Course Syllabus for "ARTH201: Art of Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East"
Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site.
This course serves as an introduction to the major artistic and architectural traditions of Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East. This course will explore how artifacts and monuments can be used to study the history and culture of the ancient world. It is divided into two units that chronologically focus on the art, architecture, and archaeology of each region. The first unit examines Ancient Egyptian tombs, monuments, and art from the Early Dynastic (c. 3100-2650 BCE) through the Roman (30 BCE- 4thcentury CE) periods. The second unit focuses on Ancient Near Eastern artistic and architectural traditions from the late Neolithic (c. 9500-4500 BCE) through the conquest of the Achaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE) by Alexander the Great. After completing this course, you will be able to identify the major characteristics of Egyptian and Near Eastern art and architecture, more specifically what types of objects and buildings were made and used by Egyptians and Ancient Near Eastern peoples. You will also learn how ancient artifacts and monuments in particular, as well as art objects in general, can be used to understand larger political, cultural, religious, and economic structures.
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify major ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern architectural sites, monuments, and works of art.
- Identify the general characteristics of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern art and recognize the names and characteristics of the major art historical time periods of each region.
- Describe how art and architecture can be used to understand the politics, history, and culture of Ancient Egypt and the Near East.
- Explain ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern cosmology, conceptions of the afterlife, and kingship, as well as their relationship to architectural sites, monuments, and works of art.
In order to take this course, you must:
- Have access to a computer.
- Have continuous broadband Internet access.
- Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
- Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
- Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
- Have competency in the English language.
- Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.
- Have completed ARTH101: Art Appreciation and Techniques, ARTH110: Introduction to Western Art History—Pre-Historic to High Gothic, and ARTH111: Introduction to Western Art History—Proto-Renaissance to Contemporary Art.
Welcome to ARTH201, Art of Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East. Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements.
Primary Resources: This course makes use of a variety of different online resources, including:
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Art of Ancient Egypt: A Resource for Educators
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids”
- Jacques Kinnaer’s “The Ancient Egypt Site”
- BBC: Ancient History-in-Depth: Egyptians
- Tour Egypt
- The British Museum: Explore/Highlights
- The British Museum: Mesopotamia
- The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
Requirements for Completion: To complete this course, you must work through all the assigned resources (readings, interactives, lectures, and videos), complete three assignments (“Guided Observation 1: Ancient Egyptian Royal Portraiture,” “Guided Observation 2: Pyramids vs. Ziggurats,” and “Guided Observation 3: Ancient Near Eastern Depictions of Power”), and pass the Final Exam with a grade of 70% or more.
Time Commitment: Approximately 135 hours.
Tips/Suggestions: Before beginning this course, it may be useful to review ARTH101: Art Appreciation and Techniques, Units 1–4, which focus on general art history vocabulary, materials, and techniques. This knowledge, combined with the more specific vocabulary covered in this course, will be useful when discussing Ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern art and architecture.
Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.