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Art of the Ancient World (Option Module CX903-30)

Module available in 2021-22

Convenor: Prof Zahra Newby

Reading list

To prepare for the module, please see the attached bibliography

Outline and Aims

The module will introduce students to the many different forms taken by art in the ancient world and the ways that this material can be approached and used in the study of wider historical issues. It will help to fulfil the MA’s aim to develop a wide-ranging and detailed knowledge of the visual culture of the ancient world as well as to develop students’ critical and conceptual understanding of the methodological issues relating to its study.
It will help to develop students’ intellectual skills in the following areas:

  • Skills of visual analysis including ability to recognise and interpret different iconographies and to analyse different artistic styles
  • Awareness of the constraints and possibilities of different artistic methods and media
  • Appreciation of methodological issues in dealing with visual evidence
  • Understanding of the ways that visual and material evidence has been studied since Antiquity
  • Ability to present structured chain of argument drawing together evidence into cohesive whole
  • Ability to select & apply appropriate problem-solving methodologies
  • Ability to conduct independent research & analysis

It will also help to develop the following key transferable skills:

  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Ability to evaluate intellectual progress
  • IT skills - word processing/ use of internet


In 2021-22 the module will run every other week across Terms 1 and 2, in even numbered weeks.


Term 1

Week 2 A brief History of Ancient Art

Week 4 Approaching the Divine

Week 6: British Museum Trip (joint with Core module: Thursday 11th Nov): Stories of Objects.

(no class Tuesday 9th Nov)

Week 8 Art and Power: Remembering and Forgetting

Week 10 Funerary Art, mourning and self-representation

Term 2

Week 2 Art and Identities

Week 4 Art and Narrative

Week 6 Art and Text (possibly Ashmolean museum, tbc)

Week 8 Writing about Art

Week 10 Essay presentations


5,000 word essay

Deadline for essay title to be approved by module convenor, Prof Zahra Newby: Friday 18th March 2022
Deadline for essay to be submitted: Tuesday 10th May 2022.

You can expect to receive feedback within 20 working days electronically via Tabula. You are also encouraged to attend a feedback tutorial with one of the module tutors.