SOAS University of London

Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts

Art and Architecture of Medieval Islamic Turkey: the Seljuks and their Neighbours

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2018/2019
Year of study:
Year 2, Year 3 or Year 4
Taught in:
Term 1

This course examines the interactions of Islamic and local (pre-Christian and Christian) artistic   traditions in a territory newly conquered by Islamic forces in the late 11th century. It examines a wide spectrum of material culture, from ceramics and coins through painting and architecture in order to examine different and varied artistic syntheses that took place in medieval Anatolia.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Better understand the art and architecture of this border region between Islam and Christianity in a formative period.
  • Better understand the interplay between Christian and Islamic artistic traditions in the medieval period.
  • Better understand the relationship between material cultural production and economic and societal structures.
  • Better understand the relationship between art history and archaeology.


One hour Lecture, one hour Tutorial

Method of assessment

One 2 500 words essay (worth 30%);one two hour exam (worth 70%).

Suggested reading

  • Ekrem Akurgal, ed., The Art and Architecture of Turkey (Oxford: OUP, 1980).
  • Rüçhan Arık and Oluş Arık, Tiles: Treasures of Anatolian Soil. Tiles of the Seljuk and Beylik Periods (Istanbul: Kale Group, 2008).
  • Claude Cahen, (P.M. Holt, trans.) The Formation of Turkey (Harlow: Longman, 2001).
  • Michael Cook, The New Cambridge History of Islam (Cambridge: CUP, 2010).
  • Antony Eastmond, Hagia Sophia and the Empire of Trebizond (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004).
  • Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, ad Marilyn Jenkins Madina, Islamic Art and Architecture (650-1250) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001) (second edition).
  • Carter Findley, The Turks in World History (New York: OUP, 2005).
  • Kate Fleet, ed., The Cambridge History of Turkey Vol. 1. (Cambridge: CUP, 2006).
  • Armen Ghazarian and Robert Ousterhout, “A Muqarnas Drawing from Thirteenth-Century Armenia and the Use of Architectural Drawings during the Middle Ages,” Muqarnas 18 (2001), pp. 141-154.
  • Robert Hillenbrand, Islamic Architecture: Form, Function, and Meaning (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules