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CLASSICS 2B03 Greek Art

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Spencer Pope

Email: spope@mcmaster.ca

Office: Togo Salmon Hall 704

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23378


Office Hours: Wednesday and Friday 13:30-14:20

Course Objectives:

This course provides an overview of Greek Art and Archaeology from the Bronze Age through to the Roman Period; it is designed to provide familiarity with the material culture and specific cultural contexts of Ancient Greece. The class will focus primarily on the Archaic and Classical periods (ca. 700-323 BC), a time that corresponds with the rise and floruit of the Greek polis, and the age that witnessed the most rapid and notable developments in architecture, sculpture, coinage, and pottery. The goals of the course are 1) to introduce students to the major monuments of Greek antiquity and consider the context in which they were created, 2) to introduce main scholarly issues and current methodology in Greek Art and Archaeology, and 3) encourage the application of new approaches to this material.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Richard Neer, Greek Art and Archaeology, c. 2500-c. 150 BC, New York, Thames and Hudson, 2011.

Method of Assessment:

Exam 1                                    18%                                         7 October 2016 (week 5)

Exam 2                                    22%                                         16 November 2016 (week 10)

Writing Assignment                 24%                                         Due 29 Nov. 2016 (at the beginning of class)

Cumulative Final Exam           36%                                         as scheduled by the university


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Exams and assignments will receive a letter grade based on the grading system outlined in the Undergraduate Calendar. Grading criteria for the assignments will include factual accuracy, clarity of organization, logic of arguments, appropriate use of examples, extent of research, and style of presentation (including grammar, punctuation and spelling). Late papers will be penalized â…“ of the letter grade per calendar day late (e.g. a B+ paper, one day late becomes a B). Late penalties will not be waived unless your Faculty/Program Office advises the instructor that you have submitted to that office the appropriate documentation to support your inability to submit the work by the due date. No make-up exams will be given unless the absence was necessitated by a documented emergency; emergencies and/or absences must be processed through the student’s faculty office. 

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Week 1: Introduction and the Bronze Age

6 September: What is archaeology? What is art? Why are Greek Archaeology and Art important?  The Development of Classical Archaeology. Reading: Neer, browse through the entire book, noting the chronological overview (pp. 16-17), maps and the glossary p. 382.

7 September: The Third Millennium BC. Reading: Neer, pp. 9-24.

9 September: Middle Bronze Age: Crete, Cyclades and Thera. Reading: Neer, pp. 25-41.

Focus Questions: How did the field of Classical Archaeology develop? How does the Classical tradition in art and architecture affect us today? What is the resonance of Classical motifs and styles?

Week 2: The Middle and Late Bronze Ages; the “Dark Ages”       

13 September: Late Bronze Age: Mainland Greece. Reading: Neer, pp. 42-65.

14 September: LBA and the end of the BA: Mainland Greece. Reading: Neer, pp. 66-77.

16 September: The “Dark Ages.” Reading: Drews, “The Catastrophe and its Chronology” (AVE).

Focus Questions: How does Mycenaean culture differ from Minoan culture? What are the possible causes of the collapse of Mycenaean civilization?

Week 3: The Geometric Period and Settlements Overseas

20 September: Geometric Sculpture and Pottery. Reading: Neer, pp. 77-91.

21 September: Expansion of the Greek world and settlements overseas. Reading: Neer, pp. 92-103.

23 September: Western Greece. Reading: Boardman, The Greeks Overseas (AVE).

Focus Questions: What are the key archaeological indicators of the rebirth of Greek civilization? What are the determining factors in the establishment of Greek settlements overseas?        

