Week 6: Populating the Archaic Acropolis: dedications & free-standing sculpture

Keesling, C. 2003. Votive Statues of the Athenian Acropolis. Cambridge.

Stewart, A. 2008a. ‘The Persian and Carthaginian Invasions of 480 B.C.E. and the Beginning of the Classical Style: Part 1, The Stratigraphy, Chronology and Significance of the Acropolis Deposits.’ AJA 112.3: 377-412. J-stor.


Week 7: Review and Mid-term Exam


 Week 8: The Persian Wars and their Aftermath

Hurwit 1999: 138-153

Korres, M. 1995. From Pentelicon to the Parthenon : the ancient quarries and the story of a half-worked column capital of the first marble Parthenon. Athens, Melissa.


Week 9: The Fifth-Century ‘Periklean’ Acropolis Building Program

Hurwit 1999: 154-161, 188-216.

Kallet-Marx, L. 1989. ‘Did Tribute Fund the Parthenon?’ Classical Antiquity8: 252-266. 


Week 10: The Parthenon: controversies

Hurwit 1999:161-188, 222-234, 235-245

Connelly, J. ‘Parthenon and Parthenoi: A mythological interpretation for the Parthenon of frieze’, AJA100 (1996) 53-80.

Marconi, C. 2009. ‘The Parthenon Frieze: degrees of visibility.’ RES55/56 spring/autumn, 156-73.

Osborne, R. (1987). The Viewing and Obscuring of the Parthenon Frieze. JHS107: 98-105.

Root, M.C. 1985. ‘The Parthenon Frieze and the Apadana Reliefs at Persepolis’ AJA 89: 102-22.


Week 11: The Acropolis in context: slopes and surroundings 

  Hurwit 1999: 216-221

  Miller, M.C. 1997. Athens and Persia in the fifth century B.C : a study in cultural receptivity. Cambridge: 218-42. 

  Wickkiser, B. L. 2008. Asklepios, medicine, and the politics of healing in fifth-century Greece: Between craft and cult. Baltimore. Chapter 5 ‘Asklepios and the Topography of Athenian Cult’


Week 12: Continuity and appropriation: the Lykourgan works and the Hellenistic Period

Hurwit 1999: 246-260,  261-282 (passim)

  Stewart, A., 2005 Attalos, Athens, and the Acropolis. Cambridge.


Week 13: The Roman Claim

Hurwit 1999: 261-282 (passim)

  Whittaker, H. 2002. ‘Some Reflections on the Temple to the Goddess Roma and Augustus on the Acropolis at Athens.’ In Greek, Romans and Roman Greeks: Studies in Cultural Interaction, edited by E. Ostenfeld, 25-39. Aarhus.


Week 14: Epilogue and review

Hurwit 1999: 283-287, 291-302

  Kaldellis, A. 2009. The Christian Parthenon: Classicism and Pilgrimage in Byzantine Athens. Cambridge.

  Korres, M. 1996. ‘The Parthenon from Antiquity to the 19th century,’ in The Parthenon and its impact in modern times. P. Tournikiotis (ed.), 138– 161. Athens, Greece. 


Week 15: Final Exam