CC + tutorial: The Eastern Mediterranean World: from Justinian to Muhammad

Course Description: 

Credits: 4.0 (with tutorial), 2.0 (without tutorial)

TA: Dan Knox

This class, with its associated readings and tutorial, will introduce students to recent developments in the study of the late antique eastern Mediterranean. These developments have revised the periodisation, historiography, interpretation, and geographical remit of Late Antiquity, and challenged more traditional approaches to the period. There are two components to the course; the second is highly recommended, but is not obligatory. The first will consist of classes, during which the instructors introduce the theme of the different sessions consecutively; this is followed by a class discussion of the theme and the readings assigned. The second component will go deeper into the primary sources.

Learning Outcomes: 

The purpose of the class is to provide an overview of the “late” Late Antiquity in the eastern Mediterranean – to situate the (eastern) Christian Roman Empire within its context and discuss the rise of Islam within the framework of Late Antiquity. Taking the class will enable students to critically analyze primary sources concerning political, ecclesiastical and military developments and events. Especially the lectures will introduce seminal classics as well as the most recent scholarship concerning debates of periodization etc. Students will be made aware of the various assessments of the development of Christian doctrine and debates in the 5th and 6th century up to the rise of Islam.


Active class participation counts 10 % toward the final grade. Missing more than two classes out of 12 or four out of 24 will result in a failing grade. Students taking this course as core class will be expected, in each session, to offer orally critical summaries and assessments of lectures, reading assignments and class discussions of the previous session (20 %), a mid-term paper of 1,500 words (20 %) and a final term paper (3,000 words) due one week after the end of term, on a topic to be agreed with the instructors (50 %). Students taking this course as an elective for grade will not be required to present a mid-term paper; their final paper will count for 70 %.