Taught course

The Arts of Ancient Greece: The Birth of Classical Taste

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens · National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Entry requirements

This Programme is addressed to art enthusiasts and archaeology fans, as well as anyone with an interest in the history of Greece or the classical world at large.

Months of entry

September, February

Course content

Explore the fascinating developments in Greek art from ca. 1200 to ca. 30 BCE.

Programme Description

After an introductory module, modules 2-3 survey matters of Greek art in Early, Classical and Hellenistic Greece respectively.

The Programme consists of 12 lessons in total, each focusing on a particular aspect of Greek art. Each named after a Greek technical term, these 12 lessons discuss the historical and aesthetic developments that shaped classical art, as well as the roles it performed within ancient society and culture.

Module 1: Introduction

Lesson 1 Techne: what is ‘Greek’ about Greek art?
An introductory lesson defining the aesthetic principles and distinguishing features of Greek art.

Module 2: Early Greece, ca. 1200-480 BCE

Lesson 2 Sema: commemorating the dead in Early Greece.
From the word meaning ‘tomb marker’, a lesson devoted to burial practices and the art of commemoration in Early Greece.

Lesson 3 Anathema: gifts to the gods in Greek sanctuaries.
From the Greek word for ‘votive’, a session on early cult practices and their contribution to the development of Greek aesthetics.

Lesson 4 Agalma: pleasing immortals and mortals alike.
From the Greek word for ‘statue’, a session devoted to the first effigies of men, women, and their gods in Early Greece.

Lesson 5 Kerameus: the art of Greek pottery.
From the Greek word for ‘potter’, a discussion of the major styles of Greek pottery in the 6th c. BCE.

Module 3: Classical Greece, ca. 480-336 BCE

Lesson 6 Mimesis: nature as aesthetic ideal.
‘Mimesis’ is the imitation of reality through art. Starting from the invention of naturalism by Greek sculptors in the early 5th c. BCE, a discussion of the significance of this new style and its repercussions for western art.

Lesson 7 Hieron: visiting a Greek sanctuary.
From the Greek word for ‘sanctuary’, an elucidating visit to Olympia, Delphi, and the Athenian Acropolis.

Lesson 8 Theatron: performing the myths on Greek stage.
Classical art as performative ritual; focusing on the architecture of the Greek theatre and the reflections of Greek drama on visual arts of the classical period.

Lesson 9 Skiagraphia: painting with shadows.
A session on monumental Greek painting from the early 5th to the early 3rd centuries BCE.

Module 4: Art in the Hellenistic World, ca. 336-30 BCE

Lesson 10 Pathos: sculpture in the Hellenistic period.
From the Greek word for ‘passion’, an account of Greek sculpture in the Hellenistic period.

Lesson 11 Eikon: immortalising the mortals.
From the Greek word for ‘portrait’, a survey of the Greek art of portraiture, from Alexander the Great and the philosophers of his time to the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria, other rulers of the Hellenistic world, as well as some private individuals.

Lesson 12 Doron: the art of Greek jewellery.
From the Greek word for ‘gift’, a discussion of Greek jewellery across time: techniques and materials, representations, functions, sympolisms.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
3 months

Course contact details

Admissions Office