Week 4: The Orientalizing Period and Archaic Experimentation

27 September: Orientalizing Pottery. Reading: Neer, pp. 104-108.

28 September: The Daedalic Style in Greek Sculpture. Reading: Neer, pp. 108-117.

30 September: The Development of Monumental Architecture. Reading: Neer, pp. 118-124.

Focus Questions: How did neighboring cultures influence the development of Greek Art and


Week 5: Architecture and Coinage of the Archaic Period                     

4 October: The Origins of the Greek Architectural Orders. Reading: Neer, pp. 124-134.

5 October: Greek coinage and the archaic economy. Reading: Neer, pp. 134-137.

7 October: EXAM 1                                             

Mid-Term Recess: 10-14 October: Happy Thanksgiving

Week 6: The Early Archaic Period: Cultural Cohesion

18 October: Archaic Vase Painting. Reading: Neer pp. 138-147.

19 October: Archaic Sculptural Traditions. Reading: Neer, pp. 148-171.

21 October: Case Studies: Olympia and Delphi. Reading: Neer, pp.172-193.

Focus Questions: What are the objectives of Archaic Art? How closely are the visual arts related to literature, religion and other aspects of Greek culture?

Week 7: The Late Archaic Period: Rapid Developments

25 October: Freestanding Sculpture. Reading: Neer, pp. 194-203.

26 October: Late Archaic Pottery and Politics. Reading: Neer, pp. 204-217.

28 October: The Early Classical Period. Reading: Neer, pp. 218-233.

Focus Questions: How does Greek sculpture develop across the Archaic period and into the Classical? What are the technical differences between Red Figure and Black Figure Style vase painting?

Week 8: The Transitional Period and the Severe Style Period

1 November: Early Classical Period Sculpture. Reading: Neer, pp. 233-241.

2 November: Urban Planning, Metrics, and Masters. Reading: Haselberger, "The Construction Plans for the Temple of Apollo at Didyma" (AVE).

4 November: Case Studies: The Cities of Western Greece. Reading: Neer, pp. 244-265.

Focus Questions: How did the objectives of Greek Art change during the High Classical period?

Week 9: The High Classical Period

8 November: The Athenian Acropolis 1. Reading: Neer, pp. 268-291, Hurwit, Acropolis I (AVE).

9 November: The Athenian Acropolis 2. Reading: Hurwit, Acropolis II (AVE).

11 November: The Athenian Agora. Reading: Camp, The Athenian Agora (AVE).

Focus Questions: What are the political messages of Periklean Athens?

Week 10: Athens in the Classical Period

15 November: High Classical Period. Reading: Neer, pp. 292-308.

16 November: EXAM 2

18 November: Greek Funerary Traditions of the Classical Period. Optional Reading: Shapiro, “The Iconography of Mourning in Athenian Art,” American Journal of Archaeology 95, 1991, pp. 629-656. (Find it on Jstor at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/505896)

Focus Questions: How did funerary traditions develop across the Archaic and Classical periods? How did they differ in the Geometric, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Periods? How are social and economic status recorded in funerary traditions in each respective period?

Week 11: The Late Classical Period

22 November: The Late Classical Period. Reading: Neer, pp. 308-317.

23 November: Late Classical Sculpture. Reading: Neer, pp. 318-330.

25 November: The Greek Theater. Reading: Connolly, The Ancient City (AVE)

Focus Questions: What are the contributions of each of the 4th century BC master sculptors?

Week 12: The Hellenistic period

29 November: PAPER DUE! The Macedonians. Reading: Neer, pp. 331-347. 

30 November: Hellenistic Sculpture. Reading: Neer, pp. 348-360.

2 December: Mosaics, wall painting and pottery. Reading: Neer, pp. 360-379.

Focus Questions: How did Greek Art and Architecture transform to fit the needs of Hellenistic Society?

Week 13: Conclusions, Continuity and the Classical Tradition         

6 December: Reading: Greek Art in the Roman World. Reading: Neer, pp. 379-381.

7 December: Conclusions, Review, Greek Revival Architecture, Neoclassicism.





Other Course Information:

Students must write one short paper (ca. 4-5 pages, double spaced) for this course. The topic of the paper will be selected from a list of choices provided by the instructor, or you may select your own topic, with instructor approval. You will be asked to investigate one aspect of Greek Art/Archaeology and present a coherent, organized, and polished academic paper that demonstrates your independent research into the subject matter. All essays must be properly referenced, with footnotes and a bibliography. Use the Turabian (Chicago) style for referencing; please see the GUIDELINE TO CITATIONS on Avenue for more information on proper formatting.