Seeing is Believing: Monumental Church Decoration in the Medieval Roman (Byzantine) Empire
ARTH-A626 with Professor Sarah Bassett
The legalization of Christianity and its establishment as the religion of the Roman state in the fourth century brought with it a sea change in the conception of sacred space and its decoration that set the stage for the emergence of later medieval traditions in the territories of the Orthodox Roman world. In this seminar we will begin by examining the traditions of monumental church building and decoration that emerged in the fourth and fifth centuries. We will then consider later developments in the period of Iconoclasm (8th century), before looking at later medieval developments from the ninth century through the fifteenth. We will not only examine the types of architecture and decoration, but also attitudes towards and ideas about imagery and its power to shape belief.