Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

CLASSICS 3H03 Archaic Greek Art

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Spencer Pope


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 704

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23378

Office Hours: Monday 1:30-3:00

Course Objectives:

The archaic period (c. 600-480 BC) is a time of experimentation and development in Greek culture and in Greek art. This course will examine the art and architecture produced in this period and consider it within the broader context of Mediterranean societies. We will look at the cultures that influenced and came into contact with the Greeks and consider forms of rule and political formations among Greece’s neighbours. The course will examine architectural traditions, burial practices, and iconographical conventions that transcend cultural groups in the ancient Mediterranean region. Case studies include the origin and development of coinage, the advent of the Greek architectural orders, and red figure vase painting.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • Osborne, Robin, Archaic and Classical Greek Art, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998
  • A selection of images, course readings, and supplementary material is provided on Avenue to Learn (AVE). The resources on AVE will be updated regularly so please consult the site often during the semester.

Method of Assessment:

Mid Term Exam 20% 8 February 2018 (Week 5)

Essay 20% 13 March 2018 (Week 9)

Writing Assignment 25% Due 5 April 2018 (at the start of class)

Class Participation 10%

Final Exam 25% as scheduled by the university

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

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 ? 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

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 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 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: Setting the Stage: Introduction and Syllabus


8 January: Introduction. Reading: Osborne, pp. 9-21.

9 January: Expansion of the Greek world. Reading: Torelli, “The Battle for Sea Routes.” (AVE)

11 January: A Home away from Home. Reading: Coldstream, “Italy and Sicily: Trade and Colonies.” (AVE)


Week 2: Sowing the Seeds: The 8th Century BC

15 January: Development of the Greek Apoikiai. Reading: Antonaccio, “Colonization: Greece on the Move 900-480 BC.” (AVE)

16 January: Forming Communities I. Reading: Osborne, pp. 23-41.

18 January: Forming Communities II. Reading: Coldstream, “Athens and Attica.” (AVE)


Week 3: The Near Eastern World and Greek Contact

22 January: Persia and the Greeks: Architecture. Reading: Boardman, “Architecture.” (AVE)

23 January: Persia and the Greeks: Sculpture. Reading: Osborne, pp. 43-51.

25 January: Influence and Style. Reading: Gunter, “Defining and Interpreting Styles.” (AVE)


Week 4: Influence from the East: Case Study on the Origin and Development of Coinage

29 January: The Ancient Economy and the Advent of Coinage. Reading: Kim, “Archaic Coinage as Evidence for the Use of Money.” (AVE)

30 January: The first coins.

1 February: Coins and the Greek polis. Reading: Martin, “Why did the Greek ‘polis’ originally need coinage?” (AVE)


Week 5: Politics and Presentation: Coins and the State

5 February: Coinage and the Greek Artist.

6 February: Who pays for this?: Finance and Greek Art. Reading: Osborne, pp. 117-131.

8 February: MIDTERM


Week 6: Building the City: Archaic Architecture and The Rise of the Architectural Orders

12 February: Proto Geometric through 7th Century BC. Reading: Barletta, “The Emergence of the Doric ‘Order.’” (AVE)

13 February: The Doric Order.

15 February: The Ionic Order. Reading: Barletta, “The Emergence of the Ionic ‘Order.’” (AVE)

19-23 February: NO CLASS, WINTER BREAK


Week 7: Ancient Urbanism: Building the Greek City

26 February: The Ancient City. Reading: Zuiderhoek, “Origins, Development and the Spread of Cities in the Ancient World.” (AVE)

27 February: Case Study: Public Places in the Archaic City

1 March: Case Study: Public Space in the Greek city. Reading: “Urban landscape and Environment.” (AVE)


Week 8: Architecture of Power: Power of Architecture

5 March: Monumentality and Foreign influences. Reading: “Monumentality and Foreign Influences in Early Greek Temples.” (AVE)

6 March: Form and Power

8 March: Architect, Engineer, and Design: Making it Monumental


Week 9: Going out in Style: Burial and Memory

12 March: Archaic Funerary Practices.

13 March: Essay Due! Burial and Memory.

15 March: Sharing with the Gods: Sculpture from Daedalic to Agalma. Reading: Ridgway, “The Problems of the Origins; The Daedalic Phase. (CCW)


Week 10: Western Greece: Architecture, Territory, Style

19 March: Sculpture in the West. Reading: Rizza, “Siceliot Sculpture in the Archaic Period.” (AVE)

20 March: Architectural Sculpture as Functional Art

22 March: The Built Environment at the Frontier of the Polis. Reading: Holloway, “Early Greek Architectural Decoration as Functional Art.” (AVE)

Week 11: As No One Else Could: Greek vase painting and Iconography

26 March: Transforming words. Reading: Osborne, pp. 53-67.

27 March: Iconography I. Reading: Woodford, “Making Myths Recognisable.” (AVE)

29 March: Iconography II. Reading: Boardman, “Pictures and People.” (AVE)


Week 12: The Red and The Black: Late Archaic Vase Painting:

2 April: Greek Society and Greek Pottery. Reading: Osborne, pp. 133-155.

3 April: Greek Vases in Use.

5 April: PAPER DUE. The Vase, The Artist, and Greek Culture. Reading: Osborne, pp. 87-115.


Week 13: Final Thoughts

9 April: The Road to the Classical Period. Reading: Osborne, pp. 157-187.