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Peter Grossmann

[Abū Mīnā]

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 Kaufmann in 1905–7. Further excavations have been directed successively by the Coptic Museum in Cairo (1951), Schläger (1963 and 1964), Wolfgang Müller-Wiener (1965–7) and Peter Grossmann (since 1969).

The earliest archaeological remains date to the late 4th century, although the grave itself was in an older hypogeum. The first martyrium basilica erected over the grave dates to the first half of the 5th century and was rapidly enlarged by various reconstructions and extensions. Around the turn of the 5th and 6th centuries, the Great Basilica was added to the east in the form of a transept-basilica, making it the largest church in Egypt (...


Pina Belli D’Elia

[Lat. Acheruntia]

Town and commune in the province of Potenza, southern Italy. Known for its strategic position on top of a rocky hill, it was a Roman colony and subsequently coveted by Byzantines, Goths, and Lombards. During this time it was under the authority of Benevento, and later on Salerno. It was conquered in 1043 when the city came under the rule of Asclettino I, Count of Acerenza (d 1045), brother of Ranulph, Count of Aversa (reg 1030–45), and then from 1061 Acerenza was under the control of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia (reg 1059–85). It was at this time that Pope Nicholas II (reg 1058–61) elevated the city to an archbishopric. The first archbishop was Arnaldo, from Cluny, and in 1080, when the relics of St Canius were discovered, he founded a new cathedral in the centre of town, which is now the main monument. In ...


José Luis Hernando Garrido

Spanish town in the province of Palencia. The chief monument in the town is the monastery of S María la Real, which lies on the banks of the River Pisuerga, close to the Cantabrian Mountains. It is in the former diocese of Burgos, and is typical of other foundations of the Premonstratensian Canons regular. The oldest parts of the monstery, which date to the 1160s, still show evidence of superb workmanship. During this time the church was built to the height of the transept and had a covered cloister. In 1169 Alfonso VIII, King of Castile (reg 1158–1214) gave the monastery to Retuerta Abbey. The second building phase ended in 1200 and shows influences from Burgos and Navarre even though the building is similar to Cistercian houses such as that at San Andrés de Arroyo, also in the province of Palencia. The third building phase dates to the second and third decades of the 13th century and the style compares to that of the monasteries of Las Huelgas, Retuerta, and Bujedo de Candepajares. It was in this phase that expert Angevin architects as well as local craftsmen proficient in late Romanesque designs worked together....


Whitney S. Stoddard

[Lat. aquae mortuae: ‘dead waters’]

Town in Gard, southern France, in the north-western section of the Rhône Delta or Camargue. It is one of the largest surviving medieval fortified towns. Although documents show that there was a port on the site of Aigues-Mortes in the late 12th century and first third of the 13th, the town was officially not founded until the Charter of 1246, which exempted inhabitants from taxes. Louis IX (reg 1226–70) conceived of the walled city. He wanted a port to establish a royal presence in, and access to, the Mediterranean, and he needed a fortified town to protect crusaders, pilgrims and merchants, providing a safe haven from which to launch crusades, as well as a commercial centre for trade between the Levant and northern France. The only land available for this purpose lay between that owned by the bishop of Maguelonne and king of Aragon (which included the region around Montpellier) on the west, and Provence controlled by Emperor Frederick II on the east. Negotiations with the Benedictine monks of Psalmodi for the acquisition of land for the walled city began in ...



Franz Rickert

[Lat. Albingaunum; Albium Ingaunum; Album Ingaunum]

Italian town and bishopric, 72 km south-west of Genoa. It was a port in the Roman period, and its street grid-plan has partly survived, but, with the silting of the River Centa, it is now 1 km inland. Pottery and sections of the hull of a merchant ship that sank offshore c. 80–60 bc are preserved in the Museo Navale Romano in the Palazzo Peloso-Cepolla (13th century). The Civico Museo Inguano is housed in the Palazzo Vecchio del Comune (1387 and 1421). The cathedral, which was built in the 11th century and enlarged in the early 14th century, has a galleried apse and a campanile built in 1391.

The most important monument, however, is the 5th-century baptistery. Its ground-plan is decagonal without and octagonal within, the alternating rectangular and semicircular niches being flanked by columns. The original cupola was destroyed in the 19th century. The edge of the octagonal font at the centre of the hall has starlike points and was surmounted by a baldacchino. The only mosaics that survive are on the front wall of the building and on the vaulting of the presbytery niche. Although the latter has been heavily restored, it can be dated to the 5th century. At the centre of the vault is a christogram comprising the letters A and ...


