Islamic Leaders

Select two of the following three questions, answer them with essay-style responses typed in MS Word format or similar, and upload your essays to Blackboard. Each essay is limited to 500 words (1000 words total for the two essays), and therefore making your responses concise and focused is part of the challenge. 

A strong answer will do the following:

  • Draw on specific arguments made in the course reading
  • Draw on specific arguments from the course lectures
  • Utilize specific examples of architecture covered in lecture and/or reading to      make an argument


  1. 1. Buddhist and Hindu structures coexisted in the ancient South Asian religious center of Sanchi, exemplified by the Great Stupa and Temple 17. Describe these two in terms of their form, materials, use, and symbolic meanings/associations. How did political rulers, through patronage of architecture and other means, help to support the rise of Buddhism and subsequently Hinduism in this context?
  2. The monumental architectures of ancient Rome and Teotihuacan provide insight into the societies that made them. Choose one exemplary structure from each city, and compare them in terms of their form, materials, use, and symbolic meanings/associations. What does each tell us about the society that made them (their values, approach to governance, way of life)? 
  3. Through projects such as the Dome of the Rock and the Great Mosque of Damascus, early Islamic leaders sought to project their power while also negotiating between the ascendant Muslim faith culture and the pre-existing Christian faith culture. Describe each in terms of their form, materials, use, and symbolic meanings/associations, emphasizing how each addressed the “palimpsest” of the previous cultural meanings, especially the most recent layer of Christian meanings. 



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