History of Architecture: From Ziggurats and Pyramids to Cathedrals and Mosques: Ancient and Medieval Architecture in the Near East, the Mediterranean, and Europe

Lecture, Open—Fall

This course will look at a major focus of human endeavor: the built environment and the factors behind it, beginning with the earliest villages, towns, and cities until the emergence of the Renaissance in Europe. The course will look at all forms of architecture: public and private, religious and domestic. We will examine not only the buildings themselves and the technologies behind them but also the practical, religious, political, and economic forces that made architecture and cities a central facet of human existence. The course will start with the earliest cities in the Near East and Egypt, continuing into the classical culture of the Greeks and Romans, and concluding with Medieval Christian Europe and the Islamic world of western Asia and the Mediterranean. Group conferences will focus on relevant primary sources and, especially, on theoretical treatises like Vitruvius’ On Architecture. Midterm and final class essay assignments and a short thought piece on group conference will be required. This course is the first half of a linked sequence. Mr. Forte’s course—History of Architecture: Beauty, Bridges, Boxes, and Blobs: "Modern" Architecture From 1450 to the Present—is the second half.