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Abbasid  

Robert Hillenbrand

[‛Abbasid]

Islamic dynasty that ruled from several capitals in Iraq between ad 749 and 1258. The Abbasids traced their descent from al-‛Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, and were thus able to claim a legitimacy that their predecessors had lacked (see Umayyad, §1). The Abbasids rose to power in north-east Iran by channelling disaffection with Umayyad rule, but they soon established their capitals in a more central location, founding Baghdad in 762. Although they initially encouraged the support of Shi‛ites, the Abbasids quickly distanced themselves from their erstwhile allies to become champions of orthodoxy. Upon accession, each caliph adopted an honorific title, somewhat like a regnal name, by which he was later known. For the first two centuries, the Abbasids’ power was pre-eminent, and their names were invoked from the Atlantic to western Central Asia. From the middle of the 10th century, however, real power was transferred to a succession of Persian and Turkish dynasts (...

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[Abū’l-Ḥasan ‛Alī ibn Hilāl al-Bawwāb]

(d Baghdad, 1022).

Arab calligrapher and illuminator. He began as a house decorator but turned to calligraphy and refined the ‘proportioned script’ developed a century earlier by Ibn Muqla, in which letters were measured in terms of dots, circles and semicircles. An intimate of court circles in Baghdad, Ibn al-Bawwab was appointed librarian to the Buyid ruler Baha’ al-Dawla (reg 998–1012) at Shiraz. There Ibn al-Bawwab calligraphed the volume missing from a Koran manuscript penned by his predecessor so perfectly that the patron was unable to distinguish the new work from the original. In addition to an epistle and didactic poem on penmanship, Ibn al-Bawwab is said to have copied 64 manuscripts of the Koran, but only one survives: a manuscript copied at Baghdad in 1000–01 (Dublin, Chester Beatty Lib., MS. 1431). The small volume contains 286 folios (trimmed size 175×135 mm). Each page of text has 15 lines in naskh...

Article

Karl-Heinz Golzio

[al-Murābiṭūn]

Islamic dynasty that ruled parts of the Sahara, Morocco, Algeria and Spain from 1056 to 1147. The Sanhaja Berber chief Yahya ibn Ibrahim, on returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, founded a reform movement intended to strengthen orthodoxy among the Saharan Berbers, who were only superficially Islamisized, but according to many Arab historiographers they adhered to Kharijite doctrine. With the support of the Malikite jurist Ibn Yasin and the Lamtuna Berber chiefs Yahya ibn ‛Umar and his brother Abu Bakr, a fortress for a Muslim brotherhood (Arab. ribāṭ) was established on an island at the mouth of the Senegal River. The fortress soon became a centre for the tribes living nearby, and the increasing power of those who lived there (al-murābiṭūn) led to the submission of all the Sanhaja tribes. Their renewal of Islam showed strong ascetic trends along with a simple piety that resulted in a holy war against the corrupt culture and errant Muslims of the Maghrib. In ...

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Amol  

Gordon Campbell

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Ani  

Lucy Der Manuelian

[Turk. Kemah]

Site (c. 162 ha) of an Armenian fortified city with religious and secular buildings of the 10th-14th centuries, situated on a high, triangular plateau at the confluence of the Arpa Chay and Alajai Chay Rivers near Kars in eastern Turkey, on the border with Armenia. It was founded as a fortress in the 5th century ad, and it became the capital of Armenia under the Bagratuni kings from 961 until 1045 when it fell to the Byzantines. Thereafter the city suffered many devastating attacks, and it was ruled consecutively by the Seljuks, their Shaddadid vassals and the Georgians; but in 1199 it was liberated by the Zak’arian princes. It flourished as an international trade centre on the route between the Far East and the West until the 14th century. In his history (1004) Matthew of Edessa describes Ani as ‘the city of a thousand and one churches’. It was said to have 50 gates and 100 palaces within its towered stone walls, and in the 10th century it had been reported to have 10,000 houses and a population of over 100,000—much larger than contemporary medieval cities in Europe....

Article

Sophie Page

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....

Article

Tania Velmans

Monastery situated on a wooded hill 11 km south of Asenovgrad in Bulgaria. It was founded in 1081 ad by the Georgian donors Grigori and Apazi Pakuriani after they had been granted control over extensive lands in the Rodopi Planina mountains by the Byzantine emperor Alexios Komnenos (reg 1081–1118). The two buildings of art-historical interest are the church of the Holy Archangels and the charnel-house, which lies 400 m east of and below the monastery. The church of the Holy Archangels is a single-nave structure with a dome and an elaborately divided interior. The walls are built of alternating bands of brick and stone, articulated with single-step niches, and there is an elaborate frieze of brickwork meander around the top of the dome’s drum. Numerous restorations have obliterated the original plan of the charnel-house (18×7 m), which has two storeys of single naves with eastern apses and western narthexes. Inside is a series of paintings mostly dated to the late 11th century and signed by ...

