Texts and Objects. Inscription and Description in Byzantine Literature

Course Description: 

In Byzantium, texts interacted in numerous ways with buildings and objects. Together, they formed a multimedial message with ideological, theological, or political purposes. This course investigates this relationship between text and object. Epigrams (on icons, frescoes, graves, walls, books, etc.) are a primary focus, whether “really” inscribed or not. Ekphrasis (of churches, cities, statues, etc.) is another genre of which the literary background will be explored. Eventually, this course will create awareness about the interactions between text, architecture and image, and will bring us to insights about religious experiences, political ideologies and patronage in Byzantium. The course will be based on specific case studies taken from various time periods.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • have a perspective on literary history of Byzantium

  • have insights in the ways texts interacted with images and architecture in Byzantium

  • have knowledge about the literary features of the genres of epigram and ekphrasis

  • have insights in the workings and ideas of patronage in Byzantium

Assessment: 
  • paper and presentation about specific case studies (80%)

  • participation in class discussions (20%)