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Algarve  

Kirk Ambrose

Southern-most region of mainland Portugal. Its name is derived from ‘the West’ in Arabic. This region has relatively few medieval buildings: devastating earthquakes in 1722 and 1755 contributed to these losses, though many buildings were deliberately destroyed during the Middle Ages. For example, in the 12th century the Almoravids likely razed a pilgrimage church, described in Arabic sources, at the tip of the cape of S Vicente. Mosques at Faro, Silves and Tavira, among others, appear to have been levelled to make room for church construction after the Reconquest of the region, completed in ...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time....

Article

Mario D’Onofrio

Saint, pope, and patron. His pontificate was particularly important in the context of the Carolingian Renaissance, owing to his copious building activity and the impetus that he gave to the art of mosaic. His is the longest biography in the Liber pontificalis. His election as pope was disputed by factions of the Roman lay nobility. In 799 he sought the protection of Charlemagne at Paderborn, returning in triumph to Rome to crown him Emperor of the Romans in Old St Peter’s on Christmas night 800....

Article

Massimiliano David

Massimiliano David

Situated at the end of the Esquiline Hill and formerly known as S Maria ad Praesepem, S Maria Maggiore was traditionally founded by Pope Liberius (reg 352–66) and financed by Johannes, a rich citizen, after a miraculous summer snowfall. It is more likely, however, that it was founded in the early 5th century by Sixtus III, whose name appears in the mosaics of the triumphal arch in front of the apse. The church had a nave and aisles, the nave more than twice as wide as the aisles, and there was a single apse. Monolithic Ionic columns supporting a continuous entablature divided the nave from the aisles; above these, clerestory windows corresponded to the intercolumniations below. The windows were flanked by Corinthian pilasters aligned over the Ionic columns of the colonnade, and these were inset with a double tier of stucco colonnettes with fluting that spiralled right and left. Beneath each window was an aedicule encasing a mosaic panel....

Article

Vatican  

Mario D’Onofrio, Ronald Baxter, Hans Hubert and Fabrizio Mancinelli

The Vatican City, covering an area of less than half a square kilometre, was created an independent sovereign state under the terms of the Lateran Treaty of 1929. Surrounded by a high wall, it includes St Peter’s Basilica, with its piazza by Bernini, and the Vatican Palace and gardens, official residence of the pope and administrative centre of the state. Within the Vatican Palace are the world famous Vatican museums....