Faculty of Arts


Art and Society in Ancient Greece


The visual culture of ancient Greece has had a continuing and profound influence over the artistic development and visual expression of Western culture, which makes its study an important basis for understanding our own cumulative visual imagery. Furthermore, the Greeks (like us) were a keenly visual society, in which societal ideas and norms were affirmed through artistic means: sculpture, painting, mosaic and architecture. The artistic record of ancient Greece provides us with a rich and plentiful source of cultural information that complements the textual documentation that is often incomplete, especially for the earlier periods when literacy was not widespread.

In this course, you will study selected examples of every art form, some characteristic of a type, others unique. A broadly chronological sequence will be followed, but special emphases will be placed on artefacts and production techniques of particular interest or significance. You will develop a critical awareness of visual culture, and a methodology for identifying what is important in an example, why it is important and what can be learned from analysing it.

The course objectives are:

  • to advance students’ awareness of the need for holistic study of a culture, so as to obtain an understanding that is both balanced and comprehensive
  • To advance students’ critical awareness of subtle distinctions, even when there seem to be parallels in the manifestations of our own society
  • To help students to develop a methodology for critical analysis of ancient artefacts and works of art
  • To advance students’ ability to select and make best use of scholarly publications about ancient art and artefacts

In line with the Bachelor of Arts Graduate Profile, to a differentiated extent in either the second-year or third-year enrolment-level, expected learning outcomes of this course include advancing the ability:

  • To exhibit knowledge and understanding of essential aspects of ancient culture with supporting reference to appropriate examples
  • To evaluate and draw upon relevant scholarly opinions and theories
  • To understand that some information sources are inappropriate for academic study, and to exclude them
  • To evaluate information and ideas from multiple sources and, while taking account of diverse perspectives, to develop a rigorous analytical methodology
  • To produce well-structured arguments that are based on appropriate selection of evidence and appropriate consultation of a range of scholarship leading to well-articulated conclusions

Availability 2020

Not taught in 2020




Coursework + exam


CLASSICS 370: 15.0 points


15 points at Stage II in Classical Studies or Ancient History, or 30 points at Stage II in Greek or Art History



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