Benedictine abbey on the River Enns in Styria, Austria. It was founded in the mid-11th century by Bishop Gebhard from Salzburg, endowed by St Henna von Gurk, Gräfin von Friessach (d 1045), and settled by Benedictine monks from St Peter’s, Salzburg under Abbot Isingrin. The Romanesque minster (consecrated 1074), which was dedicated to St Blaise, was famous for its marble columns and was rebuilt after a fire in 1152; a Gothic choir was added in 1276–86. The present church incorporates Romanesque side doors as well as other fragments. The abbey became an important cultural centre with a renowned scriptorium. Amongst the many famous scholars there was Abbot Engelbert of Admont (reg 1297–1327). From 1121 to the 16th century a convent was attached to the abbey. Under the abbots Mathias Preininger (reg 1615–28) and Urban Weber (reg 1628–59) the whole establishment was transformed in the Baroque style, and the church was rebuilt (...
Mountainous valley in Iran, 35 km north-east of Qazvin, and the name of one of the fortresses that defended the valley. From 1090 to 1261 it was the main headquarters of the Nizari branch of the Isma‛ili Shi‛ites, a religious community organized on a military basis. Their rigid hierarchy, esoteric practices and use of terrorism encouraged the development of romantic tales about them. Reputed to use hashish, they became known in the West as ‘Assassins’ (Arab. hashhīshiyyīn). Like all Isma‛ili fortresses, Alamut is strategically located on rocky heights and has an elaborate storage system for water and provisions so that the fortress was never taken by force. It consists of two parts: a higher and larger western fort and an eastern one.Enc. Iran. F. Stark: The Valley of the Assassins (London, 1934) W. Ivanow: Alamut and Lamasar (Tehran, 1950) P. Willey: The Castles of the Assassins (London, 1963)...
W. A. P. Marr
Buddhist monastery in a small valley on the left bank of the River Indus, c. 64 km west of Leh in Ladakh, India. Tradition attributes the monastery’s origin to the Tibetan scholar and temple-builder Rinchen Sangpo (
Ringed by a wall and votive chortens (stupas), the religious enclave (Tib. chökhor) comprises three entrance chortens, a number of shrines and temples, the Dukhang (assembly hall) with its courtyard and monastic dwellings (see Tibet §II, and Indian subcontinent §III 6., (i), (a)...
Former Benedictine convent of nuns, dedicated to St Saviour, in Alsace, France. Founded in the 9th century, it was suppressed at the Revolution in 1789. The west tower and the nave with tribunes were rebuilt in the 17th century, but the crypt and western block survive and contain important Romanesque remains. The sculptural decoration, executed in sandstone from the Vosges, is concentrated on the façade block.
The finest work is found on the portal, which is abundantly decorated with low-relief sculpture. The door-frame belongs to the 11th-century church, but the sculptures are contemporary with the construction of the westwork in 1140. Their iconography is linked to the theme of paradise, a term used in medieval times to denote both the parvis in front of a church and the entrance porch. Standing out in the centre of the tympanum, Christ confers a key on St Peter and a book on St Paul. The scene takes place in a celestial garden, reminiscent of Early Christian decorative backgrounds, but here the trees are emphasized and the traditional scheme is combined with other allegorical subjects: the climbing of a heavenly tree and bird-hunting. On the lintel is the story of Adam and Eve, from the Creation of Eve to the Expulsion. The Lamentation of Adam and Eve, represented on the extreme right, is exceptional in the region and is derived from Byzantine iconography. Each of the pilasters flanking the jambs bears five superimposed niches, sheltering Abbey benefactors and their spouses, designated by name. The lowest niches are supported by atlas figures. Over the porch arch are three groups in high relief: the keystone bears Christ treading a dragon under his feet, flanked by Samson opening the lion’s mouth (right) and David victorious over Goliath (left)....
Iranian town in the province of Isfahan, just east of the road from Natanz to Na’in. It occupies an ancient site and preserves the ruins of a Sasanian fire-temple, but the most important monuments date from the medieval period, when Ardistan was a flourishing agricultural centre, renowned for its silk. By the 10th century the town was fortified and had five gates. Its congregational mosque, which now has a four-iwan plan, was first built during this period; a tunnel-vaulted arcade in the south-west corner with a fragmentary kufic inscription and polylobed piers can be attributed to the 10th century, when similar work was done on the Friday Mosque at Isfahan (see Islamic art, §ii, 5(i)(a)). In 1158–60 the mosque was remodelled on the orders of Abu Tahir Husayn ibn Ghali ibn Ahmad by the master Mahmud ibn al-Isfahani known as al-Ghazi (see Islamic art, §ii, 5(i)(b)). The domed bay in front of the mihrab and the adjacent qibla iwan date from this rebuilding and are notable for their original decoration, which includes three stucco mihrabs, brickwork highlighted in red and white and plaster decoration in purple, yellow, white and blue. In ...
