This course surveys the history and art of Crete, the Cyclades, and Greece from the third millennium through the first century B.C. In the prehistoric period, the course will focus on both architectural and ceramic developments, as well as on the trade and economic contacts between Asia Minor and Greece. In the historic period, the course considers the major artistic developments in architecture, sculpture, and painting, focusing on how social, political or historical events caused these art forms to evolve and change over the centuries.
Search all library materials (books, articles, media) at one time. In the Mardigian Search box on the library's web page, type in any word that matches the topic you are looking for.
You can sort results by year, additional subjects, search only book, journals, newspapers, etc.
Typically, art historical research can be separated into two categories: Primary and Secondary. It is important to understand the differences between the two types of resources.
A Primary Source is Defined As: Materials produced by people in the period and culture under consideration. These sources provide the evidence on which art historians rely in order to interpret the artwork and its significance in the time and place of its creation. Some primary sources are sculptures (including reliefs), architecture, funerary monuments, religious objects, vase paintings, and murals. These artworks and monuments can be for both public and private use. Other primary sources art historians rely on are written documents, such as letters; speeches; biographies; official decrees, religious texts, legal records, economic and trade records. In addition, art historians often examine primary sources such as archaeological remains.
A Secondary Source is Defined As: A resource that discusses a previously created artwork or monument or prior period/event from an academic or research or layperson perspective. The key here is that the resource is from some time after the event. An example of this would be a book about Augustus or an article in a journal publication discussing the significance of Akhenaten. A book will NOT typically be a primary source unless it is a compilation of letters or diary entries or documents.
Primary vs. Secondary Source: Often times determining whether something is primary or secondary may depend on the question that is being asked. For instance, if a researcher is researching the issues around Augustan ideology and reads a book on that topic published in the 2nd century CE, that book may be determined to be secondary but if the question is then about later Roman understanding of the Augustan period, then that same book can then become primary.
The following video, while developed for a different class, is very relevant to our discussion of resources!
How to Read a Primary Source for History Classes (by UM-Dearborn History Professor Dr. Georgina Hickey and Dr. Pamela Pennock [adapted for art history courses by Prof. Diana Y. Ng])
1. Visually analyze the artwork/monument carefully and read the document carefully. You may be examining an artwork or a textual document composed by an ancient author.
2. Think about the following questions. Some of these questions apply better to some artworks/monuments and documents than others. Some questions you may not be able to answer because of incomplete information (an obstacle ancient art historians regularly face), but you may be able to speculate based on your historical knowledge. Choose the questions (it could be several) that you think can best be used to analyze and reveal the meanings of your primary source. In your notes compose brief responses to these questions.
3. Now step back and make a more overall assessment that includes the basics of the artwork/monument/document (including its iconography/style/tone), its strengths and weaknesses, the historical questions it might speak to, and some conclusions about the significance of the artwork/monument/document?
Be a detective; consider this artwork/monument/document a “clue.” Read between the lines. This is not meant to be a summary or simple description of the artwork/monument/document. Try to say something meaningful about the artwork/monument/document’s significance – how it adds to our understanding of a particular episode of ancient history.
Avoid presentism. You should not focus on making comparisons/contrasts to the present day. Your job is not to decide whether an artwork/monument/document is good or bad, or whether the commissioner or author was right or wrong; rather, you should be seeking to understand the document’s form, function, and impact.
How to Start Your Search
These tips are specific for our general search, however, you can apply these same keyword search strategies to anywhere you do research. In the Summon search box above, type in keywords to get you started.
More Specific Search and Boolean Operators
Select Content Type
Filter Your Search Results
Refine Your Search
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