Course Information
SchoolHistory and Archaeology
Cycle / Level1st / Undergraduate
Teaching PeriodWinter/Spring
Course ID280007629

Programme of Study: PPS Tmīmatos Istorías kai Archaiologías 2015-2019

Registered students: 5
OrientationAttendance TypeSemesterYearECTS
KORMOSElective CoursesWinter/Spring-6
ARCΗAIOLOGIAS KAI ISTORIAS TĪS TECΗNĪSCompulsory Module CoursesWinter/Spring-6
ISTORIASCompulsory Course117

Class Information
Academic Year2019 – 2020
Class PeriodWinter
Class ID
Type of the Course
  • Scientific Area
Course Category
Specific Foundation / Core
Mode of Delivery
  • Face to face
Digital Course Content
The course is also offered to exchange programme students.
Language of Instruction
  • Greek (Instruction, Examination)
  • English (Examination)
General Prerequisites
Completion of ABY101 is considered essential.
General Competences
  • Generate new research ideas
  • Design and manage projects
  • Appreciate diversity and multiculturality
  • Respect natural environment
  • Demonstrate social, professional and ethical commitment and sensitivity to gender issues
  • Be critical and self-critical
  • Advance free, creative and causative thinking
Course Content (Syllabus)
The course aims to offer an introduction to Byzantium’s architectural production. It is organized in chronologically ordered lectures that present issues of urban development and the construction of ecclesiastic and secular buildings and complexes. The approach focuses on methodology concerning the historic interpretation of architectural creation and relevant problems in recent bibliography. Certain thematic units will be presented separately (Monastic Architecture, Buildings that change). Analyses will be ordered around buildings and complexes as points of departure for discussing about architecture and interpretation of the influence of social phenomena. The course will present textual evidence regarding the ways architectural creation was perceived by its audience. Moreover there will be two separate on-site visits to the Byzantine Monuments in Thessaloniki. Εβδομάδα 1η The origins of Byzantine architecture – Imperium and Christianity I The Roman tradition in architectural creation in the world of late antiquity. Imperial ideology and its expression in urban forms. Architectural patronage as political ideology. Later views and open questions in the study and dating of available material. Transformations in the architectural expression of Christian communities. Building activity of the Constantinian House. Inventing the Holy Places. The foundation of Constantinople and building activity in Rome. Εβδομάδα 2η The Fifth century – Imperium and Christianity II Constantinople as Capital. Mapping Christianity in New Rome. Similarities and differences in architectural creation between East and West. Transformations of public space. Creation of pilgrimage sites. Martyria. The “holy fever” of finding sacred relics and the buildings that housed them. Church building donations as imperial ideology and policy. Developments in sacred architecture and ecclesiastic controversies. The churches. Basilicas and circular buildings. Archaeological record and problems of explaining and interpreting findings. Εβδομάδα 3η Zenith – Saint Sophia – Justinian I The historic context of Justinian’s reign and its connection to architectural production of the period. The conditions for the formation of architectural creation at the start of the 6th c. Churches and dome construction. Basilicas, circular buildings, combinations and explaining choices between. Saint Sophia as a symbol. The building’s history and its phases before Justinian. (re)Construction of Saint-Sophia. Its place among world architectural heritage. The many faces of Saint Sophia. The building’s history and its role in Byzantine history. The aftermath of Saint Sophia in the shaping of Byzantine architecture. Its effect to other cultures. Εβδομάδα 4η Zenith – Saint Sophia – Justinian II Architectural creation beyond Saint-Sophia. Justinian’s role as patron of architecture. Propaganda and church building. Procopius’ De Aedificiis. Main trends of church architecture. Secular buildings and structures. Differences East-West. The development and establishment of domed typologies. Innovation and conservatism. Εβδομάδα 5η Age of transition = Transitional architecture? Architectural theories and evolutionary theory. Recent overviews on Byzantine architecture and problems of methodology. From late antiquity to the middle ages. Historical assessment of the period and its connection to the evaluation of architecture. Progress, decline, recovery and the lack of securely dated material. “Dark ages” and their architecture. The cross domed church. The transformation of cities. “From the city of late antiquity to the Byzantine castrum”. Assumptions and realities. Εβδομάδα 6η ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Classicism’ in the Macedonian era The historic context of the Macedonian “Renaissance” and the meaning of “classical” in the study of Byzantine culture. Forming building typologies and construction methods. Defining types and classification of buildings in the study of Byzantine architecture. The inscribed-cross –domed church type and its place in recent scholarship. Theories of its origin and dissemination. Variations and simplifications of the prototype. The relation between architecture and painting. The so-called Athonite type. Theories of its origin. The cross octagon. The church complex