Roman Syria  Mosaic depicting a rooster, AD 450–550  Gift of Professor and Mrs. Meyer Abrams Cornell University Johnson Museum of Art
Although many mosaics enriched the floors of Roman buildings, much like carpets, they were sometimes placed on walls as well. This mosaic is believed to have originated in an early Christian church in Homs, Syria. In Christian iconography, roosters symbolize Christ’s resurrection because they are the first to greet the dawn.
Studies spanning more than a millennium of languages and cultures

Medieval Studies Program

The Program in Medieval Studies combines the best aspects of an interdisciplinary program with the focused training required for academic careers in a variety of traditional disciplines. The program’s faculty members are drawn from nearly every humanities department at Cornell, offering expertise in disciplines and area studies spanning more than a millennium of languages and cultures—from Old and Middle English literature to Byzantine monuments, from Icelandic sagas to Andalusian architecture, from medieval Latin literature and philosophy to Islamic legal history.

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50 Years of Medieval Studies at Cornell

In 2016, the Medieval Studies Program celebrated its 50th anniversary. Founding faculty member, Alice Colby-Hall, noted that "Cornell’s medievalists and their students are as enthusiastic as ever and still discover groundbreaking connections between the different disciplines within the field".

Current Program Director, David Powers, added, "program faculty study the medieval period from wide-ranging perspectives in an effort to better understand the human condition. Many of the issues we explore in medieval studies resonate with issues that confront modern society."

Click here to read more about our 50th anniversary celebration.