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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 (...

Article

Giuseppa Z. Zanichelli

[Alphanus]

(b Salerno, 1010/20; d Salerno, Oct 9, 1085; fd 9 Oct).

Saint, doctor, archbishop of Salerno, and patron. Born of a noble Lombard family in Salerno, Alfanus pursued humanistic and scientific studies, studying at the Medical School in Salerno. In 1058, Leo of Ostia recorded that he was ‘prudentissimus et nobilissimus clericus e miram cantandi peritia, et medicinae artis scientiam non parvam habebat’ (Chronicon casinense II, 7). Around this time he became acquainted with Desiderius of Montecassino, who visited Salerno and helped him to flee the town when he came under suspicion for murder. Alfanus, who was a monk at this stage, stayed in the monasteries of S Sofia in Benevento and St Benedict in Montecassino where he met Frederick of Lorraine, the future Pope Stephen IX, and Petrus Damianus. In 1058 Prince Gisulf II (reg 1052–77) recalled him to Salerno as abbot of the local independent monastery of St Benedict, and the same year the Pope made him archbishop. In ...

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 ...

Article

Árpád  

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 ...

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

Benno  

Joachim E. Gaehde

(b Löhningen, Swabia, ?1020; d Iburg, July 27, 1088).

German bishop and patron. The Vita Bennonis (1090–1100) by Norbert, abbot of the monastery at Iburg, calls Benno a distinguished master builder (architectus praecipuus) and ingenious administrator of stonework (caementarii operis sollertissimus dispositor). Free-born, he was educated at Strasbourg and Reichenau, later joining the cathedral school of Speyer. Shortly after 1048 he was placed in charge of the cathedral school of Hildesheim. His successful organization of supplies during the Hungarian campaign of 1051 led to his appointment as provost of the cathedral chapter and subsequently Vicedominus to the court of Henry III at Goslar, where he was placed in charge of finances, agriculture, and construction. He continued to hold these offices under Henry IV, who made him Bishop of Osnabrück in 1068. Benno built a chain of defensive castles against the Saxons and several times served as envoy to Rome during the Investiture Dispute....

Article

(b c. ad 960; bur Hildesheim, Nov 22, 1022; can 1192).

German saint, bishop, and patron. He was born into a noble Saxon family, possibly that of a count. At Hildesheim cathedral school he was taught by Thangmar. The Life of St Bernward, begun by Thangmar and completed in 1030–40 by monks from St Michael’s Abbey, Hildesheim, records that Bernward was the secretary of Archbishop Willigis of Mainz (reg 975–1011), who was Chancellor to Otto I and Otto II. Bernward was summoned to court in 987 as tutor to Otto III. To mark his consecration as Bishop of Hildesheim (15 Jan 993), Otto III presented him with a fragment of the True Cross, which Bernward placed in a reliquary in the form of a golden cross adorned with precious stones, and housed in a specially-built chapel (ded. 996). He visited Rome in the Emperor’s retinue in 1000–01, using the opportunity to acquire valuable relics. In September 1007 he travelled to Saint-Denis Abbey and also visited the tomb of his patron saint, St Martin, in Tours....

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 ...

Article

H. V. Trivedi

[Cāhamāna; Chahamanas of Rajasthan; Chauhan]

Indian Rajput clan, several branches of which ruled in Rajasthan from medieval times. The earliest Chahamanas originated with Vasudeva, who established himself at Sakambhari, or Sambhar, near Jaipur, in the early 7th century ad. This house came into prominence when one of its scions, Durlabharaja, a feudatory of the Gurjara-Pratihara king Vatsaraja (reg c. 777–808), defeated Dharmapala of Bengal (reg c. 781–812) in the last quarter of the 8th century. The Chahamana dominions extended to Sikar, where they built an impressive Shiva temple in the 10th century. To the north of Sikar was the kingdom of the Tomaras of Delhi, with whom the Chahamanas were on hostile terms: one of their records states that Chandna, a scion of the dynasty, defeated and killed the Tomara prince Rudra (Rudrena) in the 9th century. The last ruler of the house was Prithviraja III (reg c. 1178–92), who, after a glorious career of conquest, fell fighting with Muhammad Ghur (...

Article

Michael D. Willis

[Candella; Candrātreya; Candrella]

Dynasty of Rajputs who ruled parts of northern India from the 9th century to the early 14th. The Chandellas were an important regional house that came into prominence with the decline of the imperial Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty in the mid-10th century. Best-known for their patronage of temple architecture at Khajuraho, the Chandellas were at the height of power under Yashovarman (c. 925–54) and Dhangadeva (c. 954–1002). The region they ruled, now called Bundelkhand, is bounded on the north by the River Yamuna, on the east by the River Tons and on the west by the River Betwa. During Chandella times this territory was called Jejakabhukti or Jejakadesha after the ruler Jayashakti (Pkt Jejā or Jejjāka), who ruled c. 865–85. The important centres of Chandella power were Mahoba, Ajayagarh and Kalanjara. The interesting ruins of the fort of Kalanjara have yet to be thoroughly studied.

