Online course

From Constantine to Charlemagne: Europe 300-800

Friday 23 September 2022 - Friday 9 December 2022

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Chart the changes of this turbulent period which witnessed the rise of Christianity and disintegration of the Western Roman Empire; from the Arch of Constantine to Hagia Sophia and Sutton Hoo.

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Dr Sally Dormer

Course Director Dr Sally Dormer

Dr Sally Dormer is a specialist medieval art historian and lecturer, with an M.A. in Medieval Art History and Ph.D. on Medieval manuscript illumination from the Courtauld Institute. Sally has taught for the Art Fund, the Arts Society, Art Pursuits, Cox & Kings, Ciceroni, Swan Hellenic, and Gresham College.

Thank you so much Sally! I enjoyed this course immensely and learned so much! Previous Constantine to Charlemagne Course Attendee

Course Overview

The Edict of Milan, issued in 313 granted Christianity tolerated status. As the Western Roman Empire collapsed, the Church flourished and a Christian visual iconography evolved, heavily reliant on pagan Antiquity.
In the Byzantine Empire, beliefs specific to the Eastern church, plus persistent influences from Antiquity and neighbouring states, produced a distinctive visual aesthetic. Islam’s dramatic territorial gains early in the 7th century provoked theological concerns that led to Iconoclasm (726-843); figurative holy images were destroyed, and artists moved west, effecting cultural exchange.

The demise of the Western Roman Empire caused a transfer of power to initially peripatetic, illiterate, and pagan, and subsequently, settled, literate, and Christian peoples. A patchwork of kingdoms was established by Visigoths in Spain, Ostrogoths and Lombards in Italy, and Anglo-Saxons in England. Their buildings and artefacts demonstrate regional styles, complex intellectual agendas, and considerable technical skill. In 800, Charlemagne, the Frankish king, unified his territorial possessions in present-day France, Germany, and Italy, attempting to recreate the Roman Empire.


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Membership Priority booking opens on Monday 27th June at 10am. General Booking opens on Monday 4th July at 10am

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Online course: From Constantine to Charlemagne: Europe 300-800

23 September 2022 - 9 December 2022


Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 9.30 - 17.30, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)