A course on the history of Arabs and Islam

01 de julho de 2016

São Paulo – The connection between State and religion shown through relevant images from world history is the topic of the course History in Icons, running from July 18 to 28 at the Sacred Art Museum in São Paulo. The course will cover Ancient Egypt, the Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula, and the pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.

“The idea is to work with images everyone has seen before, but never took the time to figure out what they mean,” explains the course’s professor Plínio Freire Gomes, the holder of a master’s degree in History from the University of São Paulo (USP).

The first part of the course will focus on the bust of Nefertiti, an Ancient Egypt queen; a coin with the bust of Alexander Magnus, who was king of Macedonia over 300 years before Christ; the colossus of Constantine, a Roman emperor; and the Kaaba, a black stone in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, that is a pilgrimage spot for thousands of Muslims each year.

The second part of the course will draw on icons like Alhambra, a palace in Granada, Spain, built in the 13th and 14th centuries during the Islamic rule in the region; the Vitruvian Man, a drawing made by Leonardo da Vinci in the 15th century; the frontispiece to Thomas Hobbes’ book Leviathan (a giant whose body is composed of thousands of smaller people); and the colonnades in Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican, which dates back to the 17th century.

The professor will tackle the meanings, the political and the religious contexts in which these images came into being. “The course will recount how the connection between religion and political power took place in the past. It is a very important subject in discussing Islamic fundamentalism, and Brazil’s bancada da Bíblia [the religious congressmen set),” explains Freire.

Quick facts
Course History in Icons
July 18 to 28, Monday to Friday, 3pm to 5:15pm
Where: São Paulo Sacred Art Museum
Avenida Tiradentes, 676 - Luz - Tiradentes Metro Station
Price: BRL 400 (USD 118)
Enrolment by email at
For additional information call (55 11) 5627-5393

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum