Courtly Culture in the Medieval Mediterranean

The lands surrounding the Mediterranean in the middle ages were divided among multiple claimants to authority, and rulers of each successive dynasty often legitimated themselves through cultural production. This course examines a number of medieval courts, and focuses on the architecture, luxury objects, poetry and ceremonial rituals produced in them. We will employ a comparative approach that considers the cultures of Mediterranean courts in the period from the eighth century to the fourteenth. We will begin by examining the Hellenistic legacy of Late Antiquity, and will study the courts of Latin Christendom, Byzantium and the Islamic world that laid claim to this heritage. Courts studied will include those of Byzantine Constantinople, Umayyad Cordoba, Crusader Jerusalem, Fatimid and Mamluk Cairo, Norman Palermo, the Italian city-states and others. We will focus particularly on exchange among these courts (including diplomatic missions and the trade of goods and slaves) and the development of an international courtly culture. 3 credits. Satisfies pre-1800 requirement.