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Article

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 (...

Article

Lucy Der Manuelian

Island on Lake Van in south-eastern Turkey. It is the site of the church of the Holy Cross (Sourb Khatch), which was built in ad 915–21 as the palatine church of the Ardsruni king Gagik (reg 908–c. 943) of the Armenian kingdom of Vaspurakan. The church is of singular importance for the history of medieval art because of the form, content and iconography of its sculptural reliefs and wall paintings. It is the oldest surviving church almost entirely covered on the exterior with figural relief in stone (see Armenia, fig.).

According to information in a text of the late 18th century or early 19th and an inscription on the building’s façade now hidden by a gavit’ or assembly hall (1793; see Armenia, Republic of, §II), the church was built by the King’s Armenian architect Manuel (Lalayan, 1910). An anonymous continuator of the 10th-century ...

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

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 (...

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

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

Ateni  

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 (...

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 ...

Article

Bawit  

C. Walters

Site on the west bank of the River Nile, c. 16 km west of Daryūt in the province of Asyūt, Egypt. A large monastery with rich sculptural and painted decoration originally lay in the desert 1 km to the west. According to tradition it was founded by the monk Apollo in the late 4th century ad and was inhabited until the late 12th century. The site was excavated intermittently between 1901 and 1913 by the French Archaeological Institute in Cairo; most of the structural finds were removed to the Coptic Museum in Cairo and the Louvre in Paris. The monastery consisted of an enclosed nucleus with other buildings outside the walls, although it is not known how much of the site was occupied at any given time. Within the enclosed area were two churches. A number of two-storey structures were excavated, of which the ground floors were probably chapels and the upper floors served as living quarters, as in the monastery of Apa Jeremiah at Saqqara (...

Article

Denys Pringle

[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’....

Article

French, 19th century, male.

Born 7 October 1797, in Paris; died 14 September 1871, in Paris.

Painter, draughtsman. Religious subjects, landscapes, landscapes with figures, architectural views. Stage sets, church decoration.

Barbizon School.

A pupil of Bidauld, Ingres and Girodet-Trioson at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, François Bertin exhibited at the salon quite regularly from 1827 to 1853. He was the son of the founder of the ...

Article

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....

Article

V. Beridze

Complex of cave monasteries in the Garedzhi Desert, 60–70 km south-east of Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. In the early 6th century the monk David, one of the 13 ‘Syrian fathers’ who preached Christianity in Georgia, and his pupil Lukian inhabited the caves, thus forming the basis of the Lavra of David. During the following centuries 11 further monasteries were founded in the cave complex, including Tsamebuli, Natlismtsemeli (John the Baptist), Chichkhituri, Dodos-Rka, Bertubani and Sabereyebi. They are spread over a wide area and include hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living-quarters hollowed out of the rock face.

Despite the harsh environment, David Garedzhi remained an important centre of religious and cultural activity for many centuries; at certain periods the monasteries owned extensive agricultural lands and many villages. King David III the Builder (reg 1089–1125) made David Garedzhi a royal property. Its main period of development was in the late 12th century and the early 13th, with the construction and decoration in fresco of numerous cave churches and refectories. These structures are much larger than the earlier ones and are decorated with exceptionally beautiful murals, displaying a distinctive school of Georgian monumental painting. Among the portraits of historical figures are those of ...

Article

Garni  

J. M. Rogers

[anc. Gornea]

Armenian village, 30 km east of Erevan in the Abovian district, famous for its pagan and Christian architectural remains. The earliest indications of settlement are the Early Bronze Age (c. 2500 bc) foundation courses of Cyclopean masonry (see Masonry, §II) at the site of Garni’s fortress, which is strategically situated on a triangular promontory high above the River Azat. An Urartian inscription records its conquest by King Argishti I (reg 785–760 bc). The present fortress was probably built in the 3rd century bc, using massive dressed basalt blocks reinforced with iron clamps set in lead. Garni is recorded by Tacitus (Annals XII.xlv) as the Roman garrison of Gornea in ad 51, shortly after which the fortress was partially dismantled and the garrison expelled (62). If the Greek restoration inscription dated to the eleventh year of the reign of King Trdat is attributed to the first ruler of that name (...

Article

Patrick Donabédian

Armenian monastery c. 30 km east of Erevan, set among the wild and impressive rock faces of the deep valley of the River Azat. In the early 4th century ad a monastery known as Ayrivank’ (‘cave monastery’) was founded on this site in a cave. The name Geghard dates from the 13th century, when a fragment of the Holy Lance (Armen. geghard; now in Ēdjmiadzin Cathedral, Sacristy) was brought here. The monastery is set in a courtyard (c. 100×65 m) surrounded on three sides by walls with towers and on the fourth (north) by a rock face. The earliest monument is the chapel of St Grigor the Illuminator (later dedicated to the Mother of God) which lies outside the monastery walls 100 m to the west and, according to inscriptions, dates from as early as 1160. At the beginning of the 13th century the site became the property of the Zakarid princes under whom the monastery developed. Around ...

