You are looking at  1-20 of 48 results  for:

  • Art of the Middle East/North Africa x
  • Early Christian/Byzantine Art x
Clear All

Article

Mary Gough

[Koca Kalesi]

Early Christian monastery on the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains in Isauria, part of the Roman province of Cilicia in south-western Turkey. It is some 300 m above the main road between Silifke (anc. Seleucia) and Konya (anc. Iconium), 21 km north of Mut (anc. Claudiopolis). From two funerary inscriptions, pottery and coins, the monastery may be securely dated to the reigns of two Isaurian emperors, Leo (reg ad 457–74) and Zeno (reg 474–91).

The monastery was originally founded in a series of caves in a limestone outcrop at the west end of a narrow mountain ledge. The largest of these caves contained two rock-cut churches. The ledge was later enlarged by quarrying to the north and by the construction of a retaining wall to the south. The earliest building, immediately to the east of the caves, was the three-aisled Basilica. It was originally lavishly decorated, both inside and out, with architectural sculpture in a flowing naturalistic style, including plant forms, birds and fishes; figures occur only on the jambs and lintel of the main doorway between the narthex and the central aisle. On the west side of the lintel is a head of Christ set in a circle supported by angels, and at each end of the lintel and on the doorposts are four busts in high relief, possibly of the Evangelists. On the inner faces of the jambs are full-length figures of the archangels Michael and Gabriel in flat relief, while on the underside of the lintel is a remarkable relief of the four ...

Article

Dominique Collon, Donald F. Easton, Jeanny Vorys Canby, J. D. Hawkins, K. Aslihan Yener, Oscar White Muscarella and A. Nunn

Region roughly equivalent to the modern state of Turkey. The name Anatolia was first used by Byzantine writers in the 10th century ad, as an alternative to Asia Minor, and is now often used in its Turkish form, ‘Anadolu’, to describe Turkey in Asia. In this article the term ancient Anatolia covers the cultures and civilizations that flourished in the region from possibly as early as the 14th millennium bc to the 6th century bc. A wealth of remains from the Neolithic period (c. 8000–c. 5800 bc) to the Early Bronze Age (c. 3400–c. 2000 bc) testifies to the advanced prehistoric culture of Anatolia. During the 2nd millennium bc this was succeeded by the civilization of the Hittites (see Hittite), the demise of which was followed by a Dark Age lasting some two centuries. Eastern and south-eastern Anatolia were dominated from the ...

Article

L. James

(b ?Constantinople, c. ad 461–3; d Constantinople, c. 527–9). Byzantine patron. As the great-granddaughter of Galla Placidia and daughter of Flavius Anicius Olybrius (Emperor of the West, reg 472) she was the last major figure of the Theodosian house. In 512, during a popular uprising against Emperor Anastasius I (reg 491–518), the imperial crown was pressed on her husband Flavius Areobindus Dagalaifus, an honour he avoided by flight. Her imperial connections and social standing gave her an important status at court and she was an active patron. She is chiefly remembered for the Dioskurides codex (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., med. gr. 1), which was produced in Constantinople c. 512 (see Early Christian and Byzantine art, §I, 2, (ii)). The inscription around her portrait (fol. 6v) indicates that the manuscript was commissioned for her by the people of Onoratou, a suburb of Constantinople, in gratitude for a church she built for them....

Article

Stephen Mitchell

[‘Pisidian’]

Greek and Roman city in western Asia Minor (now Turkey) on a plateau above Yalvaĉ. It was founded by the Seleucids in the 3rd century bc and refounded as a colony for veteran soldiers by Augustus c.25 bc; it flourished until the Early Christian period. The site was excavated in 1924 by D. M. Robinson and was the object of a detailed archaeological survey by S. Mitchell and M. Waelkens in 1982–3. Further excavations have taken place during the 1980s and 1990s, directed by M. Taslianan. About 4 km south of the city Hellenistic remains survive at the sanctuary of Mên Askaênos, where an imposing temenos with porticos on four sides enclosed a mid-2nd-century bc Ionic temple (6 by 11 columns) on a high, stepped podium. The design of the temple was influenced by the layout of the temples of Zeus Sosipolis and Artemis Leukophryene at Magnesia on the Maeander...

