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Article

Peter Grossmann

Site of a Christian city and pilgrimage centre in the Maryūt Desert, c. 45 km south-west of Alexandria, Egypt. It grew up around the shrine of St Menas, who was martyred during the persecution of the Christians instigated by Diocletian (reg 285–305). The ancient name of the site is not known, and the position of the saint’s grave had been long forgotten until, according to legend, several miracle cures led to its rediscovery. The place then quickly developed into an increasingly major centre of pilgrimage where, among other things, the so-called Menas ampules were manufactured as pilgrim flasks and achieved particular renown. The first excavations of the site were undertaken by ...

Article

Ahenny  

Roger Stalley

Site of an obscure Early Christian settlement formerly known as Kilclispeen (St Crispin’s Church) in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. The only remains are two outstanding stone crosses and the base of a third (c. 750–900), which are situated in a graveyard below the village. The crosses belong to a well-defined regional group and were constructed of three characteristic elements: a square base with sloping sides, a shaft with an unusually wide ring and a peculiar, rather ill-fitting, conical cap (the latter missing on the south cross). With its capstone, the north cross measures 3.7 m in height. The form of the Ahenny crosses is emphasized by a bold cable ornament along the outer contours. Projecting from the main faces are sculpted bosses, the most prominent feature of the ‘Ahenny school’. The ring and shaft of the crosses are covered with dense patterns of carved ornament, including interlace, spirals, frets, entangled beasts and interlocking men. Much of this decoration can be compared with the metalwork and manuscript illumination of the period, and it appears that the sculptors were in effect transposing altar or processional crosses into stone. With the addition of pigment, the analogy with metalwork would have been complete. In contrast to the shafts and rings, the bases bear figure sculpture in low relief. That on the north cross is best preserved and represents Adam and Eve with the animals in the Garden of Eden, a chariot procession (a theme repeated on other Irish crosses), seven ecclesiastics (possibly symbolizing Christ’s mission to the Apostles) and an enigmatic funeral procession with a headless corpse....

Article

Bawit  

C. Walters

Site on the west bank of the River Nile, c. 16 km west of Daryūt in the province of Asyūt, Egypt. A large monastery with rich sculptural and painted decoration originally lay in the desert 1 km to the west. According to tradition it was founded by the monk ...

Article

Butrint  

T. F. C. Blagg

Site in southern Albania, set on a hill beside a coastal lagoon connected to the sea by a natural channel. The city flourished in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine times. Excavation and display of its extensive and deserted remains, begun by the Italians in 1928, have been continued by Albanian archaeologists; finds are displayed in the site museum (renovated ...

Article

Susan Pinto Madigan

Site of an early Byzantine city located 30 km south-west of Leskovac in Serbia. The name means ‘the emperor’s fortress’, and it can almost certainly be identified with Justiniana Prima, which, according to Prokopios (b c. ad 500), Justinian I founded c. ad...

Article

Yu. P. Kalashnik

Site on the south-west of the Crimean peninsula, near Sevastopol’. Its position on the Black Sea trade routes determined its commercial importance. It was founded by the people of Herakleia Pontica jointly with the Delians c. 422/421 bc and became an important state in the 4th and 3rd centuries ...

Article

Malcolm A. R. Colledge, Joseph Gutmann and Andrew R. Seager

Site of a Hellenistic and Roman walled city in eastern Syria, on a plateau between two gorges on the west bank of the middle Euphrates. The name combines elements that are Semitic (Dura) and Macedonian Greek (Europos). Dura Europos was founded by the Seleucids in the late ...

Article

Ephesos  

Thorsten Opper, M. Rautmann, Anton Bammer, Ulrike Muss and Mark Whittow

Site of an important Classical city on the west coast of Turkey, c. 2 km south-west of modern Selçuk. It has been occupied since perhaps as early as the 10th century bc, and its Late Classical Temple of Artemis (Artemision), built on the site of an earlier temple from the Archaic period, was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World....

Article

Geraki  

G. Dimitrokallis and N. Moutsopoulos

Site of ancient Geronthrai in Laconia, Greece, 40 km south-east of Sparta and occupied by a large modern village. The ancient acropolis is surrounded by Cyclopean walls of the Mycenaean period (c. 1300 bc), well-preserved to the north and east. The medieval castle of Geraki, which was built by ...

