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Çigdem Kafesçioglu

City in north-west Turkey. Located on the northern foothills of Mysian Olympus (Mt Ulu Dağ), the ancient city of Prusa was a spa town of note and the capital of Bithynia. The city prospered under Roman and Byzantine rule and changed hands frequently between Christians and Muslims in the 11th and 12th centuries. In ...


British writer and traveller. His travels in Greece in 1925–7 resulted in two books, The Station and The Byzantine Achievement, in which he presented readers brought up on the culture of Classical antiquity with a novel view of the importance of the civilization of Byzantium and the seminal influence of its art on the later development of European painting. In ...


S. J. Vernoit

Austrian historian of Byzantine, Islamic and Indian art. He studied art history and archaeology at the universities of Vienna and Graz and in 1902 completed his doctorate at Graz under Josef Strzygowski and Wilhelm Gurlitt, a study of the paintings in a manuscript of Dioskurides’ ...


Rahmi Hüseyin Ünal

Small town in central Anatolia (Turkey), c. 100 km south-east of Sivas. Founded in the mid-9th century ad and known as Tephrikè to the Byzantines, the town was taken by the Saljuqs of Rum after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. In the 12th century it came into the possession of the Mangujak (Mengüček) Turkomans, under whom several remarkable buildings and fortifications were erected. The Kale (‘citadel’) Mosque, constructed for the Mangujak sovereign ...



Lale Babaoğlu

City in eastern Turkey. Located on the main route between Iran and Turkey, it has been an important military and commercial centre since antiquity. Possession of the city passed between the Byzantines, who knew it as Theodosiopolis, and the Arabs, who called it Arz(an) al-rum (‘Arz(an) of the Byzantines’) after a nearby commercial centre. In ...


British museum curator and art historian. After taking a degree at Oxford, he spent a season in Istanbul with David Talbot-Rice at the British Academy excavations of the Great Palace of the Byzantine emperors. In 1928 he joined the staff of the Department of Printed Books at the British Museum; in ...



Mark Whittow and Çiğdem Kafesçioğlu

Turkish town in the eastern bay of Lake Iznik (anc. Ascania), with important Byzantine and early Ottoman remains. The earliest settlements on the site date to the 1st millennium bc. In 316 bc Antigonos Monophthalmos, a general of Alexander the Great, expanded the existing town and called it Antigonia. It was conquered by ...


City in Tunisia. It was founded in ad 670 by ‛Uqba ibn Nafi‛, the Arab conqueror of North Africa, on the site of a ruined Roman or Byzantine town; the site, slightly elevated above the great interior plain, afforded protection from surprise attacks and floods. In the 9th century Kairouan was the capital of the semi-independent Aghlabid dynasty (...



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 ...



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 (...