What is the course about?
The focus of this study day will be on Sicily whose story goes back to ancient times. Because of its strategic position at the very centre of the Mediterranean, it has been inhabited by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans. They have left indelible marks not only on the artistic heritage but also on culture, language and food.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
On Saturday, we will examine the surviving examples of Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Byzantine art in Sicily. We will analyse some remarkable Greek and Roman statues of gods and goddesses and marble reliefs together with Byzantine golden jewellery and mosaics. We will proceed by analysing the Arab conquest of the island. Our main focus will be on the city of Palermo, one of the great metropolitan centres of the Mediterranean. On Sunday, we will investigate the arrival of the Normans and especially the charismatic figure of Roger II de Hauteville, who made the island a monarchy in 1130. Up to the end of the 12th century, Sicily and Palermo experienced a period of peaceful coexistence between religions while the arts were greatly promoted. In this last part of the course, we will analyse the major artworks produced in Norman Sicily, and we will discuss the important links between Normans and Arabs.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- discuss the arts and artefacts produced in Sicily;
- locate artwork and artefacts in their historical, political, religious, cultural context;
- establish skills of critical and visual analysis.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Teaching is intended to be interactive. PowerPoint presentations with a wide range of slides will accompany the prepared talks. Questioning is welcomed throughout. Handouts with a selected bibliography and other helpful information for further self-study will be provided on Google Classroom.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other cost. Please, bring writing material and your eagerness to learn a lot about Sicily and its amazing history.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Any other ancient civilisation classes. See website for details.