Article

Roger Stalley

Site of an early Christian monastery in Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Set in a steep valley on the eastern edge of the Wicklow Mountains, the monastery owed its origin to St Kevin (d ad 618), who chose this wild, lonely spot as the site of a hermitage. A century later it had become a flourishing monastery, teeming with pilgrims and students; it retained its vitality until the end of the 12th century despite the sequence of fires, plunderings, and other disasters mentioned in the annals. The chief relics of the ancient monastery are an impressive round tower and the ruins of at least nine ...

Article

Gortyn  

Antonino Di Vita and Dimitris Tsougarakis

Site of a city on the northern edge of the Mesara Plain in southern Crete, c. 6 km north-east of Moíres, which flourished c. 700 bcad 670. The westernmost of the hills enclosing it to the north served as its acropolis, where, following Neolithic occupation, there was a Bronze Age settlement after the ...

Article

Daria Ferrero De Bernardi and Kalinka Huber

Site in south-west Anatolia, Turkey. The town was built on a travertine terrace formed by sediments of hot mineral-rich springs, overlooking the Meander (Turk. Menderes) Valley. It was founded in the 2nd century bc by the Pergamene kings at an important strategic position; it became part of the Roman province of Asia in ...

Article

Jelling  

James Graham-Campbell

Site of a 10th-century ad royal burial in Jutland, Denmark. The find gave its name to a major style of Viking art, often spelt ‘Jellinge’ in English (see Viking art, §II, 1, (v)). The royal Danish monuments at Jelling constitute one of the most impressive Viking-period sites in Scandinavia. The monuments and their associated artefacts are of central importance for the characterization and chronology of 10th-century Viking art, both because of their high status and quality, and for the fact that they span the change from paganism to Christianity in a known historical context. They comprise an empty burial mound (the North Mound, begun winter 958–9), a mound without a grave (the South Mound, completed ...

Article

Korykos  

Mark Whittow

Site of a Roman, Byzantine and Armenian city on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, 25 km north-east of Silifke (anc. Seleucia ad Calycadnum) in the province of Mersin. Although Korykos was founded in the Hellenistic period (before 197 bc), it was of little importance until the 4th century ...

Article

Roger Stalley

Site of an Irish monastery, Co. Louth, celebrated in the annals in the 10th and 11th centuries as a seat of learning. A round bell-tower, two small ruined churches, and three sculptured crosses remain. Two of the crosses, the ‘West cross’ and ‘Muiredach’s cross’, belong to the group of ...

Article

Mystras  

Melita Emmanuel

Site of the Byzantine capital of the Morea (Peloponnese, Greece), on a foothill of the Taygetos range, c. 5 km south-west of Sparta. It was originally called Myzithras, but this name was later corrupted to Mystras (‘mistress’).

The castle of Mystras was founded in 1249...

Article

Oseberg  

James Graham-Campbell

Site in Vestfold, Norway, some finds from which gave their name to a style of Viking-age art that was employed throughout Scandinavia. The Oseberg grave, situated on the west coast of the Oslo Fjord, near Tønsberg, was excavated in 1904. A large mound covered a ship in which had been constructed a wooden burial chamber containing the bodies of two women and a wide range of grave goods, including transport, animals, food, and domestic utensils (...

Article

Andrew Poulter

Site in Bulgaria, 15 km south-west of Plovdiv. Under Roman rule it served as an important religious centre, with dedications set up to such Greek divinities as Asklepios, Hygieia and Hera, to the eastern Cybele and Mithras and to the Thracian horseman god. By c...

Article

Preslav  

Andrew Poulter

Site in Bulgaria c. 20 km south-west of Shoumen. Although a settlement existed here as early as the 4th or 3rd millennium bc, it did not come to prominence until the late 9th century ad. Excavations begun in the 1920s have revealed over 30 churches and monasteries in and around the site, some of which were founded by King ...

Article

Rusafa  

Thilo Ulbert

Site of an ancient city in northern Syria c. 200 km east of Aleppo and 30 km south of the River Euphrates, with both Byzantine and Islamic remains. Although it was known from earlier travellers’ reports, full descriptions of the monuments were not published until the early ...