This course is for participants who are not afraid to get their feet wet. We will use a sailing boat to visit the islands of the Cyclades, where we will explore the consequences of the partition of the Byzantine Empire by the Crusaders and the role of individual Venetians in the establishment of the Duchy of Naxos. We will study local architecture and iconography to identify the result of the coexistence of Latin and Greek Orthodox population on provincial art and the development of a distinct style of fresco painting.
Identity and Power
The Cyclades archipelago had great strategic significance for the Italian maritime city states (especially Venice and Genoa). Long before the fall of Constantinople to the armies of the Fourth Crusade, there had been attacks by Italian pirates, but the official partition of the Byzantine Empire gave the Venetians the opportunity to occupy the Cyclades and create the Duchy of the Archipelago. They were not alone; many adventurers were able to establish personal control over individual islands, forming a mosaic of rulers that often competed with each other. This module examines the continuous shifting of political circumstances and the presence of conquerors on the islands of Cyclades. The line of successors is linked with the artistic production and the alteration on Orthodox practices.
The Cyclades were astride maritime routes that linked Constantinople and the eastern Mediterranean with western Europe, allowing enterprising Italian merchants to profit from the trade in luxury goods and spices. The Aegean Sea was crisscrossed by trading galleys and warships that enabled the movement of goods, ideas, and artisans. It was a period of great political and religious upheavals but despite all this strife, local communities attempted to preserve their standard of living and spiritual beliefs. The second module focuses on trading activities, imported materials, and local workshops in the Aegean Sea. The need for the continuation of the Orthodox tradition is evident in the construction of a large number of churches despite the efforts of the Venetians to establish the predominance of the Catholic Church.
Art as Resistance
The dismemberment of the Byzantine Empire by the Crusaders caused significant problems for the Greek Orthodox Church. The new Latin rulers forcefully established a new Roman Catholic hierarchy and most Greek Orthodox bishops quit their posts. On a local lever, priests were burdened with new taxes and limitations on their activities that proved burdensome, while the authorities attempted to convert the Greek Orthodox population. In the Cyclades, though, where the Venetians were always a minority, the islanders expressed their resistance to these policies by decorating the internal surfaces of the churches with wall paintings created by local workshops and available materials leading to the formation of distinct provincial styles.
• Discover the tangled history of Latin conquerors in the islands of the Aegean
• Explore the cobblestone streets of Byzantine settlements
• Discover the natural beauty of the Cyclades
• Visit Byzantine churches from the Late and Post-Byzantine period
• Indulge in the Late and Post-Byzantine religious heritage through on-site seminars, guided tours, and workshops by specialized lecturers
✓ Present the line of conquerors that influenced the islands of the Cyclades after the Fourth Crusade
✓ Explain the impact of the Venetian conquest in the production of ecclesiastical art and architecture
✓ Identify a range of artistic media which will lead to a more profound understanding of Byzantine values and ideals
✓ Demonstrate knowledge of the key elements of provincial fresco painting and identify major narrative cycles and imagery types
PERKS & OPTIONS
What is included in our programs?
- 3 US credits provided by the Hellenic American University
- Accommodation in hand-picked and well-located superior class hotels
- Breakfast and lunch
- Professionals e.g. licensed guides, lecturers, and tour managers
- Entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites
- All land and sea transportation included in the itinerary of the specific program
- Information material
- Local taxes
- Travel insurance
- Transport to and from the airport in Greece
- Airfares to and from Greece
- Any custom request