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Article

Italian church belfry, often freestanding.

Article

Alison Manges Nogueira

Monumental, marble paschal Candlestick of the late 12th to early 13th century with reliefs signed by Nicolaus de Angelo and Vassallettus now in S Paolo fuori le Mura, Rome. The imposing column (h. 5.6 m), adorned with six registers of reliefs and surmounted by a fluted candle holder, rests upon a base of sculpted lions, sphinxes, rams and female figures. The upper and lower reliefs bear vegetal and ornamental patterns while the three central registers portray ...

Article

Don Denny

Numerical list of concordant passages in the Gospels, devised in the early 4th century by the historian Eusebios of Caesarea. Such tables indicate passages to be found in all four Gospels, those found in two or three of the Gospels and those unique to a particular Gospel. In medieval manuscripts they appear as a series of pages, varying from seven to as many as nineteen, placed at the front of Gospel books and often included, preceding the Gospels, in full ...

Article

Casket  

John N. Lupia

A small case or lidded box for storing various objects. (For reliquary caskets see Reliquary, §I, 1 and Romanesque, §VII.) Among the early types are nuptial caskets, which functioned as courtship gifts or marriage chests, miniature precursors of the Italian Cassone. They were popular from the 4th century ...

Article

John Osborne

Underground burial complex employed principally between c. 200 ce and the 6th century, notably in Rome. They were used by Christian, Jewish, and various pagan communities, all of whom practiced inhumation.

The term catacomb is derived from the Greek name for the area near the church of S. Sebastiano on the Via Appia south of Rome (...

Article

Spanish and Latin American cathedrals are distinguished by their broad hall-like interiors, their gilded and polychrome Retables, the central position of the enclosed choir (coro), and the pairs of monumental organs that flank each side of the choir. The construction of twin organs reached its apogee in the middle of the 18th century. Typically, these organs have two façades, one facing towards the choir and one facing out towards the lateral aisles. The earliest extant example of this design is found in the double-façade organ (...

Article

John Lowden

Byzantine illuminated manuscript (Moscow, Hist. Mus. MS. D.29). It is a small Marginal Psalter (195×150 mm) of 169 folios, in which broad spaces were left blank on the outer edges of the pages to be filled with numerous unframed illustrations, glossing the biblical text in various ways (...

Article

Robert G. Calkins

As applied to the Christian liturgy, a book containing the words and music for the chants sung during the celebration of Mass or the Divine Office. Several types of choir-book evolved during the Middle Ages. A Gradual contains all the chants sung by the choir during the celebration of the Mass. These normally include the antiphons for the Introit (opening phrase), Offertory, and Communion chants, as well as the gradual (an antiphon or response sung between the reading of the Epistle and Gospel), after which the book was named. The Gradual was usually written in large format so that it could be placed on a lectern in front of the choir and be read by all the members. Lines of musical notation usually alternate with those of the text and with dense passages of instructions, written in smaller script. The organization of the Gradual is similar to that of the ...

Article

Charles Tracy

Places in the choir of a church set aside for the daily use of the clergy. They are usually made of wood and are found only in churches of the Western tradition. Choir-stalls were essentially places for standing, the clergy being required to do so during most of the services. Each stall consists of a folding seat, turning on hinges or pivots, with a ...

Article

Marina Vidas

French illuminated manuscript (295×140 mm, 174 fols; Copenhagen, Kon. Bib., GKS 1606 4°), made in Paris c. 1230 with later additions. Its original textual components are: a Calendar, the Psalms, Canticles, Hymns, Litany, and Collects. In its present state the pictorial programme consists of 24 calendrical medallions representing the signs of the zodiac and the labours of the month and 24 Christological miniatures on burnished grounds, preceding the Psalter proper. The Psalter text is illuminated with eight historiated initials, of which six show Davidian subjects, as well as with many decorative initials and line endings. The manuscript is named after Princess Christina of Norway (...

Article

Covered, chalice-shaped liturgical vessel, used in churches of the Catholic (and some Orthodox) traditions to contain reserved, consecrated hosts.

