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Article

Andrew Poulter

Site in Bulgaria, 15 km south-west of Plovdiv. Under Roman rule it served as an important religious centre, with dedications set up to such Greek divinities as Asklepios, Hygieia and Hera, to the eastern Cybele and Mithras and to the Thracian horseman god. By c. ad 400 there was a church on the site, which was in turn levelled (?c. 500–550) to make way for the Byzantine Red Church, the ruins of which are still standing (h. c. 14 m). The name of the Byzantine church derives from the use throughout of brick construction. Its plan is unusual for the Balkans and comprises a central space of 8 sq. m with apses on each side and encircling single-storey north and south aisles. Four piers connected by arches support the central dome and the half-domes that cover the apses. The eastern apse is deeper than the others, with a barrel-vaulted choir separating it from the nave. At the west end of the church are an inner and outer narthex, the latter containing a quatrefoil ...

Article

J.-P. Sodini

[Kalaat Seman; Kal‛at Sim‛an; Kal‛at Sim‛ân; Qal‛at Seman; Qal‛at Sem‛an; Qalat Siman]

Early Christian pilgrimage centre built in the 5th century ad, 30 km north-west of Aleppo, northern Syria. This architectural complex, situated on a hilltop in the Jabal Sim‛an, and dedicated to St Simeon the Stylite, ranked with St John at Ephesos and Abu Mina in Egypt among the major centres of pilgrimage in the eastern Mediterranean outside the Holy Land. It was built around the column (originally 16–18 m high) on which St Simeon (c. ad 390–459), the first stylite saint, perched for 40 years. Construction of the martyrium was financed by the emperor Zeno (reg ad 474–91), probably within 20 years of the saint’s death. The site was first brought to scholars’ attention by de Vogüé in 1862 and later by Butler, who visited it in 1899. In the 1930s Krencker investigated the roofing of the central octagon and excavated the eastern basilica, and Tchalenko began to study the whole site and establish its layout....

Article

Jaynie Anderson

(b Dresden, Jan 7, 1847; d Lugano, Aug 25, 1937).

German art historian, collector and dealer. The son of a Lutheran clergyman, he first studied theology at Leipzig but while travelling in Italy in 1869 became interested in early Christian archaeology, in which field he determined to continue. His first publications were on the sources of Byzantine art history and the mosaics of Ravenna. In 1876 he met Giovanni Morelli, whose disciple he became. Their lengthy correspondence constitutes an important source for the early history of connoisseurship. Richter published a short biography of Leonardo in 1880, then a series of articles in the Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst and finally his edition of the Literary Works of Leonardo (1883), the work that established his reputation as a scholar. This was the first scholarly edition of Leonardo’s writings, illustrated, moreover, with a selection of mostly authentic drawings at a time when books on Leonardo were normally illustrated by his pupils’ works....

Article

Elizabeth B. Smith

Italian Benedictine abbey in the Abruzzo region. Founded in the 9th century by Emperor Louis the Pious (reg 814–40) and dedicated to St Clement I, whose relics it claimed, the abbey flourished under Abbot Leonate (reg 1155–82), a member of the papal curia. Leonate began an ambitious rebuilding project starting with a new façade, complete with rose window, and a portico for the church, both of which were decorated with monumental stone sculpture carved by masters who were probably not local but rather of French or north Italian origin, perhaps on their way to or from the Holy Land. An elaborately carved pulpit and paschal candelabrum also date to the time of Leonate, as does the Chronicon Casauriense (Paris, Bib. N., MS. lat. 5411), a compilation of documents pertinent to the abbey combined with a history of its existence up to the time of Leonate’s death. Although Leonate died before completing his rebuilding programme, his successor Joel installed the bronze doors still on the central portal of the façade. Construction continued on the church in the early 13th century....

Article

Sohag  

C. Walters

[Sūhāg]

Chief town of the province of Sohag, Egypt, situated on the west bank of the River Nile, c. 490 km south of Cairo. To the west of the town are two 5th-century Coptic churches, known as the White Monastery (Dayr al-Abyad) and the Red Monastery (Dayr al-Ahmar). The White Monastery is the more important of the two. Although the surrounding area was investigated briefly by Petrie in 1907, further excavations were not undertaken until the late 1980s.

The White Monastery itself was founded in the first half of the 4th century ad. Its abbot between c. ad 388 and 446 was Shenute, one of the leading figures of the early monastic movement. The structure is enclosed by high walls of white limestone blocks and comprises a basilical church (35×75 m), probably founded c. ad 440, which is preceded by a western narthex, terminates in an eastern trefoil apse with a single, central altar and is flanked to the south by a long hall of unknown use. Galleries surmounted the hall and the basilica’s narthex and side aisles....

Article

(b Spetsai, Sept 20, 1888; d Athens, Jan 25, 1963).

Greek archaeologist and art historian. Although he originally studied theology, Soteriou devoted his life to Early Christian and Byzantine archaeology, which he studied at the universities of Leipzig, Berlin and Vienna from 1909. He was appointed Inspector General of Byzantine Antiquities at Athens in 1915 and Director of the Byzantine Museum at Athens in 1923. Under his leadership the museum grew into an international centre of Byzantine architectural and archaeological studies.

From 1928 to 1951 he was Professor of Christian archaeology and palaeography at the National Capodistrian University of Athens. He was elected to membership of the Athens Academy in 1926 and held its presidency in 1941; he was also a member of many learned societies both in Greece and abroad. In 1957 he was presented with the prestigious Grand Prix G. Schlumberger for Byzantine studies by the Académie Française.

Soteriou brought to light many previously little- or unknown monuments, as in his excavations (...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Patsy Vanags

Site of a Roman temple incorporated into an Early Christian or early medieval church, c. 15 km north of Spoleto, Italy. The River Clitumnus, with its numerous springs, was sacred in Roman times, and there were many shrines along its course. Spolia from these may have been used in the existing structure. It has some traits in common with Roman temples, most notably its four-columned façade with a pediment above. The framing of the columns with two apparently contemporary square section columns is uncommon, but other aspects of its design mark it out as an Early Christian building (4th or 5th century ad) or an early medieval one (8th or 9th century). The interior has a narrow horseshoe arch in the apse and carved mouldings with early medieval characteristics. The building stands on a podium, but instead of a staircase at the front, a flight of steps on either side leads to a small pedimented doorway giving access to the interior. This unusual arrangement may be due to the siting of the building on a sloping bank, but its bold form, with miniaturized Hellenistic grandeur reminiscent of the Roman sanctuary (late ...

Article

Gregor M. Lechner

(b Eiglau, Silesia, Aug 21, 1857; d Rome, Feb 13, 1944).

German archaeologist and priest. He studied philosophy and theology at the Jesuit academy in Innsbruck, where he was ordained in 1883. Through the mediation of Cardinal Friedrich Egon von Fürstenberg (1853–92) of Olmütz he made a study trip to Rome in 1884 and became curate at the seminary at the Campo Santo. There he began the independent research into Early Christian art that was to be his life’s work. In 1892 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the theological faculty of Münster University, Westphalia; he was appointed Protonotary Apostolic in 1903 and Dean of Münster University in 1924. From 1926 he taught at the Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana and published frequently in the Römische Quartalschrift edited by A. de Waal. His many other writings include several standard works on Early Christian wall paintings and mosaics in Rome and on Early Christian sarcophagi. Of a more autobiographical nature was his ...