Judith McKenzie, R. R. R. Smith, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. H. Enklaar, Dominic Montserrat, C. Walters, and Wladyslaw B. Kubiak

revised by Gordon Campbell, Sheila S. Blair, and Jonathan M. Bloom

Egyptian city situated on the Mediterranean coast west of the delta of the River Nile, capital of Egypt from c. 320 bc to ad 642, seaport and centre of ancient Greek culture.

Judith McKenzie

Alexandria was founded in 331 bc by Alexander, on the site of the small Egyptian settlement of Rhakotis. Its location, with access by canal to the River Nile, enabled it to become an important and highly prosperous trading centre, and by c. 320 bc Alexandria was the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt. During Ptolemaic times (304–30 bc) it became a major centre of learning, with famous scholars of literature, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and geography, and it played a major role in the transmission of Greek culture to the East.

With the defeat of the last Ptolemaic monarch, Cleopatra VII (51–30 bc), by Octavian (later called Augustus) at the Battle of Actium in 30...



Antonio Milone

Italian city in the province of Salerno, Campania. One of the principal mercantile cities of the medieval period, it was ruled by an oligarchy of merchants who were active throughout the entire Mediterranean. The city, which was founded in late antiquity, still has traces of its Roman past. Documentary sources record that the city was founded by Roman patricians after a shipwreck (Chronicon Salernitanum, 10th century). Amalfi has been documented as a bishopric since 596, and it was elevated to an archbishopric in 978. The oligarchy that controlled the city first rose to power in the 9th century and was in control until the arrival of the Normans, when Amalfi was sacked twice by the Pisans (1135 and 1137). In 1208 Amalfi received the body of the apostle St Andrew, which was brought from Constantinople due to the efforts of the papal nuncio there, Cardinal Pietro Capuano....


Carl D. Sheppard

[Fr. Andreville]

Town in Elis, Greece, 55 km south-west of Patras. As Andreville it was the unfortified capital of the Frankish principality of the Morea from the 13th to the 15th century. Andravida, the strongly fortified port of Clarence (modern Killini), and Chlemoutsi Castle formed a triangle at the north-western tip of the Peloponnese designed to control the hinterland and the sea lanes. The only physical evidence of the Franks at Andravida are the remains of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, in which Prince Geoffrey Villehardouin I and his barons met to determine policy and justice.

The cathedral is the only surviving example of a rib-vaulted Gothic church in Greece. The extant remains consist of three square-ended eastern chapels and the foundations of a nave of at least ten bays. There was no transept. The building was of sandstone, with re-used ancient granite columns in the nave. The first building campaign started during the reign of Prince Geoffrey Villehardouin I (...


Heinrich Magirius

German city in Saxony. It is particularly known for its Late Gothic hall church, the Annenkirche, and for its pottery.

Heinrich Magirius

The church was built after the foundation of the city in 1496/7 by Herzog Georg of Saxony, following the discovery of silver near by. Herzog Georg endowed the church and personally appointed the architects. The building, which was integrated into the regular plan of the city, was probably begun in 1499 by Conrad Pflüger, the highest-ranking Master of the Works in the Duchy. On Pflüger’s death in 1508 direction of the works was taken over by Peter Ulrich von Pirna (d 1513–14); the roof was built in 1512, the piers from 1514 to 1517. In 1515 Jacob Haylmann took over as Master of the Works, and the galleries and the imaginative vaults with patterns of loops and stars were built following his designs. The transept-like annexe to the south side, built in ...


M. Rautmann, Katherine M. D. Dunbabin, and Mine Kadiroğlu

[now Antakya]

Greek and Roman city on the River Orontes in south-east Turkey (ancient Syria), which flourished from c. 300 bc to the 7th century ad.

Its advantageous site on the edge of the Amuk Plain at the foot of Mt Silpius, commanding important trade routes linking Anatolia with Palestine and the Mediterranean with inland Syria, attracted the attention of Seleukos I (reg 305–281 bc), who founded the city (c. 300 bc) as the capital of his Syrian empire. With its port at Seleucia and residential suburb at Daphne, Antioch prospered as capital of the Roman province of Syria from 64 bc. The city enjoyed the attentions of Roman benefactors from Julius Caesar onwards and attained the height of its prosperity during the 2nd to the 7th century ad, becoming the diocesan capital of Oriens. Its influence was particularly strong in early Christian affairs: Paul and Barnabas were active at Antioch, while Peter was regarded as its first bishop. ...


