A329:  The Art of the Anglo-Saxon World

Summer 2005


Dr. Deborah Deliyannis
Office:  Fine Arts 130
Office hours: by appointment
Office phone:  855-8510
email:  ddeliyan@indiana.edu
TuTh 10:30-12:45
Fine Arts 102
Section no. 0100



When the Roman legions pulled out of Britain in the early fifth century, the island entered a "dark age", during which groups of people from the continent, known to us collectively as Anglo-Saxons, entered Britain and became its rulers.  In this course, we will examine the art, architecture, and archaeological remains from Anglo-Saxon England.  We will consider these materials in connection with primary sources of the period, and discuss how the works of art reflect the history of Christianity in England, contacts with other islands and the continent, the repeated waves of invaders, the gradual unification of the island, and finally the the Norman conquest of 1066.





There is no one good textbook on Anglo-Saxon art, and most of the books that are good are out of print (you can find some of them used on Amazon.com).  Readings will be taken from a variety of sources; most from books on reserve in the Fine Arts Library (a list can be found at the end of the syllabus), which can sometimes also be found on e-reserves (so identified).  You are responsible for doing the readings before the class for which they are assigned; in many cases we will have discussions based on these readings.





This is an intensive course that meets twice a week for 2.25 hours each.  Each class meeting is therefore the equivalent of more than one week in a semester-long class; the readings and workload will be correspondingly intense.  I couldn't give 2.25-hour lectures, and you wouldn't want to sit through one!  So the general plan for each class meeting will be approximately half lecture with discussion, and half discussion of one particular object or set of objects.  In order to participate effectively in discussion, you will have to have read and bring to class any readings assigned for that meeting.


You will be graded on the following course components:


Attendance and participation                                      15%

Five quizzes (20 minutes each, 12% each)                   60%

5-7-page paper                                                          25%


Attendance will be taken in every class; your attendance grade will be based on both your percentage attending and your participation in class discussions.  If you are ill or have an emergency that prevents you from coming to class, please let me know so that it doesn't count against you.


Five quizzes will be given every Tuesday (except the first one) at the beginning of class, covering the material from the previous week.  A sixth quiz will be given at the end of the last day of class, covering material from that week.  You must take five quizzes; no make-ups will be given.  If you take all six, your lowest grade will be dropped.


Each quiz will consist of 2 questions.  Each question will have 1 or 2 images accompanied by a short essay question to be answered in ten minutes.  In most cases one of the images or image pairs will be something we saw in the previous week, and the other image will be an "unknown" that you will be asked to interpret.  The quizzes will require you to (1) remember the works of art and architecture that we explored in the preceding week, and (2) apply the concepts and interpretive strategies discussed in class and/or presented in the readings. 


The powerpoint presentations in class will include terms and works of art that you will be expected to know for the quizzes labelled in red; all powerpoints used in class will be posted on Oncourse under "schedule".


Instructions for the paper, which is due in class in the last class period (June 16) can be found at the end of the syllabus.  Note that for all written work you are required to include a bibliography of books and electronic resources consulted and to use footnotes or endnotes where appropriate. Plagiarism is a serious offense that will result in automatic failure for the course, and possibly more serious penalties at the university level.


The online version of this syllabus, with active links, can be found at http://www.indiana.edu/~dmdhist


* * * * * * * *


Part 1:  Early Anglo-Saxon Art


May 10

Celts, Romans, Irish, and Anglo-Saxons

The Sutton Hoo Treasure

                  Recommended:  Martin Carver, Sutton Hoo:  Burial Ground of Kings? (1998).

                  The Wanderer (http://faculty.uca.edu/~jona/texts/wanderer.htm)



May 12

Early Anglo-Saxon architecture:  sacred and secular


                  Eric Fernie, The Architecture of the Anglo-Saxons,  ch. 3 (pp. 32-46)   *e-res*

                  Martin Welch, Discovering Anglo-Saxon England, ch. 2 (pp. 14-28) and 4 (43-53)  *e-res*



May 17

Quiz 1

Early insular manuscripts

The Lindisfarne Gospels

                  Carl Nordenfalk, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Painting, pp.  1-26 and plates.

                  Janet Backhouse, The Lindisfarne Gospels, chs. 6-8 (pp. 33-86)

                  Turn the pages of the British Library's digital Lindisfarne Gospels; go to http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/digitisation1.html and select "pinnacle of Anglo-Saxon Art"



May 19      ***Meet at the Lilly Library 10:30 am***

Manuscripts (continued)

The Book of Kells

                  Michelle P. Brown, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, pp. 46-53



May 24

Quiz 2

Sculpture and metalwork - small-scale

The Franks' Casket

                  C. R. Dodwell, Anglo-Saxon Art:  A New Perspective, ch. 1 (pp. 1-23) and ch. 7 (pp. 188-215).

                  L. Webster and J. Backhouse, eds., The Making of England, pp. 101-103.

                  Have a look at the British Museum's images of the Franks Casket



May 26

Large-scale sculpture and crosses

The Ruthwell Cross

                  L. Webster and J. Backhouse, eds., The Making of England, pp. 147-155, 239-247

                  Carol Farr, "Worthy Women on the Ruthwell Cross:  Woman as Sign in Early Anglo-Saxon Monasticism," in The Insular Tradition, ed. C. Karkov et al., pp. 45-61.   *e-res*

