ARTH 200: Art History 200:
Art and Society in Ancient and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean

Professor Marjorie Venit
1211-B Art Sociology Building
(301) 405-1481

Office Hours: 10:00–11:00a.m, Tuesdays and Thursdays



University of Maryland
Art History & Archaeology
UMD Libraries

Websites & Bibliography
Perseus Project
Walters Art Museum
Dumbarton Oaks
Beazley Archives

American Academy in Rome
Egypt Exploration Society

Archaeology Magazine

Welcome to ARTH 200, Art and Society in Ancient and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean

In this course we will survey sites and monuments of painting, sculpture, architecture, and the "minor arts" from Paleolithic times through the the Gothic period.

This site will be updated regularly with information you need to know: terms, monuments, and ideas for you to consider. Be sure to check back at least weekly to ensure you have all the information you need to excel.You may navigate this site by clicking on the menu at the left.

This course deals with art as a social and cultural phenomenon. Few of the monuments that comprise the material of this course were art as we think of it. Most of the painters, sculptors, and architects -- though not anonymous in their lifetimes -- cannot be named by us. Therefore our concern is less with originality and individual creators of works of "art" (although in some periods this phenomenon will, in fact, be of interest) than with the societies that created the "art" and less with aesthetics than with function and meaning. We will consider these monuments as expressions of the societies and the time periods that produced them.

Questions that guide thinking about these concepts will be posted on the website sometime before each checklist . These questions are accessible by clicking To consider on the menu at the left.

The Syllabus page will have updates to the Syllabus and includes websites that you should refer to for sources of pictures and information. It will also provide a link to a pass-word protected site on which images of the monuments seen in lecture class for which you are responsible are posted sometime after each lecture.

Relatively few monuments will be shown; these monuments will serve as type-pieces for the period and the society that they represent. Therefore, since they comprise our communal vocabulary, it is imperative that these monuments be rigorously committed to memory connected with their period, date, and culture. 

Despite my claim that we are not truly dealing with art as we know it, we will nevertheless rely on a basically art-historical vocabulary to discuss these works because this vocabulary has been developed in order to most efficiently describe these artifacts of material culture. Therefore, it is important that this vocabulary be assimilated as a means of mutual communication. Therefore Terms to know, accessible from the menu at the left, will also be posted each week.

To email your TA (or me) from this site, see Contacts information below.

A student successfully completing this course for Humanities credit will be able to:
• Demonstrate familiarity and facility with fundamental terminology and concepts in art history and archaeology
• Demonstrate understanding of the methods used by scholars in art history and archaeology
• Demonstrate critical thinking in the evaluation of sources and arguments in scholarly works in art history and archaeology
• Demonstrate the ability to formulate a thesis related to a specific topic in ancient and medieval art history and archaeology and to support the thesis with evidence and argumentation

A student who successfully completes this course for Plural Societies credit will be able to:
• Demonstrate understanding of the cultural, historical, social, economic, and ideological basis of human diversity
• Demonstrate understanding of fundamental concepts and methods that produce knowledge about ancient and medieval Mediterranean and European societies
• Analyze forms and traditions of thought or expression in relation to cultural, historical, political, and social contexts
• Use a comparative and/or intersectional and/or relational framework to examine the cultures of two or more social groups or constituencies in the ancient and medieval Mediterranean and European world

In addition, it is hoped that the student will also have developed an appreciation of the achievements of the peoples of the distant past.


OFFICE: Art / Sociology 4302

Ms. Caroline Dubinsky
Section 0102: Wednesday, 11:00 – 11:50 am
Section 0104: Wednesday, 9:00 – 9:50 am
Office hours: Wednesday, 10:00-11:00 am and 12:00 - 1:00 pm
and by appointment

Ms. Kristi Jamrisko
Section 0101: Monday, 11:00 – 11:50 am
Section 0105: Monday, 10:00 – 10:50 am
Office hours:
Monday 12:00 - 2:00pm and by appointment

Mr. Raino Isto
Section 0103: Tuesday, 9:30 – 10:20 am
Section 0106: Monday, 9:00 – 9:50 am
Office hours:
Monday 10:00 am - 12:00 pm and by appointment


There is no text for this class.

Although you will only be asked to identify monuments seen in class or in discussion section, in order to better place them and the ideas we present in context, additional useful sources of information and pictures are noted on the course calendar (Syllabus page). Other readings may be assigned in section.

Your semester grade will be calculated as follows:
30% The average of your checklist grades.
30% Written assignments, projects, and performance in your discussion section.
20% Grades on your class projects.
20% Grade of your final exam.