Article

Asinou  

Susan Young

[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....

Article

Seton Lloyd

Ancient settlement around the upper reaches of the Büyük Monderes (Meander River), near Çivril in Turkey, that flourished during the Bronze Age (c. 3500–1200 bc) and was briefly reoccupied in the Early Christian period. The imposing ruin mound, with twin summits, was excavated (1954–9) by the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara under Seton Lloyd.

These excavations revealed 40 successive levels of occupation with modest building remains. At the earliest levels, the pottery can be dated to a late phase of the Chalcolithic period (c. 3500 bc), though metal objects (including silver) already appear in small quantities. Comparable finds from other sites in the same area combine with the Beycesultan material to produce a schematic chronological sequence for the whole of south-western Anatolia. The architectural and artistic material shows the evolution of a culture that was possibly the direct forebear of the Iron Age civilization in western Anatolia. In the 2nd millennium ...

Article

Mark Whittow

[Turk.: ‘The Thousand and One Churches’]

Group of late Roman and Byzantine sites on the Karadağ, an isolated mountain in the plain north of the Taurus Mountains in the modern province of Karaman in south-central Turkey (Roman and Byzantine Lykaonia). The mountain has been convincingly identified as the site of Barata, a minor city attested as a bishopric from the 4th century ad to the 12th. On the mountain there are the remains of over 40 churches and associated buildings. These are concentrated in two groups: a lower settlement now known as Maden Șehir and an upper settlement called Değler. There are also numerous other remains on the Karadağ, including some Hittite rock carvings, several churches built on the peaks of the mountain and several medieval fortifications.

Although known to scholars since 1826, the first and only survey of the Karadağ was that carried out by Sir William Ramsay (1851–1939) and Gertrude Bell in ...

Article

Bursa  

Çigdem Kafesçioglu

[anc. Prusa; Fr. Brousse]

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 1326 it was taken by the Ottoman sultan Orhan (reg c. 1324–60) and served as the capital of the Ottoman empire until 1402. The several important buildings preserved from the early Ottoman period exemplify the Ottoman pattern of urbanization whereby sultans successively built architectural complexes (see Külliye) in unurbanized parts of the city, which then became the nuclei of new quarters. The city was also an international centre for the silk and textile trade.

Orhan began his complex of mosque, kitchen, bath and caravanserai in 1339–40, near the Byzantine citadel in the area that later became the commercial centre of the city. The mosque (rest.) is an early example of the Bursa- or ...

Article

(b London, Feb 26, 1905; d off Stornaway, Feb 24, 1941).

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 The Birth of Western Painting he developed this line of thought with a reassessment of El Greco as the ‘last and greatest flower of Byzantine genius’. His best-known book is The Road to Oxiana, a record of travels through Persia and Afghanistan in 1933–4 in search of the origins of Islamic architecture and culture. He contributed a conspectus of Timurid architecture and photographs taken on his journeys to the Survey of Persian Art. Although his views were often coloured by personal enthusiasm and prejudices (for example his hatred of the historical writings of Edward Gibbon) a surprising number of his insights into Byzantine and Islamic culture have been confirmed by later scholarship, and he played a major role in bringing these cultures to the attention of educated readers. He was also a founder-member of the ...

Article

In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...

Article

Lucy-Anne Hunt, Hero Granger-Taylor and Dominic Montserrat

A disputed term adopted by art historians to denote early and medieval Christian art in Egypt as well as art undertaken for pagan patrons in Late Roman and Early Christian Egypt. ‘Copt’ derives from the pharaonic name for Egypt via the Greek aigyptos and the Arabic qibṭ, the word used by the Muslim Arab invaders after ad 641 to refer to the Christian inhabitants of Egypt; in modern usage the term is also applied in a narrow sense to the Monophysite national church.

