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The Medieval World - The Glory of Byzantium: Diplomacy, Art and Society, 4th-15th C

For over eleven centuries, the Byzantine Empire played a predominant role in the political and cultural development of southeastern Europe and Asia Minor. The Medieval World - The Glory of Byzantium: Diplomacy, Art and Society, 4th-15th C short course uses visual and documentary sources, as well as archaeological findings, to examine the artistic, cultural and social life of Byzantium, including the characteristics and significance of its art, its cultural activities and their importance, and the key elements of its social structure. We will investigate the various diplomatic methods used in Byzantium to achieve its aims and we will evaluate their results, as well as their echo in the modern world.

By the end of this short course, you will be able to evaluate aspects of the cultural life of the Byzantine Empire and identify some of the main characteristics of Byzantine art. You will also gain knowledge and understanding of the key themes and issues surrounding Byzantine diplomacy and you will be able to identify, interpret and evaluate a range of primary visual and written source material. You will also be able to evaluate the contribution of the Byzantine Empire to European and world civilisation. 

The course is open to anyone with an interest and enthusiasm for the subject. Classes are taught at university level, so you should be able to read, write and speak English fluently. 

This short course can be taken as a stand-alone course or it may be available as part of a Certificate of Higher Education.


15 credits at level 4

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students. You may have to fulfil specific prerequisites for some intermediate-level or advanced-level courses, but these will be specified where relevant.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration.
    • Courses of less than six months' duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You enrol directly onto the classes you would like to take, using the Enrol Now link below. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then enrol onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.

First class: Tue 28-Apr-20 6pm-8pm

Class location Central London
Class code SSHC443H4AAA