Each checklist will cover a separate part of the course. These tests are designed primarily to test your knowledge of facts. Checklists are divided into three sections: slide identification, placement of unknown monuments, and short answers. Concepts to consider will be posted for each checklist from time to time throughout the semester.

Ten slides of objects that we have seen in class or in section will be shown for one minute each. You will be asked to name the object and give its:
* Date,
* Period,
* Artist or Architect (if known), and
* Significance

This section normally counts for 30 - 40 % of the checklist grade.

Five slides of monuments which we have not seen in lecture nor presented by TAs in discussion section will be shown for two minutes each. You will be asked to place the object by:

* Describing the object vis-a-vis objects we have studied,
* Providing the correct culture or period, and
* Dating it as closely as possible

You will use and note stylistic similarities to known works (i.e. those seen in class) to make your identifications. This section normally counts for 25-30% of the checklist grade.

Six to eight questions will be asked based on the concepts that have been covered in class and in section. (EXAMPLE: What are characteristics of Roman art and architecture?).

These questions will be grouped in sections. You will be asked to answer about half the questions, but you must answer something in each section.

Answer these questions specifically, citing works of art, dates, names, and art terms. Write long answers to the short questions, but do not use complete sentences! Use short phrases, make lists, charts: make every word count. This section counts 30 to 45 points.

Make-ups will be given only under extraordinary circumstances. Students who, for medical reasons, miss a major scheduled grading event must provide written documentation from a health-care provider including the dates of treatment and the dates on which the student was unable to meet academic responsibilities. (Private diagnostic information shall be omitted.)

The final exam is an essay test taken at a time and place designated by the University (Saturday, May 11, 2013, 8:00-10:00 am, ART/SOC 2203). It lasts two hours. It is designed to test your ability to synthesize the material that you have learned. Questions developed during the last class will be posted on the To Consider page under Questions for the Final Exam.

During the last class, the class will make up a series of questions that are thought-provoking and that tie together the material from the course. Normally, these questions number between 8 and 12. You are asked to go home and prepare the answers to any one or two of these questions. At the time scheduled for the final exam, you will write your answers in the classroom. You may designate the point value of these questions (total = 100) or leave that to the discretion of your instructor.

In contrast to checklists, which cover a discrete unit of the course and for which you are asked not to write in sentences, your final exam should comprise a well-thought out, well-written essay or series of essays and should reflect what you have learned during the entire semester.
The final exam will be graded on the factual correctness, organization, argument, breadth, and depth of your response(s).

Nota Bene:

Academic integrity
The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students.  As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course.  It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity visit the Student Honor Council web site: . For further information on what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it, see the very useful plagiarism web site of the University of Toronto: .

Remember to sign the Honor Pledge on all examinations and assignments: "I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this examination (assignment)."

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
If a student has a documented disability and wishes to discuss academic accommodations, please contact the professor as soon as possible. The rules for eligibility and the types of accommodations a student may request can be reviewed on the Disability Support Services web site:

Disability Support Services requires that students request an Accommodation Form each semester . It is the student's responsibility to present the form to the professor as proof of eligibility for accommodations.

Religious Observances
The University System of Maryland policy states that students should not be penalized in any way for participation in religious observances. Students shall be allowed, whenever practicable, to make up academic assignments that are missed due to such absences. It is the student's responsibility to contact the professor, and make arrangements for make-up work or examinations. The student is responsible for providing written notification to the professor within the first two weeks of the semester. The notification must identify the religious holiday(s) and date(s). For additional information, please visit the University of Maryland Policies and Procedures at .

University Closure
If the University is forced to close for an extended period of time, the material missed will be made up either at rescheduled classes or by extra assignments relevant to that material. If an exam cannot be rescheduled in a normal fashion
(see Syllabus page), other means of assessment will be employed.

Please evaluate the course both in the department's paper format and online at . Both evaluations are helpful to faculty and future students alike.

Absences for Medical Reasons
Students who must miss a single class meeting for medical reasons shall make a reasonable effort to inform the instructor in advance and shall, upon returning to class, present a self-signed note attesting to the date of the illness and including an acknowledgment that the information is true and correct. Students who, for medical reasons, miss more than one meeting during the semester or miss a major scheduled grading event must provide written documentation from a health-care provider including the dates of treatment and the dates on which the student was unable to meet academic responsibilities. (Private diagnostic information shall be omitted.)

Last modified: January 24, 2013