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CLASSICS 4BB3 Seminar In Ancient 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:

The discipline of Classical Archaeology examines extant remains and endeavors to understand development and authorship of styles in art and architecture.  The result is that we can date and attribute artifacts from Greek antiquity to a hand or workshop and locate it in its proper cultural and temporal construct. All of this, however, is done as outsiders reconstructing events based on artifacts. This course is an attempt to change that view and analyze the creation of Greek art and architecture from the culture that produced it. As a group, we will examine the cultural, political, social, and economic circumstances that led to the development of art and monuments. 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Assigned reading will be provided on course website on Avenue to Learn (AVE)

Method of Assessment:

Class participation                                             9%

Group discussions                                           15%                                        

Annotated bibliography                                      6%                                         18 October 2016

Oral presentation                                             20%                                         Per Class Schedule

Writing Assignment                                          30%                                         Due 6 December 2016          

Final exam                                                        20%                                         Per University Schedule


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 (when applicable), and style of presentation (including grammar, punctuation and spelling). Late papers will be penalized one third of a letter grade per calendar day late (e.g. a B- paper, one day late becomes a C+). No make-up exams will be given unless absence was necessitated by a documented emergency.

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:

6 September (week 1) –         

The Creators: Artists and Agency in Archaic and Classical Greece

Reading: D. Steiner, “Greek and Roman Theories of Art.”

Discussion Questions: What do ancient Greek theories of Art indicate about artists? What are the objectives of art and architecture in the Greek world?

13 September (week 2) –       

Tools of the Trade: Materials and Medium, Innovation and Inspiration       

Reading: O. Palagia, “Marble Carving Techniques,” O. Palagia, “Who Invented the Claw Chisel?,” J. Paga, “The Claw Tooth Chisel and the Hekatompedon Problem. Issues of Tool and Technique in Archaic Athens.”

Discussion Questions: How precisely can Greek sculpture and architecture be dated on the basis of technique? Where was the Hekatompedon located, and to when do(es) the Dorpfeld Foundation(s) date(s)?

20 September (week 3) –       

Keepin’ it 100. The Hekatompedon and meaningful metrology in Greek Architecture.      

Reading: S. Pope, “Urbanism in Inland Sicily: Acculturation on the Periphery of the Greek World” B. Robinson, “Urban Planning and Infrastructure.” M. Wilson Jones, “Doric Measure and Architectural Design 1: The Evidence of the Relief from Salamis.”

Discussion Questions: What role did Hippodamos play in the development of the Greek Urbanism? How valid is the concept of the 100-foot temple? How early does the Hekatompedon appear? What, exactly, was 100 feet on the Athenian Acropolis?

27 September (week 4) –       

From Spoils? Why and When to Build.

Reading: J. Papadopoulos and S. Martin-Mcauliffe, “Framing Victory: Salamis, the Athenian Acropolis and the Agora,” O. Palagia, “Not from the Spoils of Marathon: Pheidias’ Bronze Athena on the Acropolis.”

Discussion Questions: how closely are monumental construction tied to spoils of war? When and where are spoils used as funding for monuments?

4 October (week 5) –             

How much does your temple cost, Perikles? Commissioners and Financing in the Greek world

 Reading: S. Pope, “Financing and Design,” R. Sassu, “Sanctuaries and Economics: The Case of the Athenian Acropolis.” R. Pitts, “Inscribing Construction: The Financing and Administration of Public Buildings in Greek Sanctuaries.”

Discussion Questions: How and why were major monuments conceived and executed? Where do public objectives intersect with the creative process?

18 October (week 6) –           

Bibliographies Due!

You see with your eyes, not with your hands: Temples as Treasuries, Temples as Museums

Reading: M. Miles, Interiors of Temples,” J. Shaya, “Greek Temple Treasures and the Invention of Collecting.”

Discussion Questions: How rigorously did the Greeks differentiate between religious and civic functions of temples?

25 October (week 7) –           

Pheidias Made This: Assertive Innovation and Public Commissions

Reading: E. Harrison, “Pheidias,” O. Palagia, “Pheidias Epoiesen: Attribution as Value Judgment.”

Discussion Question: How did Pheidias get the commission for the Parthenos sculpture? How influential was Pheidias on the sculptural program of the Parthenon?

1 November (week 8) –         

“…as (s)he is the best patron”: Patronage and Artists  

Reading: E. Varner, “The Patronage of Greek and Roman Art,” The Patronage of Greek and Roman Architecture.”

Discussion Questions: What were the dynamics of the production of Greek art and architecture? Where were artistic decisions made and how did relationships between artist and patron develop?

8 November (week 9) –         

Are we sure we’re right? Authorship, Artist and Attribution Studies

Reading: R. Vollkommer, “Greek and Roman Artists,” A. Borbein, “Connoisseurship,”

Discussion Questions: How assertive was the artist’s hand in Greek antiquity?                                            

15 November (week 10) –      Student presentations

22 November (week 11) –      Student presentations                                    

29 November (week 12) –      Student presentations

6 December (week 13) –         Papers Due! Final thoughts

Other Course Information:

A paper based on your seminar presentation (c. 3000 words) must be handed in before the end of the semester. This paper should present the results of your original research into the agency of Greek artists and as such should reflect your intellectual curiosity; it should be organized and well-polished with footnotes and bibliography.