Franz Rickert

Roman and Early Christian city at the east end of the plain of the Veneto, c. 90 km north-east of Venice and 5 km from the Adriatic coast. Founded as a Roman colony in 181 bc, it received full town status in 89 bc and became the regional capital of Venetia et Histria. It was strategically sited on the River Natissa, which was navigable to the sea, and at the intersection of routes leading north-west over the Alps and north-east to the Balkans. Written sources indicate that several emperors, including Constantine the Great, had a residence in Aquileia; from ad 294 to the 5th century it also had its own mint. In 313 it became a bishopric and in 381 it was the venue of a council before which followers of Arianism were tried. Civil wars and the invasions of the Huns (452) and the Lombards (568) led to the migration of most of the population and the transference of the see to Grado....



Axel Bolvig


Danish city and port in the east coast of Jutland. Recent excavations have dated its foundation to the period preceding the 9th century. Six runic stones in the neighbourhood indicate its importance about ad 1000. A bishop from Århus, which was probably without a real diocese at this time, participated in a meeting in Reginsburg in 948. A re-organization of the entire church in Denmark was undertaken c. 1060 and this finally established the diocese of Århus. It was then that a cathedral was erected outside the ramparts. The crypt of this church was excavated in the 1950s and has been shown to be the oldest in Scandinavia. The so-called Åby crucifix (c. 1050; Copenhagen, Nmus.) and the Golden Altar in Lisbjerg church (c. 1140; Copenhagen, Nmus.) show the importance of the diocese at that time.

During 12th and 13th centuries many churches were built of granite ashlar not only in the diocese but throughout Jutland. It was at this time that a new cathedral complex dedicated to St Clemens was started inside the ramparts occupying a large part of the commercial town. The old cathedral was subsequently handed over to the Dominicans. Like the seaport of Ribe on the west coast of Jutland, Århus has very few churches, while the inland cathedral towns of Viborg, ...



Barbara Papadopoulou

[anc. Ambrakia]

Capital of the Arta district in south Epiros, Greece, on the east bank of the River Arachthos, 16 km north of the Ambrakian Gulf. The town occupies the site of Ambrakia, which was colonized by Corinth in 625 bc. Pyrrhos, King of Epiros (reg 319–272 bc), transferred his capital to Ambrakia in 292 bc. It first appears with the name of Arta in 1082. The state (better known as the Despotate) of Epiros, with its capital of Arta, was founded by Michael I Angelos Doukas Komnenos (reg 1205–15) after the Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204. His state included the whole of north-west Greece, New Epiros (part of modern Albania), north-west Macedonia and parts of Thessaly. Arta fell to the Turks in 1449, regaining its independence in 1881 when it was incorporated into the Greek state.

The town was laid out on a grid plan and was surrounded by impressive walls, large parts of which survive. Remains of the Doric temple of Pythian Apollo (...


Lucy Der Manuelian and Armen Zarian

Town on the banks of the K‘asagh River, 20 km north-west of Erevan, Armenia. It is the site of several churches (5th–19th centuries) and a cemetery with khatchk‘ars (see Armenia, Republic of §IV 1.; Cross, §II, 4) of the 12th to the 14th century.

The earliest church is the three-aisled basilica of Tsiranavor, which was built in the 5th century and partially reconstructed in the 6th, probably by Catholicos Nerses II (reg 538–57), a native of Bagravand. It subsequently underwent numerous alterations and was finally left a ruin in 1815. Restoration work in 1963 revealed that the exterior walls, the apse area, the north pier bases and the south aisle and nave arcade have survived. Traces of the beginnings of the main vault can be seen at the west end.

The walls are of tufa ashlars, facing a rubble core. The plan was defined by three pairs of T-shaped piers, a characteristic of 5th-century Armenian architecture (...



Oxana Cleminson

Village on the River Tana, 12 km from Gori in Georgia. It is known for Sioni Cathedral (7th century ad), dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, which, together with one other small church, is all that remains of the monastery founded there at the beginning of the 7th century. The small domed tetraconch church was built of undressed stone during the reign of King Stephanos II (reg c. 640–50) and rebuilt in the 10th century. In size and plan Sioni Cathedral is very similar to the Jvari Church at Mtskheta. The core of the spatial conception is the dome (diam. c. 10 m), which, together with the church’s other architectural elements, forms a spatial hierarchy corresponding to the descent from heaven to earth. Like the Jvari and the more provincial Dzveli Shuamta in Kakheti, Sioni Cathedral is an example of the pilgrims’ churches that were to become, in the period following the Iconoclastic Controversy (...