Lucy-Anne Hunt

According to tradition, St Mark brought Christianity to Egypt in the reign of Nero (reg ad 54–68). Its rapid spread was undoubtedly accelerated by the deteriorating conditions that had prevailed in the country since the Roman conquest of 30 bc. Already by ad 190 the first important institution of religious learning in Christian antiquity, the Catechetical School, had been established in Alexandria; its emergence coincided with the first direct attacks on the city’s Christians. These continued under subsequent Roman emperors, culminating in the persecutions under Diocletian (...

Article

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 Shahinshah ibn Sulayman ibn Amir Ishak by the builder Hasan ibn Piruz of Maragha in 1180–81, is a simple structure of three aisles perpendicular to the qibla wall. The wider central aisle has a barrel vault, while the side aisles are each covered by four cupolas. A small kiosk once stood against the north-west corner of the building, but only its lower part remains. The masonry portal was once decorated with glazed brick. The sovereign’s mausoleum (?...

Article

Kalinka Huber

[Docimium; now Iscehisar.]

Roman and Byzantine town on the southern edge of the Phrygian plateau in central Turkey, about 40 km north-east of Synada (now Şuhut). Charles(-Félix-Marie) Texier discovered the site in the early 19th century. The town was founded, like many others, in the aftermath of the campaigns of Alexander the Great in 336–323 bc and the subsequent creation of the Hellenistic kingdoms in the eastern Mediterranean. Little remains of the diocesan town apart from the fortification wall around its acropolis.

Phrygia was renowned throughout antiquity for its marble quarries, the most famous of which were those situated to the south-east of ancient Dokimeion. As is attested by inscriptions, they formed part of the imperial assets from at least the middle of the 1st century ad. The price of the greatly valued marble was regulated by officials of the imperial administration. (Prices for marble from Dokimeion are specified in the Diocletian Edict on Prices (...

Article

Eirene  

L. James

(b Athens, c. 752; reg 797–802; d Lesbos, 803). Byzantine empress and patron. On the death of her husband, Emperor Leo IV (reg 775–80), she acted as regent for their son Constantine VI (reg 780–97). In 796 she had him blinded and took sole power as the first woman in recorded European history to be acknowledged as a sovereign monarch. Her proposed marriage with Charlemagne would have united the two empires. She was responsible for the restoration of images in Orthodox worship after their destruction and removal during the first wave of iconoclasm (726–87; see Christianity §III 2., (i)). On her own initiative and against the hostility of the iconoclast church and imperial administration, in 787 she convened the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicaea (now Iznik), which suppressed iconoclasm, although it was to break out again in 814.

Despite Eirene’s patronage of monasteries and churches, there seems to have been little artistic activity during her reign. She was, however, probably responsible for reinstating the image of Christ above the Chalke Gate of the Great Palace at Constantinople (...

Article

Article

Article

Article

Article

Erzurum  

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 1080 it became the capital of the Saltuqid principality and in 1201 a provincial seat under the Saljuqs of Rum (reg 1077–1307). In the mid-13th century it came under the control of the Ilkhanids (reg 1256–1353) and subsequently it became part of the principality under Eretna (see Beylik). The city was captured c. 1520 by the Ottomans, for whom it held great commercial and strategic importance. The monuments from these centuries exemplify most of the major types of Anatolian architecture and are remarkable for their construction and decoration in finely cut stone (...

Article

Thomas E. Russo

(b c. ad 575; reg 610–41; d Constantinople [now Istanbul], 11 Feb 641). Byzantine emperor and patron. Although it is sometimes claimed that Heraklios was of Armenian descent, contemporary sources record his family origins in Cappadocia. His father was the exarch of Carthage. In 610 Heraklios usurped the imperial throne from the tyrant Phokas (reg 602–10) and thus initiated the rule of the Heraklian dynasty which lasted until 711. He and his first wife Eudoxia (d 612) had two children, Epiphania and Heraklios, the latter of whom later became Constantine III (reg 641). After the death of Eudoxia, Heraklios married his niece Martina, who bore him ten children.

A competent military leader, Heraklios defeated the Persians at Nineveh in 627. He is often credited with the reorganization of the provinces into administrative units called themes, but whether or not this institution originated under Heraklios is debatable. References in contemporary sources to scientific treatises on chemistry and astrology by Heraklios suggest that he was well educated....