                  The Dream of the Rood (http://faculty.uca.edu/~jona/texts/rood.htm)



Part 2:  Later Anglo-Saxon Art


May 31

Quiz 3

The Vikings and the Age of Alfred

The Fuller Brooch and the Alfred Jewel

                  L. Webster and J. Backhouse, eds., The Making of England, pp. 254-289.




June 2

Later Anglo-Saxon Architecture

Winchester Old Minster

                  Eric Fernie, The Architecture of the Anglo-Saxons,  chs. 7-9 (pp. 90-153)

                  Selections from Aelfric's Life of St. Swithin



June 7

Quiz 4

Later Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts

The Harley Psalter

                  J. Backhouse, ed., The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art, 966-1066, pp. 46-87

                  Michelle P. Brown, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, pp. 21-45 and 70-77.



June 9:  Meet in the Lilly Library at 10:30

Manuscripts again

The Benedictional of Aethelwold



June 14

Quiz 5

Ivory carving

Victoria and Albert reliquary cross

                  J. Backhouse, ed., The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art, 966-1066, pp. 88-138

                  C. R. Dodwell, Anglo-Saxon Art:  A New Perspective, ch. 3 (pp. 44-83)



June 16

Paper due

Quiz 6 (at end of class)

The end of the Anglo-Saxon Age

The Bayeux Tapestry

                  J. Backhouse, ed., The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art, 966-1066, pp. 194-209

                  C. R. Dodwell, Anglo-Saxon Art:  A New Perspective,  ch. 8 (pp. 216-34)

                     Look at the Bayeux tapestry (you need shockwave for this), at  http://www.essentialnormanconquest.com/bayeux/osehncstartmac.html 



Books on reserve in the Fine Arts Library

Backhouse, Janet et al, eds.  The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art, 966-1066  (Bloomington, 1984). N6763 .G65 1984

Backhouse, Janet.  The Lindisfarne Gospels (London, Phaidon, 1987) ND3359.L5 B3 1987 

Brown, Michelle.  Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts (Toronto, UTP, 1991). Z8.G72 E53 1991

Carver, Martin.  Sutton Hoo:  Burial ground of Kings? (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998). DA155 .C38 1998

Dodwell, C. R.  Anglo-Saxon art:  a new perspective (Ithaca, NY, Cornell, 1982). N6763 .D62 1982

Farr, Carol.  The Book of Kells (London, British Library, 1997). ND3359. K4. F37. 1997

Fernie, Eric.  The Architecture of the Anglo-Saxons (New York, Holmes & Meier, 1983). NA963 .F4 1983

Nordenfalk, Carl.  Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Painting (New York, G. Braziller, 1977). ND2940 .N67

Webster, Leslie and Backhouse, Janet, eds.  The Making of England:  Anglo-Saxon art and culture AD 600-900 (London, British Museum, 1991) N6763 .M354 1991

Wilson, David, ed.  The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England (London, Methuen, 1976). DA155 .A7 

Instructions for the paper

Museum Exhibition Design


As you may know, the IU Art Museum has almost no Anglo-Saxon art in its collection.  You are going to submit a proposal for an exhibition of Anglo-Saxon art organized around the theme of your choice.  Money is no object (!), and you can assume that it would be possible to borrow any item that you need. 


Your paper, then, will take the form of the exhibition proposal, which should have the following parts:


1) A page introducing the theme of the exhibition.  Your theme can be anything for which you can collect sufficient objects or images to create a coherent exhibit.  It could be iconographical (e.g. animals, Christ, the cross); it could be focused on one material (metalworking, stone sculpture); it could be based on uses of art (monastic art, secular art); it could be something else.  In your description of the theme, you should include both what the theme is, and why this particular theme will inform and educate viewers about Anglo-Saxon art and the Anglo-Saxons.


2) A list of seven works to be included in the exhibition. Each item on the list should be accompanied by a brief description of the object, its current location, and an explanation of why it was selected for the exhibit.  You may choose any objects you like; good places to start are Leslie Webster and Janet Backhouse, eds.  The Making of England:  Anglo-Saxon art and culture AD 600-900 and Janet Backhouse, et al, eds.  The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art, 966-1066.  Note that these are themselves exhibition catalogues, and you MAY NOT simply list a series of items found in one of the sections in one of these books.  Another good source of objects is the British Museum website, Compass, which can be found online at:  http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/compass/  (the best thing is simply to search "anglo-saxon").


3) The text for the wall label.  This should include historical and cultural background to the theme and discuss the relationship of the objects to one another and to the theme overall.


4) A bibliography of resources consulted.


Your proposal should be 5-7 pages long (double-spaced, 12-point font, 1" margins).  Late papers will not be accepted.