Art and Architecture of the Seljuks and Ottomans (12th -15th centuries)

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of History of Art and Archaeology & School of Arts

Module overview

This course is designed to introduce the material culture (art, architecture, numismatics, and so-called 'minor arts') of the different peoples and polities of medieval and early modern Anatolia in the Seljuk, Beylik, and early Ottoman periods. Students will learn to analyse the totality of material cultural production and how it changed as the result of economic, social, and historical forces. They will learn to analyse the artistic interplay between Islamic and Chrisitian societies, as well as the artistic manifestations of such subjects as mysticism, chivalry, and Eurasian steppe traditions.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • To demonstrate knowledge of the artistic production of the Ottoman Empire
  • To evalute the political, social, and religious contexts that led to the rise of Turco-Islamic art and architecture in medieval Anatolia
  • To understand key themes in the dynastic art of Turco-Islamic courts in medieval and early-modern Anatolia
  • To analyse the art, architecture, painting, ceramics, and other artistic production using appropriate vocabulary
  • To evaluate critically ethno-nationalistic and essentialist art historical approaches to the art of the period


  • One hour Lecture, one hour Seminar

Scope and syllabus

  • Week 1: Anatolia in the 11th century & the First Turco-Islamic States
  • Week 2: The Seljuk Sultanate
  • Week 3: The Seljuk Sultanate
  • Week 4: Mongol Anatolia
  • Week 5: Trip to the British Museum Coin Room
  • Week 6: The Beyliks
  • Week 7 : The Early Ottoman State: Bursa
  • Week 8: The Early Ottoman State: Edirne
  • Week 9: The Reign of Sultan Mehmet II
  • Week 10: Constantinople in the late 15th century

Method of assessment

  • One 1,000 word book or article review (worth 30%)
  • One 2,000 word essay (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).
  • Aptullah Kuran, A Spatial Study of Three Ottoman Capitals: Bursa, Edirne, and Istanbul, Muqarnas 13 (1996), pp. 114-131.
  • Christian Lange and Songül Mecit, eds, The Seljuqs: Politics, Society, and Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011).
  • Nizam al-Mulk (Hubert Darke, trans.) The Book of Government (second edition) (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978).
  • Gülru Necipoğlu, “Anatolia and the Ottoman Legacy,” in H. Khan and M. Frishman, eds, The Mosque. History, Architectural Development and Regional Diversity (London: Thames and Hudson, 1994) pp. 141-157.
  • Oya Pancaroğlu, "The Mosque-Hospital Complex in Divriği: A History of Relations and Transitions," Anadolu ve Çevresinde Ortaçağ 3 (2009), pp. 169-98.
  • Andrew Peacock and Sara Nur Yıldız, eds, The Seljuks of Anatolia: Court and Society in the Medieval Middle East (London: IB Tauris, 2013).
  • Scott Redford and Nina Ergin, eds, Cities and Citadels in Turkey: From the Iron Age to the Seljuks (Leuven: Peeters, 2013).
  • Scott Redford, Legends of Authority: The 1215 Seljuk Inscriptions of Sinop Citadel , Turkey İstanbul: Koç University Press, 2014.
  • Scott Redford, “Portable Palaces:  On the Circulation of Objects and Ideas about Architecture in Medieval Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia,” Medieval Encounters 18 (2012), pp. 382-412.
  • Scott Redford and Gary Leiser, Victory Inscribed: The Seljuk Fetihname on the Citadel Walls of Antalya, Turkey (Istanbul: AKMED, 2008).
  • S. Redford, “A Grammar of Rum Seljuq Ornament,” Mesogeios 25-26 (2005), 283-310.
  • Scott Redford, Landscape and the State in Medieval Anatolia: Seljuk Gardens and Pavilions of Alanya, Turkey (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2000).
  • Scott Redford, The Archaeology of the Frontier in the Medieval Near East: Excavations at Gritille, Turkey Philadelphia: The University Museum, 1998.
  • Scott Redford "Just Landscape in Medieval Anatolia," Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 20 (2000), pp. 313-324.
  • Scott Redford, “The Seljuks of Rum and the Antique,” Muqarnas 10 (1993), pp. 148-156.
  • Yasser Tabbaa, The Transformation of Islamic Art During the Sunni Revival (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001).
  • Ayşıl Tükel Yavuz, “The Concepts that Shape Anatolian Seljuq Caravanserais,” Muqarnas 14 (1997), pp. 80-95.


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