Blog Week 8: Alexander’s Image


Above are several different known portraits of Alexander the Great.  Pay attention to the dates – some of these portraits reflect/copy (we think) portraits made of Alexander during his lifetime; others are made after his death.  I’ve also stuck a couple of images of deities in there for comparison.  Having read the ancient sources and some of the discussions about Alexander’s appearance and character, consider the following questions:  What elements go into portraits of Alexander, and how is this reflected in the images you see above? What are some of the similarities/differences/inconsistencies between these various portraits? Why do these portraits look the way they do? Do they have any bearing on reality? Can we know what Alexander “really looked like”? Is this even a relevant question to ask?



Blog Week 6: The Parthenon Frieze


More scholarly ink has been spilt over the long band of relief sculpture running around the upper
part of the outside face of the Parthenon than perhaps any other work of art from Greco-Roman antiquity, and scholars continue to disagree as to the correct “interpretation.”  I’ve given you three of many points of view (and these authors describe some of the other scholarship).  What meaning do you think lies behind the Parthenon frieze?  What do you think about Margaret Root’s thesis? Is it plausible?

Alexander Mosaic

Here are images of the Alexander Mosaic, currently in the Naples Archaeological Museum, for your first paper assignment (download an explanation of the assignment here: Paper 1 analysis).  Click through for larger images that you can download.

Week 5 Blog: Achaemenid vs. Assyrian Imperial Ideology

Compare and contrast Achaemenid and Assyrian imperial ideologies (as presented in the text) and how they are expressed through art.  The visual picture presented by Achaemenid art differs from that presented in Assyrian palaces in many important respects; does this equate to a difference in ideology?

Due 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 9


Alexander in Egypt

protesters gather around a statue of Alexander the Great in Alexandria, Egypt.

Angry scenes ... protesters gather at the statue of Alexander the Great in Cairo to demand the resignation of Hosni Mubarak


Week 4: Neo-Assyrian kings

The reading assignments and images are available for this week (see page to the right for the files).  You can also download a copy of the whole assignment (together with a little mini-guide to the kings we’ll be dealing with) here: Week 4 Reading Assignment.

Blog Assignment Week 4:  Violence in Art

Ever since the discovery of Assyrian palace reliefs in the 19th century, observers have been particularly struck by seemingly cavalier depictions of violence and brutality; some commentators have maintained that this is a reflection of the particularly brutal nature of Assyrian society and culture, and assume that their imperial reign must have been particularly harsh, as opposed to (for example) the Persians, whose empire has been regarded more favorably by historians. Not coincidentally, Persian imperial art is practically devoid of violence.  (To be fair, these opinions are also shaped by the Old Testament portrayal of Assyrians as evil and the Persians as good, especially Cyrus the Great who allowed the Jews to return from exile.)  But this begs the question: what does the employment of violence in art really say about a society? Can we use its presence (or lack of presence) as evidence about the level of violence in day-to-day life of that society, or in their dealings with foreign nations/peoples?  How much does art truly mirror life?

Due Wednesday, Feb 2, by 10 pm.



class canceled thurs 1/27

As per the university’s announcement, class is canceled today.  Watch this space for updates about next week’s reading assignment.

stay safe!