AH10130 The Art of the Ancient and Medieval World

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module acts as an introduction to the Art of the Ancient and Medieval World (Fifth century BC to the first millenium AD and beyond). This period reflects extraordinary cultural achievements of European art with particular focus on the Classical world of ancient Greece and Rome. The word ‘classical’ refers to the ideals of harmony, beauty and proportion that were developed in ancient Greece and Rome and that have continued to influence and inform the history of art throughout the ages. As the Roman empire in Rome, Caput Mundi declined in the fourth Century AD, the achievements of the classical period were continued in the east in the foundation of the new Rome, Constantinople. The impact of the art of Byzantium and the rise of Islam is measured in terms of the arts and the emergence of new building and artistic styles and influences in the west are considered. The continuity of classical influences had a marked impact on the medieval period. This module seek to place individual works of art in their wider historical and cultural context. No prior experience of art history is required and this module would work particularly well with any of the other three first-year art history modules.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

This course is designed to introduce students to the outstanding record of classical art and architecture and to an understanding of the principles, the techniques and the process of cultural diversity and assimilation that characterised by the period from the antique to the medieval period.
At the end of this module students should be able to identify key moments in the development of classical art and demonstrate and ability to identify of how classical influences can be traced to later periods in the early middle ages with history of art. Students should have a familiarity and understanding of range of set texts and critical/theoretical sources relevant to the course and be able to work under exam conditions.

Indicative Module Content:

The course begins with an the classical period during the 5th century BC in Athens. Students will be required to become familiar with the orders of Greek architecture, public architecture and town planning, the cultural imagery and mythology of Greek vase painting, and the development of the human form in Greek sculpture with particular focus on monumental sculpture. The rise of Rome is next considered in the context of Etruscan influences. There follows a detailed examination of the art and architecture of Republican and Imperial Rome. This includes a study of how Roman art and spectacle reflected the patronage and power of the lives and personalities of the emperors who reigned from the time of Augustus to the fall of Rome. The late Antique and Byzantine world is examined as power shifted to the East. The rise of Islam is considered in terms of impact in art and architecture. The course concludes with a review of how classical influences can be traced to later periods in the early Middle ages as Europe emerges from the dark ages with different architectural phases of Carolingian and Ottonian art and architecture with the Romanesque church a particular focus in the history of art and how medieval treasures were first collected and displayed in early modern Europe. The course leaves off with a overview of Gothic as as an interface with formation of Renaissance art.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Small Group




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This course will be lecture led and supported with tutorial study groups which are designed to give students the opportunity to visit the UCD Classical Museum, the UCD Magnetic Observatory, and as COVID 19 restrictions allow, visits to the National Museum of Ireland and Trinity College to view collections and to utilise original learning supports available online. Students are encouraged to visit the library. An essential to student development are the module assessments in the form of a mid term slide test, a written essay and a participation exercise in tutorial classes at the end of term. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
AH10070 - Dublin: Its Museums, AH10250 - Antiquity to Renaissance, AH20070 - Antiquity

Irish Medieval Art & Architect (AH30070)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Class Test: Mid Term Slide Test Week 9 n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: This is a course participation grade designed to reflect your participation in tutorials, and your engagement with class materials on Brightspace, and if necessary online. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Essay: End of Term Essay Week 12 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Mid term slide test Students have the opportunity to discuss written feedback on their essay. Tutorial classes with 10 % participation/attendance grade

A provisional reading list is available on request from the module coordinator, Lynda Mulvin, please email lmulvin@ucd.ie
Name Role
Ms Carla Briggs Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Philip Cottrell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Lynda Mulvin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Prolet Decheva Tutor