Photo overlooking the totem pole in the Pitt Rivers Museum


During the Final Honour School, students delve more deeply into the subject areas which have been introduced to them in the first year. They will also decide on which three options they would like to take from the following list of 30 subjects. One option is studied in the second year, two are studied in the third year.

Byzantium: the Transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages AD 500-1100

This course will examine through the evidence available from field archaeology, art history and relevant contemporary documents in translation, the transformation of Byzantium (the Christianised Eastern Roman Empire ruled from Constantinople) from an antique to a medieval society, in contrast to both western Europe and the Islamic world which were formed at least in part as a result of a break with Graeco-Roman traditions. Byzantium offers a case study of part of the ancient world which evolved into something new while remaining a Graeco-Roman and multi-ethnic state. The period covered extends from Byzantium's greatest territorial expansion (extending from Spain to Mesopotamia, and from Ravenna to Carthage) under Justinian (AD 527-65), through its eventual contraction during the 'Dark Age' (7th-8th centuries), to its subsequent economic revival (from the 9th century) and political expansion (10th-11th centuries). Bearing in mind the impact on society of the specifically Christian developments of pilgrimage and monasticism, the study of transition will focus on three areas - settlement, production and trade. Comparative settlement study, on the periphery of Byzantium or in its cultural orbit, will focus on a selection of sites which were changed or founded between the 6th and 11th century: Ravenna, Venice, Cherson in the Crimea, and the ancient capitals of the Bulgarians and Russians, namely Preslav and Kiev.

Last update on 09/12/16 by Robyn Mason.

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