Article

V. Beridze

Architectural complex founded in 1106 as a monastery and academy on the south bank of the Tskaltsitela River, 12 km from Kutaisi, Georgia. It was founded by King David III the Builder (reg 1089–1125) and is generally regarded as the most important centre of medieval Georgian culture and art. Among the many outstanding scholars there was the Neo-Platonist philosopher Ioann Petrisi (fl c. 1080–1120), who translated texts of Aristotle and Proclus into Georgian and wrote commentaries upon them. The wealth of the monastery was based on land grants and contributions from the Georgian kings and from private individuals.

Three churches now remain, together with a bell-tower and the ruins of the academy building. The main church (1106–25) is dedicated to the Dormition and has a cruciform plan (35.5×35 m) with three projecting eastern apses and a dome resting on two piers and the corners of the altar apse. Three chapels were subsequently added to the east, south and north sides in the 12th and 13th centuries. The walls are built with hewn stone and decorated on the exterior with a complex system of arches. The interior decoration includes a mosaic (...

Article

Patrick Donabédian

Armenian monastery in the village of Haghpat c. 10 km north-east of Alaverdi in the district of T’umanyan, northern Armenia. It is one of the largest and best preserved architectural complexes of medieval Armenia. Its principal buildings are grouped together in a fairly compact manner, surrounded by a vast fortified precinct. Only a small portion of the annexes have survived. Several structures are located outside the complex, including a fort, a hermitage and a fountain (1258).

The monastery was probably founded c. 976, at the time the main church of the Holy Sign (Armen. Sourb Nshan) was built by Queen Khosrovanush, wife of King Ashot III of Ani (reg 952–77). The church’s construction may have been supervised by the Armenian architect Trdat (fl 989–1001) and was completed in 991 by the founder’s two sons, King Smbat (reg 977–89) and Gurgēn, the leader of the small local kingdom of Loṙē. It is a typical example of an Armenian cross-in-rectangle church, with a cylindrical drum surmounted by a conical shaped dome (rest. between the 11th and 13th centuries) and supported by pendentives and arches that spring from piers with engaged columns. The façades are articulated with pairs of tall V-shaped slits. On the east façade, the rectangular recess beneath the gable contains a relief of the two donor brothers holding a model of the church and crowned according to their respective ranks: Smbat wears a voluminous turban presented to the Bagratid kings by the caliphs, whereas Gurgēn wears a sort of helmet....

Article

V. Beridze

Early 13th-century church, 10 km from Kintsvisi village, Kareli District, Georgia. There are no documents relating to the construction or decoration of the church, which has a domed, cruciform plan (14×24.5×24.3 m) and which is built entirely of brick. Its wall paintings include portraits of the Georgian monarchs King Giorgy III (reg 1156–84), his daughter Queen Tamar (reg 1184–1213) and her son King Lasha Giorgy IV (reg 1213–22); the Three Marys at the Tomb is depicted and the Virgin on the north wall, in the couch of the apse. These frescoes, which cover the wall surfaces in a continuous spread, are typical of the more decorative style of Georgian painting from c. 1200. The figures are finely drawn in frontal and three-quarter poses, and their faces have animated expressions. The palette is a rich combination of lapis-lazuli blue, light greens, gold, red and white. Adjoining the north side of the church is a small, semi-ruined chapel (13th century) containing fresco fragments; the unidentified remains of earlier buildings lie near by....

Article

Alan Borg

[Arab. Ḥisṇ al-Akrād]

Crusader castle in Syria. It is generally considered to be the finest of all crusader castles, but this reputation is to some extent an accident of scholarship, for it remains the only such castle to have been thoroughly investigated and restored. This work was done by a French team, led by Paul Deschamps. Krak represents the ultimate development of crusader fortification, however, and the earlier phases are better studied at the equally impressive sites of Saone (Sahyun) and Margat (al-Marqab) in Syria and Kerak (al-Karak) in Jordan. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

The stone castle of Krak occupies a dominant hilltop, near two Roman roads and overlooking a fertile valley (see fig.). The site was apparently occupied by a fortress as early as the 13th century bc. It was mentioned in Arab texts in ad 1031, when a settlement of Kurds was established, with a small castle. These fell to a crusading force in ...

Article

British, 20th century, male.

Born 1877, in Manchester; died 1930, in Bromborough.

Painter (gouache), watercolourist, draughtsman, illustrator. Local scenes, landscapes, architectural views, church interiors.

Orientalism.

Augustus Osborne Lamplough trained at Chester School of Art and taught in Leeds from 1898 to 1899. He travelled and painted extensively in Algeria, Morocco and Egypt. He exhibited in London and throughout Britain, as well as in the USA (notably New York, Philadelphia and Buffalo). Lamplough's early works are cathedral interiors and architectural views of Venice. Following his journey to the Middle East, he painted desert views, the Nile (particularly reflections in the water at sunrise or dusk) and market scenes. His watercolours are characterised by his use of ochre, buff and beige tonalities, evocative of the desert sands and skies. Several of his watercolours have been published as book illustrations: ...