The earliest known record of the Chandella dynasty is the Lakshmana Temple inscription from ...

Article

Chola  

J. Marr

[Coḷa]

Dynasty in south India that was prominent until the 13th century ad. The Cholas, best known for their patronage of temple architecture, were one of the principal royal lineages of the Tamil country. They are mentioned in the edicts of Ashoka (3rd century bc) and figure in the earliest Tamil literature (1st–4th century ad). However, little archaeological evidence exists for the Cholas before the 9th century ad. The first ruler, Vijayalaya (reg c. 846–71), captured Thanjavur from his Pallava overlords. Aditya I (reg c. 871–907) annexed the Pallava kingdom in Tondaimandalam (now Tamil Nadu) in 903, and Parantaka I (reg c. 907–55) attacked and conquered the Pandya rulers of Madurai. The two greatest Chola rulers were Rajaraja I (reg 985–1014) and his son Rajendra I (reg 1012–44), made co-regent in 1012. Apart from their conquests, which extended from Sri Lanka to Sumatra, they were responsible for splendid temple buildings. That at Thanjavur, the ...

Article

Don Denny

[Victor III]

(b Benevento, 1027; elected pope 1086; d Montecassino, Sept 16, 1087).

Italian pope, Abbot of Montecassino and patron. He was born, with the name Dauferius, to an aristocratic Lombard family. After a brief monastic career at La Cava, near Salerno, and at S Sophia in Benevento, where he assumed the name Desiderius, he joined the community at the great monastery of Montecassino in 1055, becoming abbot in 1058. During his abbacy Montecassino attained its greatest prestige. The monastery was closely involved with the principles of contemporary church reform. He was much involved in the political intricacies of his time, and maintained especially friendly relations with, and received benefits from, the Norman rulers of southern Italy. He supported many literary and scholarly activities, such as the poetry of Alberic of Montecassino (b c. 1030), the medical books of Constantius Africanus (d c. 1087), and the historical writings of Amatus of Montecassino (b c. 1010) and Leo of Ostia (...

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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

Danielle B. Joyner

From the time John Cassian established the first female foundation in Marseille in ad 410, monastic women lived in varying states of enclosure and were surrounded by diverse images and objects that contributed to their devotion, education and livelihood. The first rule for women, written in 512 by St Caesarius of Arles, emphasized their strict separation from men and the world, as did the Periculoso, a directive issued by Pope Boniface VIII (reg 1294–1303) in 1298. Various architectural solutions developed throughout the Middle Ages to reconcile the necessities of enclosure with the access required by male clerics to celebrate Mass and provide pastoral care. Nuns’ choirs, where the women would gather for their daily prayers, were often constructed as discreet spaces in the church, which allowed women to hear or see the Mass without interacting with the cleric, as in the 10th-century choir in the eastern transept gallery at St Cyriakus in Gernrode, Germany. In some Cistercian examples, the nuns’ choir appeared at the west end of the nave. Dominican and Franciscan architecture was largely varied. Double monasteries, which housed men and women, also required careful construction. A 7th-century text describing the church of St Brigida in ...

Article

Thomas W. Lyman

[Raimon Gairart; Raimundus Gayrardus]

(d July 3, 1118; can 1652).

French saint and patron. He is chiefly associated with the building of the church of St Sernin, Toulouse. Apparently well-born in Toulouse, he became an oblate there and later a canon following his wife’s death. Soon after the reform of the chapter in the 1070s, he was placed in charge of a hospice for the poor founded by Comte Guilhem and Comtesse Matilda. His name appears in the cartulary with the title ecolanus (‘schoolmaster’) late in the 11th century. He is also credited with building two bridges over the River Hers, east of Toulouse.

Raymond’s involvement in building the pilgrimage church of St Sernin is mentioned in two biographical accounts published in Acta sanctorum (Julii, I. 680–82; II. 683–6). The earlier 15th-century account states that he built the corpus (‘body’) of the church ‘from the foundations to the level of the windows before his death’; the language has an archaeological precision that indicates it was based on a nearly contemporaneous source. Raymond was certainly present when building began following the reform, and the hospice, which later became the College Saint-Raymond, may have served to recruit workers for the new basilica. Two carved representations of clerics in the building, as well as an inscription, may also attest his collaboration....