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Byzantine monastery founded c. 1090 in the Kyrenia district of Cyprus, c. 7 km north-west of Kythrea. Its katholikon, which was demolished in 1891 except for its east and north walls, was originally an inscribed octagon and had a narthex with projecting absidioles. (This arrangement was also adopted for the monastery church of Panagia Apsinthiotissa, 3.5 km north-west of Koutsoventis.) The frescoes of the parekklesion (...

Article

Byzantine church c. 40 km south-west of Nicosia, Cyprus. It is decorated with a nearly complete programme of outstanding frescoes, which were restored by Winfield between 1968 and 1973; an inscribed painting of the Holy Tile above the door bears the date December 1192. The church may have been built originally as a private chapel, for its distance from the village suggests that it did not serve as the community church. The monastery buildings that enclose it were added later at an unrecorded date and were still occupied when a Russian pilgrim, ...

Article

Byzantine church on the Karpas peninsula of Cyprus c. 85 km north-east of Nicosia. The original basilica church was probably constructed in the late 5th century and restored after the Arab raids of the mid-7th. A second major restoration, perhaps after an earthquake c. 1160...

Article

Sarah Morgan

Term for a miraculous image (untraced) of Christ, believed to date from the 1st century ad. It is one of a number of holy images ‘not made by human hands’ whose origins are obscured in legends of the early Christian East. In the late 6th century the image was first mentioned as a miraculous icon. The fully developed 8th-century version of the legend relates how King ...

Article

Maskana  

J.-C. Margueron

Small town in north Syria on the south bank of the River Euphrates near an ancient site known in antiquity as Emar, in Byzantine times as Barbalissos and in Islamic times as Balis. It lay on an ancient trade route between the Mediterranean, Anatolia and Mesopotamia. The site was excavated in ...

Article

Milan  

Alessandra Anselmi, Marco Carminati, Giovanni Valagussa, Janice Shell, Anna Maria Massinelli, Luciana Arbace, Giovanni Battista Sannazzaro, Lia Di Giacomo, Christine Verzar, Dale Kinney and Franz Rickert

Italian city and capital of Lombardy. A Celtic settlement that became a Roman colony in 89 bc, it served as the capital of the Western Empire from ad 280 to 402 and also became a prominent Early Christian centre under Archbishop Ambrose (reg ad...

Article

Mosul  

Saeed Al-Dewachi

City in northern Iraq. Located on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient city of Nineveh, Mosul is surrounded by fertile plains. It replaced Nineveh under Byzantine rule and was conquered in ad 637 by Muslim Arabs, who used it as a base from which to conquer Azerbaijan and Armenia and as an important entrepôt for overland trade between Iran and Syria. It served as the capital of the Hamdanid (...

Article

Srdjan Djurić

Byzantine monastery in the Republic of Macedonia, 5 km south-west of Skopje. It was founded by the imperial prince Alexios Komnenos, the grandson of Alexios I Komnenos (reg 1081–1112), and the date 1164 is given on the lintel of the church’s main door. Little remains of the conventual buildings, but the church, which was restored in the 1960s, contains some of the finest frescoes in Macedonia, executed by a 12th-century artist from Constantinople. It is cross-in-square in plan, with a domed octagonal drum and four smaller square drums rising from the centre and corner bays respectively. The eastern bays serve as forechoirs of the main apse and are accessible from both the altar and nave, while the western pair of bays form separate chapels accessible only from the narthex. These architectural features are similar to those found in other churches of the Komnenian period. The exterior of the Nerezi church is built in cloisonné masonry with colonnettes and carved capitals decorating the recessed windows. The sculptural decoration inside the church includes an elaborately carved iconostasis and a plaster frame around the fresco-icon of the church’s patron, St Panteleimon, depicting peacocks drinking from a kantharos....

Article

Robert Ousterhout

Generic Greek name for the subsidiary chapel of a Byzantine church, as distinct from the main structure variously called ekklesia, naos or katholikon. Parekklesia vary considerably in size, position, architectural form and decoration. They frequently form an integral part of the overall church design, and many are distinguished externally by a dome. Often ...

Article

Debra Higgs Strickland

Early Christian allegorical and moralizing text about animals originally composed in Greek by an unknown author, probably during the 2nd century ad in Alexandria. The precise meaning of the name, Physiologus, is unclear, but it has been translated as ‘The Naturalist’ or ‘Natural Philosopher’. The text’s narrator discourses on the natural world, combining ancient animal myth and lore with biblical references in order to draw allegorical parallels between animal and human behaviour with references to Christ, the Devil and the Jews. For example, the hoopoe chicks’ diligent and loving care of their ageing parents is held up as an admirable example of obeying God’s commandment to ‘honour thy father and mother’. The panther, whose sweet breath attracts all animals except the dragon, is likened to the sweetness of Christ, which attracts everyone but the Devil. The unclean hyena, known to change its sex from male to female and back again, is compared to ‘the duplicitous Jews, who first worshiped the true God but were later given over to idolatry’. As testimony to its wide popularity, the Greek ...