János M. Bak
Modern term for the dynasty that ruled Hungary until 1301. Their name is derived from the chief of the Magyar tribal alliance, Prince Árpád (reg 896–907). During the four centuries of their reign (which included 5 princes and 21 kings, half of whom were buried in the now destroyed basilica at Székesfehérvár), the country became a Christian kingdom with a social and political order similar to its western neighbours. The art and architecture of the age was influenced mainly by Italian and French models with some Byzantine elements. The castle (after 1241, archiepiscopal palace) in Esztergom has significant remains from the 10th to 12th centuries. It was excavated and partly restored in the early 21st century. The west door, the porta speciosa of Esztergom Cathedral is decorated with marble intarsia in a French-influenced, Byzantine style (c. 1190) and is one of the few surviving figural monuments (now in the Esztergom Castle Museum). After the Mongol invasion of ...
[Gr. Panagia Phorbiotissa: ‘Our Lady of the Pastures’]
Byzantine church in Cyprus, situated on the west side of the island, 4 km south-west of the village of Vizakia. The church was originally part of the monastery of the Phorbia (destr.), and a marginal note in a synaxarion copied in Cyprus or Palestine in 1063 indicates that the manuscript once belonged to this monastery. The church is renowned for its well-preserved cycles of wall paintings and painted inscriptions, two of which attribute the foundation and decoration of the church to Nicephoros Ischyrios, the Magistros, in 1105–6. A third, damaged inscription mentions a certain ‘Theophilos’ and ‘the people’, who were probably responsible for a programme of redecoration in 1332–3. The wall paintings were cleaned and restored in 1965–8 by Ernest Hawkins and David Winfield under the auspices of the Center for Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC.
The church is a single-aisle structure with a semicircular apse and barrel-vaulted nave supported by transverse ribs and engaged piers, forming three blind niches in the north and south walls. In plan it resembles the parekklesion of the Cypriot monastery of St John Chrysosthomos, but it does not have a dome. Although the original walls were of stone mortared with mud, probably in the late 12th century, yellow sandstone of better quality was used for the construction of a domed narthex with north and south absidioles; this arrangement is found elsewhere in Cyprus, at the monasteries of St John Chrysosthomos, and the Panagia Apsinthiotissa. The church was later given a secondary steeply pitched wooden roof of a type common among the Cypriot mountain churches....
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.
Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....
M. T. Camus
Church in Saintonge, western France, situated on the old pilgrimage road between Poitiers and Saintes. Towards the middle of the 11th century the church was in the possession of the Benedictine abbey of St Cyprien in Poitiers. It passed to the canons of Poitiers Cathedral between 1119 and 1122, when the decision to rebuild it was probably made. The church was restored in the 15th century (façade strengthened with buttresses) and in the 18th and 19th centuries (masonry repairs by Paul Abadie). Built of limestone, St Pierre has a five-bay aisled nave, a transept with apsidal chapels and a deep apsidal choir. It has slightly pointed barrel vaults. There is no clerestory, the nave and aisles being united under a single roof, which, with the raised aisle walls, results in a triangular west façade. The crossing is surmounted by a beautiful bell-tower.
St Pierre houses Romanesque sculpture of great interest, synthesizing the characteristics of Poitou and Saintonge. Inside, sculptured capitals are confined to the nave and crossing. Carved in deep relief, capitals decorated with masks, animals and monsters alternate with a variety of foliate compositions; there seems to be no clear limit between the real and the fantastic world. One capital carries the inscription ...
Thomas W. Lyman
Former Cluniac monastery in south-western France. The wealthy abbey was founded in
[Coquet Castle; Arab. Kawkab al-Hawā, Kaukab el Hawā; now Heb. Kôkhov ha-Yardēn, Kokhav Hayarden]
Crusader castle in Israel built by the Knights Hospitaller c. 1168 and occupied until 1219. It is situated c. 12 km south of the Sea of Galilee, on the eastern edge of a plateau from where it overlooks the Jordan Valley and the site of what in the 12th century would have been the principal river crossings between the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and its Muslim neighbours. Some form of castle already occupied the site before April 1168, when it was sold to the Hospital of St John. All trace of this early structure, however, seems to have been removed by the Hospitallers, who almost at once began to build there the ‘very strong and spacious castle’ recorded by the pilgrim Theodoric in his Libellus de locis sanctis around 1172, and which William of Tyre described in 1182 in his Chronicon as a ‘new castle, whose name today is Belueir’....
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 ...
