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From Brick into Stone: Architecture in Anatolia during the Long Thirteenth Century - HOA00067I

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  • Department: History of Art
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Richard McClary
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This course will immerse students in the medieval urban fabric of central and eastern Anatolia and involves the close study of the monuments erected in and around the major cities, with a focus on Konya, Sivas, Kayseri and Erzurum.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

During the period from 1170 to 1300 a wide range of competing identities, including Christian and Muslim as well as Turkic and Persian, resulted in the emergence of a new, hybrid architectural aesthetic. This drew on antecedent developments to the east, in Iran, Central Asia and Anatolia, as well as across the Caucasus, from Aleppo and Damascus to the south and the Byzantines to the west.

The role of iconography and the reasons for increased levels of patronage, as well as the function of buildings and specifics of construction will be examined, alongside an investigation of the consequences of Islamisation and the beginning of Ilkhanid Mongol rule.

The role of female patronage is examined, alongside that of the male elites. In addition, the interaction and exchange with the Christian architecture of the Armenian and Georgian population will give students an understanding of the wider context and allow them to address issues concerning frontier, periphery and centre in the medieval world.

This transnational and interdisciplinary course will give students an awareness of the extent of trade and cultural exchange in western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean between Muslim and Christian populations in the medieval period.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have acquired:

  • an understanding of the cultural and historical context of Anatolia in the thirteenth century.

  • the skills to study and analyse monuments in forensic detail in order to understanding the working methods of the craftsmen responsible for their construction.

  • comprehension of the shift from the construction of brick monuments towards a greater use of stone, and to understand the major innovations in the architectural use of glazed ceramics.

  • the ability to determine the disparate sources upon which craftsmen drew in the creation of a new aesthetic.

  • an understanding of the projection of power and authority through architectural patronage.

  • knowledge of the wide range of sources drawn upon in the creation of a distinctive regional style in the medieval period.

  • the skills to critically assess readings and present a clear and coherent argument based on the results of their research.


Task Length % of module mark
Assessed Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Assessed Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on assessed work within the timeframes set out by the University - please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

The purpose of feedback is to help you to improve your future work. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further, you are warmly encouraged to meet your Supervisor during their Office Hours.

Indicative reading

  • Akurgal, E. K. The Art and Architecture of Turkey. New York: Rizzoli, 1980.
  • Arik, Rüçhan, and Olus Arik. Tiles: Treasures of Anatolian Soil: Tiles of the Seljuk and Beylik Periods. Istanbul: Kale Group Cultural Publications, 2008.
  • Blessing, Patricia. Rebuilding Anatolia after the Mongol Conquest: Islamic Architecture in the Lands of Rum, 1240–1330. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014.
  • Blessing, Patricia, and Rachel Goshgarian. Architecture and Landscape in Medieval Anatolia, 1100-1500. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.
  • Cahen, Claude, and P.M. Holt. The Formation of Turkey: the Seljukid Sultanate of Rum: Eleventh to Fourteenth century. Harlow: Longman, 2001.
  • Eastmond, Antony. Art and Identity in Thirteenth Century Byzantium: Hagia Sophia and the Empire of Trebizond. London: Routledge, 2004.
  • Flood, Finbarr Barry. Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval “Hindu-Muslim” Encounter. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.
  • Hillenbrand, Robert, ed. The Art of the Saljuqs in Iran and Anatolia: Proceedings of a Symposium held in Edinburgh in 1982. Costa Mesa: Mazda Publishers, 1994.
  • Lange, Christian, and Songul Mecit. The Seljuqs: Politics, Society and Culture. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011.
  • McClary, Richard. Rum Seljuq Architecture, 1170-1220: The Patronage of Sultans. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017.
  • Mecit, Songul. The Rum Seljuqs: Evolution of a Dynasty. London: Routledge, 2014.
  • Mepisashvili, Rusudan, and Vakhtang Tsintsadze. The Arts of Ancient Georgia. London: Thames & Hudson, 1979.
  • Önge, Mustafa. “Caravanserais as Symbols of Power in Seljuk Anatolia.” In Power and Culture: Identity, Ideology, Representation, edited by Jonathan Osmond and Ausma Cimdina, 49-69. Pisa: Edizioni Plus, 2007.
  • Pancaroglu, Oya. “The Itinerant Dragon-Slayer: Forging Paths of Image and Identity in Medieval Anatolia.” Gesta 43, no. 2 (2004): 151-164.
  • Peacock, A. C. S., and Sara Nur Yildiz, eds. The Seljuks of Anatolia, Court and Society in the Medieval Middle East. London: I. B. Tauris & Company, 2013.
  • Redford, Scott. “The Alaeddin Mosque in Konya Reconsidered.” Artibus Asiae 51, no. 1/2 (1991): 54-74.
  • Redford, Scott. “The Seljuks of Rum and the Antique.” Muqarnas 10, (1993): 148-156.
  • Redford, Scott. “13th century Rum Seljuq Palaces and Palace imagery.” In Pre-Modern Islamic Palaces, Ars Orientalis 23 (1993): 219-236.
  • Walker, Alicia. “Middle Byzantine aesthetics of power and the incomparability of Islamic Art: The architectural Ekphraseis of Nikolaos Mesarites.” Muqarnas 27 (2011): 79-101.
  • Watson, William, ed. The Art of Iran and Anatolia from the 11th to the 13th century AD. London: University of London School of Oriental; Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, 1975.
  • Yalman, Suzan. “Ala al-Din Kayqubad Illuminated: A Rum Seljuq Sultan as Cosmic Ruler.” Muqarnas 29 (2012), 151-186.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.