The word ciborium is supposedly derived from kiborion, the seed-pod of the Egyptian water lily, which indicates its protective function; a derivation from the Latin cibus...

Article

G. van Hemeldonck

Monumental structure of wood, stone, or metal consisting of four or more columns supporting an ornamented roof; this is sometimes a cupola, as in the Byzantine tradition, or it may be pyramidal or a crossover pitched roof. The term is often used synonymously with baldacchino, although, strictly speaking, a ciborium is fixed, frequently on a raised base, while a baldacchino is movable (the most famous example—the ...

Article

Elizabeth C. Parker

Double-sided Latin cross (h. 577 mm, New York, Cloisters, 63.12) that is a masterpiece of Romanesque carving in walrus ivory. Its history is unknown before the 1950s, when it belonged to the art dealer Ante Topic-Mimara of Zagreb, formerly in Yugoslavia, from whom it was acquired for The Cloisters Collection by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in ...

Article

Pippin Michelli

Decorated comb, usually of ivory, used ceremonially by the celebrant before Mass in both Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. The ritual combing of priests’ hair may have begun when Christianity became the Roman state religion early in the 4th century ad, but evidence is lacking. Most combs survive with insufficient context to prove their liturgical use, but all those likely to have been so used have a similar form: they are made of a single rectangular piece with teeth along both long edges, and the quadrangle or lunette at the centre is often carved with Christian motifs (...

Article

Iris Kockelbergh

Closet-like piece of furniture used in the Roman Catholic Church and some other liturgically ‘high’ denominations for auricular confession. Confessionals are always made out of wood, since it was thought inappropriate to use more costly materials for non-liturgical church furnishings. Several types of confessional were in existence during the Middle Ages. In the 12th century the priest was seated while the penitent knelt in front of him. From the 14th century in ...

Article

Term for one of the dated series of ivory diptychs (a hinged pair of oblong panels) that were issued by consuls of the Roman Empire on their succession to office. The earliest surviving consular diptych is that of Flavius Felix, consul of the West in ...

Article

Heather Pulliam

French illuminated manuscript (Amiens, Bib. Mun., MS. 18) containing the Gallican Psalter, canticles, litanies, and Fides Athanasii in Latin, in Maurdramnus script and made in or near Corbie c. 800. Elaborate initials, approximately 60 of which contain human figures, begin each psalm and canticle. The illumination fuses Merovingian, Byzantine, Sasanian, Insular, Lombard, and Carolingian styles. The iconography is multivalent and ranges from biblical persons to monks at prayer. Like the Utrecht and Stuttgart Psalters, the Corbie Psalter’s complex word–image relationships offer a rare glimpse into early approaches to Psalter illustration. The manuscript, along with the Vespasian Psalter, St Petersburg Bede, Gellone Sacramentary, and the Book of Kells, provides a significant witness to the development of historiated initials and predicts forms and motifs found in Romanesque initials....

Article

Crosier  

Pippin Michelli

Crook or pastoral staff of a bishop, abbot, or abbess. It was originally a wooden staff used by itinerant monks, priests and bishops (and also teachers), possibly as an aid to walking and also as a badge of office. The use of such staves is first recorded during the 4th century ...

Article

Cross  

Catherine Oakes, John N. Lupia, Roger Stalley, Donna L. Sadler, Nicola Coldstream, Hilary Richardson and Regine Marth

Symbol of Christianity, widely represented in art in a great variety of types, contexts and materials. This article is concerned with the cross as a three-dimensional object, both of the monumental and portable type. Although in its narrow sense the term denotes a cross without the ...

Article

Peter Springer

Device for supporting a cross on the altar; by extension, any device for supporting or fixing a cross at or near the altar. The eastward-facing position of the priest at the altar is a prerequisite but not the actual cause of the placing of the cross on the altar table; it is rather that the characteristic affinity of the cross foot with the iconography of the altar (of the cross or the lay altar) generally makes it seem like a continuation of it. As far back as the 5th and 6th centuries there is evidence in ...