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Greek Art: An Artistic and Cultural Journey from Prehistory to the Byzantine Age

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What can the study of art tell us about the society and culture in which it was produced, and how this changed and developed over time?

From sculpture and architecture to painted pottery and wall painting, this course will explore the art and culture of Greece from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine period (2000 BCE – 1500 AD).

We will consider artistic developments and set them in their social, political and historical context, taking you on a tour of Greek sites including Knossos, Mycenae, Athens, Olympia, Delphi, Verghina, Nikopolis, and the monuments in the Byzantine cities of Thessaloniki and Constantinople.

Taking the art of the Greek world as our central focus, we will consider the development of art in relation to themes such as gender and sexuality, burial and society, religion and iconography, and landscape and the countryside.

Learning and teaching

The module will be taught through ten two-hour sessions online, incorporating lectures, seminars and workshops.

These sessions will consist of a one-hour lecture followed by class discussion and group work on specific topics relating to the module.

The discussion and group work will enable students to think critically and to contribute to the debates and topics presented during the lectures.

The discussion-led sessions and the lectures will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.


  1. Introduction: The Artistic and Cultural Landscape of Greece
  2. Bronze Age Art and Archaeology (3500-1100 BCE): Crete and the Mainland
  3. From the Age of Iron (1100-700 BCE) to the “Age of Experiment” (700-480 BCE)
  4. The Classical Period (479-323 BCE): History and Culture
  5. Classical Architecture and Sculpture
  6. Archaic and Classical Painting and Pottery
  7. The Art of the Hellenistic Period (323 BCE-146 BCE)
  8. The Roman Conquest (146 BCE-330 AD): What have the Romans left behind?
  9. Late Antiquity and Byzantium (330 AD – 1453 AD)
  10. The Built Environment in the Byzantine Period: House, Church and the Individual

Coursework and assessment

You will be expected to complete two pieces of assessed work:

  • a short critical review
  • a 1000-word essay.

There will be lots of help and support available for both assignments.

Reading suggestions

  • Cormack, R. 2018. Byzantine Art. 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Osborne, R. 1998. Archaic and Classical Greek Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Smith, T.J. and D. Plantzos. 2012. A Companion to Greek Art. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
  • Stewart, P. 2004. Roman Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press for the Classical Association

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.