Former Cluniac priory chapel in Burgundy, France. The two-storey chapel, constructed in the early 12th century, is situated south of its mother house, Cluny Abbey. In 1887 important wall paintings were uncovered in the upper chapel, which comprises a single-cell nave (l. 7.50 m) with a slightly pointed barrel vault, a short choir (l. 2.70 m), and a semicircular apse. The paintings in the nave, including an Entry into Jerusalem and decorative bands imitating transverse arches, are fragmentary, but those in the apse are well preserved. The semi-dome contains a Traditio legis. Christ in Majesty is depicted enthroned in a blue mandorla below the Hand of God and flanked on either side by six Apostles: he hands an unfurled scroll to St Peter on the right and blesses St Paul on the left). Also flanking the mandorla are SS Lawrence and Vincent and two bishop-saints. Below the semi-dome are five arches, the central three of which are lit. In the spandrels are busts of female saints that closely resemble the mosaics of S Vitale, Ravenna, and in the blind arches, to the left and right respectively, are the ...
Monastery in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Approximately 50 km south of Piacenza in the Apennines, it was founded c.
Frederick M. Asher
and Gaya [Bodhgayā and Gayā]
Pilgrimage centres and towns located on the Phalagu (Niranjana) River in Bihar, India. From an early date Gaya has been a site for the performance of śrāddha, rites for recently deceased parents. This ancient tradition and the general sanctity of Gaya in the 5th century
Former Cistercian abbey dedicated to Notre-Dame de la Nativité, in Périgord, France. The abbey is particularly famous for its cloister. Cadouin, on the River Dordogne, fell under the control of the Cistercians directly after its foundation in 1115. The acquisition of a famous relic (the ‘Saint Suaire’ or Holy Shroud) led to the establishment of a flourishing pilgrimage to the site. The church dates from the 12th century, but the monastic complex, heavily damaged in the Hundred Years War, was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries. The cloister, a relatively small structure (six bays by five; 19×16 m), was begun under Abbot Pierre V de Gaing (1455–75). During the troubled period of the wars the relic of the Holy Shroud was alienated and went to Toulouse, but Pierre de Gaing re-established possession of it and regained many of the lost domaines of the monastery. He initiated major campaigns of construction on the cloister, building the north, south, and east walks. It was completed in the early 16th century....
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 Christ before Caiaphas, the Mocking of Christ, Christ before Pilate, Pilate Washing his Hands, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension. The culminating Easter scenes reflect the paschal candle’s function during the Easter season as a symbol of Christ resurrected, as evoked in an inscription on the base. A second fragmentary inscription refers to the unidentifiable patron’s desire for commemoration. A third inscription identifies Nicolaus de Angelo as the master sculptor and Petrus Vassallettus as playing a secondary role. Both were active in the second half of the 12th to the early 13th century and came from leading families of Roman sculptors: the Vassalletti and Cosmati (Nicolaus’s family). The candlestick is the only work signed by and securely attributed to Nicolaus and the scope of his contribution remains uncertain. A plausible theory attributes the base and first register to Petrus, based upon similarities to works signed by him and ascribed to his family, such as the cloister of S Giovanni in Laterano in Rome and the narthex of S Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome. Nicolaus probably executed the Christological scenes, distinguishable for their more dynamic, expressive figures and decorative chisel work, and appropriate for the master sculptor because of their centrality and significance. Early Christian sarcophagi and Carolingian ivories may have provided models for the figural types. This form of paschal candlestick was probably inspired by Roman columnar monuments carved with triumphal scenes....
[Cashel of the Kings]
Fortified ecclesiastical site in Co. Tipperary, Ireland. The rock of Cashel, surmounted by its cluster of medieval buildings, rises high above the surrounding plain. The limestone outcrop was a natural fortress, occupied from the 4th century
The earliest building is the Round Tower (27.94 m high), evidently erected shortly after 1101, a date that accords with its well-dressed sandstone masonry (there is no evidence to support traditional claims for a date in the 9th or 10th century). Originally free-standing, the tower heralded the new religious status of the rock. Doorways in round towers usually point towards the main church, and at Cashel this indicates that the first cathedral was located at the east end of the later Gothic chancel. The first cathedral was replaced by a second in ...
Collegiate church in Champagne, Marne, France. A chapel is known to have existed on the site from at least the 9th century
In 1157 a tower collapsed, initiating the complete reconstruction of the church. The first building campaign (1157–c. 1175) involved the lower levels of the nave and transept. At the same time, a cloister with an important sculptural programme was erected on the north side of the nave. After c. 1180 the construction of the church was interrupted, perhaps owing to the dispute with the cathedral chapter. It is likely that the cloister was already finished at that time. The church was completed in a second campaign from ...
Cluniac abbey, then priory church dedicated to SS Stephen and Fortunatus, in Loire, France. Founded by
The earliest building seems to have had a long, aisleless nave and a choir terminating in an apse, surrounded by a half-sunk ambulatory with a single axial chapel. It may have been altered in a second campaign, dated by Sunderland to the period after 932. The Romanesque church had an aisled nave of five bays, a projecting transept and an east end with five apses in echelon; its single surviving nave bay has a two-storey elevation and a barrel vault. The capitals form a coherent series, decorated with palmettes, acanthus, heads, animal masks and ...