Cultural Exchange: Trade, Religion, and War in Armenia, 300-1600

The course will trace artistic and cultural exchange over the centuries through trade, religion, and war as a way to understand the global reach of art and culture. Primary emphasis will be on the Armenians, whose homeland in eastern Anatolia controlling significant trade routes, made them a crossroads for cultural transmission between their West (the Romans, the Byzantine Romans, the Latin West, the Crusaders, and the Ottomans) and their East (the Parthians, Sasanians, Seljuks, Mongols, Safavid Persians, and Chinese). These connections extended north to the Slavs and Mongol states of Russia and south to the Holy Land and India. The catalogue of the Met’s 2018 “Armenia!” exhibition will be the basic text (Armenia: Art, Religion, and Trade in the Middle Ages can be downloaded from the Met’s website). Using works in the catalogue, or ones suggested by the student, students will research their global sources and their relevance to the Armenians, or others, who produced the finished object. Topics will be selected in consultation with the professor. Each student will present their research in class and as a final paper. 3 credits. Satisfies the chronological requirement.