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Bazaar  

Mohammad Gharipour

Bazaar, which is rooted in Middle Persian wāzār and Armenian vačaṟ, has acquired three different meanings: the market as a whole, a market day, and the marketplace. The bazaar as a place is an assemblage of workshops and stores where various goods and services are offered.

Primitive forms of shops and trade centres existed in early civilizations in the Near East, such as Sialk, Tepe in Kashan, Çatal Hüyük, Jerico, and Susa. After the 4th millennium BC, the population grew and villages gradually joined together to shape new cities, resulting in trade even with the remote areas as well as the acceleration of the population in towns. The advancement of trade and accumulation of wealth necessitated the creation of trade centres. Trade, and consequently marketplaces, worked as the main driving force in connecting separate civilizations, while fostering a division of labour, the diffusion of technological innovations, methods of intercultural communication, political and economic management, and techniques of farming and industrial production....

Article

Buyid  

Robert Hillenbrand

[Buwayhid]

Islamic dynasty that ruled in Iran and Iraq from ad 932 to 1062. Civil wars, the erosion of caliphal power by a Turkish military caste, corrupt administration and racial tensions during the 9th century terminally damaged the Abbasid state, and gradually the extremities of the empire in North Africa, Spain, Central Asia and Afghanistan established a de facto independence. In Iran, burgeoning national sentiment found expression in the Shu‛ubiyya (the controversy over the respective merits of the Arab and Persian literary traditions), in heterodox religious movements and in a revival of pre-Islamic Persian culture, notably among the breakaway Tahirid (reg ad 821–73), Saffarid (reg ad 867–c. 1495) and Samanid dynasties. These tendencies crystallized after 932 with the gradual rise to power of Abu Shuja’ Buya and his clan of condottieri from the mountainous area south of the Caspian Sea. He and his three formidable sons masterminded the liberation of western Iran and Iraq from caliphal control. The youngest son, Mu‛izz al-Dawla (...

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 ...

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Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

The art produced by the peoples of the Roman Empire from the early 4th century ad to c. 600—as well as specifically Christian art from c. 250—and that produced in the eastern half of the Empire, centred around Constantinople (Byzantium) to 1453. The Byzantine empire (see fig.) was the institutional setting for much of the medieval art of the eastern Mediterranean, and from the early 4th century ad for the Orthodox Church and so for Early Christian art. Byzantines regarded their empire as having arisen from the happy coincidence of the foundation of the Roman Empire under Augustus with the incarnation of Jesus Christ; for modern historians the empire has a clear end (1453, when the city fell to the Turks) but no clear beginning. The foundation of Constantinople (324–330) by Constantine on the site of the small town of Byzantion is the conventional point of departure, when ironically Byzantion both ceased to exist and took on a new existence; it became known later as The City, and under the Turks Istanbul (...

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Fatimid  

Jonathan M. Bloom

Islamic dynasty that ruled in Ifriqiya (now Tunisia) from ad 909 to 972 and in Egypt from ad 969 to 1171. The Fatimids were Isma‛ili Shi‛ites who traced their ancestry back to Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, via Isma‛il, the seventh Shi‛ite Imam. They believed that their rightful position as leaders of the Muslim community had been usurped by the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs. The first Fatimid success was the toppling of the Aghlabid rulers of Ifriqiya in 909. The Fatimid leader ‛Ubayd Allah assumed the title of caliph and the regnal name al-Mahdi (reg 909–34). He soon moved his capital from the hostile religious environment of Kairouan to Mahdia on the Mediterranean coast, a base more appropriate for the expected Fatimid conquest of the rest of the Islamic world. The port soon became a centre for Mediterranean commerce, whose revival was one of the cornerstones of Fatimid prosperity. The indigenous Berber population of North Africa rose in repeated rebellions, often fomented by the Fatimids’ Umayyad rivals in Spain. In 947 the caliph ...

Article

Robert Hillenbrand

Islamic dynasty that ruled in Afghanistan, Transoxiana, eastern Iran and northern India from ad 977 to 1186. The founder was Sebüktigin (d 997), a Turkish slave employed by the Samanid dynasty, who eventually defied their authority and set up his own principality with its capital at Ghazna, now in Afghanistan. His son Mahmud (reg 998–1030) transformed this principality into a highly militarized empire. At first this expansion was achieved at the expense of the Samanid, Buyid and Qarakhanid dynasties, but Mahmud’s streamlined military machine also had a more ambitious target: 17 near-annual raids were launched between 1001 and 1024 against northern India, an ongoing holy war that made Mahmud’s name a byword for religious orthodoxy. It also brought vast booty and briefly made Ghazna a famous metropolis, with a fabulous mosque prinked out in gold, alabaster and marble, a university, madrasas, libraries, aqueducts and other public works. These campaigns also tilted Ghaznavid policies away from Iran, a weakness successfully exploited by the Saljuq dynasty at the battle of Dandanqan (...

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Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

In 

Article

Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

In 

Article

Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

In