Byzantine Centres of Splendour

Course details

From £205.00
10 CATS points

14 Jan 2019 - 18 Mar 2019
Day of week

Byzantine Centres of Splendour


Examine the cultural and artistic life in some of the major Byzantine centres: Constantinople, Thessalonica, Meteora, Mt Athos, Ravenna, Sicily, Mt Sinai and Mystras.

Apart from Constantinople, the political and cultural capital of the Byzantine empire for over a thousand years, there were other wealthy cities and towns as well as monastic communities in the empire which produced exquisite cultural and artistic products.

Using contemporary texts and visual aids, the course will trace the development of Constantinople and certain other Byzantine centres and examine the cultural, artistic and everyday life in those centres from the 4th to the 15th century.

Programme details

Term Starts: 14th January     

Week 1: Introduction to the topic - course requirements

Week 2: Constantinople

Week 3: Constantinople

Week 4: Constantinople

Week 5: Constantinople and Mystras

Week 6: Thessalonica and mainland Greece

Week 7: Meteora

Week 8: Mt Athos

Week 9: Holy Land and Mt Sinai

Week 10: Itally (Ravenna, Venice, Sicily)

Background Reading:

Jonathan HARRIS., Constantinople. Capital of Byzantium, Continuum 2011

G. SPEAKE., Mount Athos, Renewal in Paradise, Yale University Press 2002

T. E. MATHEWS.,  The Art of Byzantium: Between Antiquity and the Renaissance, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998

Judith HERRIN., Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, 2007      

D. NICOL., The Rock Monasteries of Thessaly, London 1963        

A. CILENTO., Byzantine Mosaics in Norman Sicily - Palermo, Monreale and Cefalú, Magnus 2009

If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.

If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September and we will try to ensure that as many titles as possible are available in the Library by the start of each term. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Course Fee: £205.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Aphrodite Papayianni

Aphrodite Papayianni teaches at the University of London. She has a particular interest in the Byzantine-Western relations and has published articles in various topics of Byzantine History.

Course aims

To provide a comprehensive introduction to the cultural and artistic life in certain Byzantine centres from the 4th to the 15th century.

Course Objectives:

* To provide and overview of events and developments in certain major Byzantine political and cultural centres.

* To encourage an enquiring and analytical approach to various aspects of Byzantine cultural history.

* To enable students to develop a critical understanding of methods, debates and materials appropriate to the study of Byzantine history.

Teaching methods

The course is taught by a combination of lectures, seminars and group discussions

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

• Be able to evaluate aspects of the cultural life of the Byzantine empire and identify some of the main characteristics of the Byzantine art;

• Gain knowledge and understanding of the themes and issues concerning certain aspects of the cultural and artistic life in Byzantium;

• Be able to identify, interpret and evaluate a range of primary source materials.

Assessment methods

Assessment of learning will take place through the evaluationand marking of written assignments (essay or book review).

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)