of Hosios Loukas. Theories of its origin. Assessing the period’s production. Εβδομάδα 7η Prime and Fall in the Comnenian era – Byzantium’s radiance The Comnenian era as a turning point in Byzantine civilization. Its effect in architectural creation. Transformation of institutions. The effect in the practice of founding ecclesiastic foundations as political action. Centre and periphery. Vanguard and provincialism. Validating the theory for the preeminence of the inscribed-cross-domed church type. Byzantium’s influence in the architectural production of neighboring countries. Western Europe, Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria. The influence of Byzantine architecture in the buildings of the Islamic world. Εβδομάδα 8η After the 4th Crusade – Trebizond, Nicaea, Arta Architectural creation in the various centers of the fragmented Byzantine dominion. Latin building activities and its influence in local practices. Hybridity as categorical classification in the study of historical architecture. The creation of new urban centres (capitals) in Byzantium’s periphery. Trebizond, Nicaea, Arta. Defining urban space and imperial identity. Echoes of Constantinople. Influences, regionalism, experimentations. New building typologies and new ways of spatial composition. Εβδομάδα 9η Final gleaming – Palaiologan Era – Constantinople and its environs Restoration of state, reconstruction of Constantinople and rehabilitation of older structures. Renovation as restitution of historic continuity. Churches, monasteries and houses. Investing in old buildings by creating new. Increased complexities and refinement. Historic buildings and new constructions. Architecture of the period in Constantinople’s hinterland. Εβδομάδα 10η Final gleaming – Palaiologan Era – Thessaloniki, Mystras Thessaloniki’s role during the Palaiologan era. The abundance of the monuments and the paucity of the sources. Palaiologan monuments of Thessaloniki. Typology, building techniques, morphology. Problems of identification and dating of the churches. The relation between churches in Thessaloniki with concurrent trends in the Capital. Mystras as the seat of a local government. The city’s function and its urban space. Church architecture in Mystras and connections with the capital. Houses and palaces. Εβδομάδα 11η “After” Byzantium Developments in church architecture after the fall of Constantinople in Greece and the Balkans. The conditions of postbyzantine church architecture in recent scholarship. Basic concepts of periodization and classification of the material. Regional “schools”, their validity and time span of their prime. Ecclesiastic architecture in the newly found Greek state. Return to Byzantium? Εβδομάδα 12η Monastic Architecture Monasteries as paramount structures of Byzantine society and agents of culture. Monastic complexes echoing Byzantine building tradition. Analyses of the elements comprising a monastic settlement and the basic facts of monastic life. Examples from every period and region of Byzantine dominion. Mount Athos. Athonite monasteries as a microcosm. Theories of spatial organization. Components of the building complexes. Primary and secondary spaces. In and out of the courtyard. Monasteries in western Europe. Εβδομάδα 13η Buildings that change – The long life of buildings in Byzantium Reexamining theories of typology and evolution in Byzantine ecclesiastic architecture. Reconsidering cases of churches that were reshaped and ways of examination. Facts and theoretical constructions. Problems of dating. Examining specific examples. (i.e. The Rotunda in Thessaloniki, Saint Demetrius, the church of the Virgin in Ephesus, The church in Amorio, The Nea Mone in Chios island, The Paregoretissa in Arta, The Hodegetria in Mystra).
Use of Information and Communication Technologies
The course will be offered organized into lectures incorporating visual presentation of drawings and photographs as well as textual excerpts. Two visits on-site will be made to the Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki.
Course Organization
Reading Assigment142.54.8
Student Assessment
Written Exams: 100% Exams will comprise of synthetic questions that will examine the comprehension of issues discussed during the course. Exams aim at testing the ability to analyze the built environment and its attributes in Byzantine civilization and not merely to recognize specific buildings.
Student Assessment methods
  • Written Exam with Short Answer Questions (Summative)
Course Bibliography (Eudoxus)
Χ. Μπούρας, Ιστορία της Αρχιτεκτονικής. Τόμος 2ος, Αθήνα 2001. Α. Τάντσης, Η αρχιτεκτονική σύνθεση στο Βυζάντιο – Εισαγωγή, Θεσσαλονίκη 2012.
Additional bibliography for study
R. Krautheimer, Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture, New Haven 19864 (Αναθεωρημένη έκδοση από τους R. Krautheimer και S. Ćurčić) C. Mango, Byzantine Architecture, New York 1976 T. F. Mathews, The Early churches of Constantinople. Architecture and Liturgy, University Park 1971 T. F. Mathews, The Byzantine Churches of Istanbul: A Photographic Survey, University Park 1976 W. Müller – Wiener, Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls, Tübingen 1977 R. Ousterhout, Master Builders of Byzantium, Princeton 1999 Γ. Βελένης, Μεσοβυζαντινή Ναοδομία στη Θεσσαλονίκη, Αθήνα 2003 Ν. Γκιολές, Βυζαντινή Ναοδομία (600-1204), Αθήνα 1987 Χ. Μπούρας, Βυζαντινή και Μεταβυζαντινή αρχιτεκτονική στην Ελλάδα, Αθήνα 2001
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