Manuela Gianandrea

Italian town and comune in the Campania region, near Caserta and north of Naples. Founded in 1029 by Rainulfo Drengot, Aversa turned in a short time from a small village into a key centre of Norman power and culture in southern Italy. It was the first Norman territory in the Mediterranean and still has important monuments documenting its past grandeur, which continued throughout the Swabian and Anjou dominations.

In 1135 the city was expanded by Roger II, King of Naples and Sicily (reg 1130–54; Hauteville, House of family §(1)) who also built the castle in the monumental shape of a castrum with rectangular wings and square towers, later modified by Frederick II, King of Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor. The castle was inhabited by the Angevins, who also founded in 1315 the Real Casa dell’Annunziata, an orphanage and hospice (restored by Luigi Vanvitelli (1700–73) and later transformed into a prison). Oustanding among the buildings built by the Normans is the Cathedral of S Paolo, although its current outline dates to the first half of the 18th century. Prince Jordan I of Capua (...


Stefano D’Ovidio

[Lat. Baruli, Barulum]

City in Apulia, southern Italy. Situated south of the River Ofanto, it was the port for the neighbouring Roman city of Canne. It featured in the Tabula Peutingeriana as Bardulum, and a basilica was built there in the 6th century. An important Norman stronghold, it was a major trade centre, attracting inhabitants from nearby cities and various ethnic groups. Its crucial position on routes to the Holy Land meant that several knightly orders had houses there. Frederick II proclaimed the Sixth Crusade here in 1228. Its heyday was in the Angevin era (1266–1383), with local noble families coming to prominence. The scene of a bloody conflict during the Italian Wars, known as the Challenge of Barletta (1503), it subsequently declined during the Spanish domination of southern Italy (1503–1707), with signs of recovery during the 19th century. Since 2004 Barletta, Andria, and Trani have become the administrative centres of the province of Barletta....


Virginia Leonardis

[anc. Beneventum]

Italian town in Campania, c. 70 km north-east of Naples. It became a Roman colony in 268 BC and was an important centre during the Roman Empire, being sited at the junction of the Via Appia with other Roman roads. Benevento contains one of the best-preserved Roman triumphal arches, the Arch of Trajan (Porta Aurea), built of Greek marble in AD 114. The arch, built across the Via Appia, features a single opening flanked by engaged Composite columns with an attic above, and it has reliefs glorifying the triumphs of Trajan together with an inscription in the attic. Other ancient remains include those of a Roman theatre built under Emperor Hadrian (reg AD 117–38) and later extended.

In the 6th century AD Benevento became the first independent Lombard duchy, and it retained its autonomy until passing to the Church in the 11th century; it was part of the Papal States until ...



Tania Velmans

Village c. 40 km north of Sofia in Bulgaria. It is famous for its Byzantine church dedicated to St Peter. Built on the edge of the River Nishava, the church has a single nave (4.50×8.50 m) and contains on the west façade fragments of a donor inscription referring to King John Asen II (reg 1218–41), during whose reign it may have been built. There is some controversy regarding the date of its paintings, which have been assigned to both the 13th and the 14th centuries. In the apse all has been lost apart from Four Bishop–Saints Officiating at the Liturgy Accompanied by Two Deacons. The Mandylion was painted on the eastern wall above the apse, between the Virgin and the Archangel of the Annunciation. The Ever-seeing Eye occupies the western niche in the prothesis, and a large bust of St Peter near the iconostasis is surrounded by a masonry frame imitating the appearance of an icon. The scenes and figures painted on the vaulting have disappeared, but part of the ...



Srdjan Djurić

[Bitola; Herakleia Lynkestis; Turk. Manastir, Monastir]

Town on the Pelagonian plain in the Republic of Macedonia, at the foot of Mt Pelister. The ancient city of Herakleia Lynkestis, strategically situated on the River Siva Reka, 3 km south of Bitolj, was probably founded by Philip II of Macedon (reg 359–336 bc). Under Roman rule from 148 bc, it became a major military and commercial centre on the Via Egnatia and continued to flourish throughout the early Byzantine period until the settlement of the Slavs in the late 6th century ad. In the 5th and 6th centuries Herakleia was also an important ecclesiastical see. The site was excavated in 1935–8 and 1957–80, and 14 early Byzantine mosaic floors were uncovered. The sculptural and archaeological finds from the site are kept in Bitolj (Archaeol. Mus.), Skopje (Archaeol. Mus. Macedonia) and Belgrade (N. Mus.).

Only the western part of the site has been explored, revealing six buildings, including the Roman theatre (2nd century ...