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Noyon  

Matthew Woodworth

French town on the Verse River in Picardy, 89 km north of Paris. Noyon was an important ecclesiastical centre from the Merovingian period, and is the site of one of the earliest Gothic cathedrals. Noyon was founded by the Gallo-Romans as the military camp Pagus Veromanduorum, whose original fortifications survived until the 10th century. The town gained preeminence in 531 when St Médard established it as his new episcopal headquarters, previously held at Saint-Quentin. Noyon Cathedral was the coronation site of both Charlemagne (in 768) and Hugh Capet (in 987), and the relics of its 7th-century bishop, St Eloi, were a popular pilgrimage destination.

The first three cathedrals at Noyon were destroyed by fire in 676, 859 (by the Normans), and 1131. The present Gothic building was begun in 1145–50 and the first three bays of its nave were complete by c. 1205. The cathedral is notable for its fully developed Gothic style at a very early date, although the design of its chevet bears little in common with Abbot Suger’s work at Saint-Denis. Noyon was also the first French Gothic building to feature a clearly defined transept, as previous cathedrals had lacked a central crossing or projecting arms. Noyon’s western towers and portals were complete by ...

Article

Odzun  

Lucy Der Manuelian and Armen Zarian

[formerly Uzunlar]

Village on the River Debet in Armenia. It is noted for its church (6th–7th century ad), the twin-stelae commemorative monument on the church’s north-east side and two medieval cemeteries with many khatchk‘ars (engraved stone slabs; see Cross §II 4.). It was known as Uzunlar from the 19th century to 1967. Although the Armenian historian Kirakos Gandzakets‘i (1201–71) reported that the Katholikos Hovhannēs III Imastaser (‘the Philosopher’) of Odzun (reg 717–28) ‘built a large church’ in the village of Odzun and a 19th-century inscription gives 735 as its date, these pieces of evidence are generally considered to refer to the church’s renovation. An earlier date of construction in the 6th century is suggested by the church’s extended rectangular plan and the existence of porticos, while the sculptural ornament, cornices and vine scrolls link it to 7th-century churches such as Mastara and Mren (639). According to the lintel inscription on the south portal, Bishop ...

Article

Orense  

Rocío Sánchez Ameijeiras

[Galician Ourense]

Capital of the homonymous province in Galicia, Spain. The settlement originated around the 3th century ad and with the building of the Roman bridge it became an important crossing on several Roman roads. The earliest Christian remains date to late 6th century, but the original urban core suffered several violent episodes during the Muslim invasion and Norman riots, which lead to its depopulation. Orense began to recover in the last decades of the 11th century, but the real impetus for the city and the see came in the second half of the 12th, when the kings of León, Ferdinand II (reg 1157–88) and Alfonso IX (reg 1188–1230), sought to fortify the southern Galician sees and ensure their loyalty against the new Kingdom of Portugal. The construction of a new cathedral was begun by Bishop Pedro Seguin (reg 1157–69), but a more ambitious campaign was undertaken by Bishop Alfonso (...

Article

Otranto  

Manuel Castiñeiras

Italian town in the province of Lecce, Apulia, on the east coast of the Salento peninsula, in the Strait of Otranto. The ancient town of Hydrus (or Hydruntum), which was originally a Greek foundation, became a municipium (free town) in Roman times. It was always an important harbour for eastern trade. From the 8th to the 11th centuries it was in the hands of the Byzantine emperors as part of the province known as the Catapanate of Italy. Between 967 and 968 the Patriarch of Constantinople elevated its bishops to the rank of metropolitans. In 1068, the town was conquered by the Norman Duke of Apulia, Robert Guiscard (reg 1057–85), and incorporated in the principality of Taranto, thereby re-establishing the Latin rite. The Greek rite continued to be performed in several towns in the archdiocese and its suffragans (Castro, Gallipoli, Lecce, and Ugento) until the 16th century. From the 11th to the 15th centuries the Basilian monastery of S Nicola de Casole became an important centre of Byzantine culture with a flourishing scriptorium and library. Unfortunately, the Ottoman invasion of the town in ...

Article

María Dolores Díaz Vaquero and M. C. Lacarra Ducay

[anc. Pompaelo]

Spanish city, capital of the old kingdom and present province of Navarre, situated in the north-east of Spain in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is especially known for its Romanesque cathedral and for its roles as an ecclesiastical centre, on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, and as a powerful fortress town that defended the northern approaches to Spain.

María Dolores Díaz Vaquero

The city of Pompaelo was founded near the town of Iruña, now part of Pamplona, by the Romans in 74 bc, in a pass through the Pyrenees that made it the centre of numerous territorial disputes. Its growing importance is attested by the establishment there of an episcopal see in the 6th century AD, and after a period in Arab hands the city was reconquered by the Christians in the 8th century. It was sacked by Charlemagne in 778, but in the 9th century it became the capital of Navarre. Pamplona remained unstable, however, until Charles III (...

Article

Minott Kerr

French town in Burgundy, known for its Romanesque basilica. The church is now dedicated to the Sacré-Coeur. The counts of Chalon founded a monastery dedicated to the Virgin and St John the Baptist at Paray-le-Monial in ad 973 and gave it to the Cluny Abbey in 999. Its original location is uncertain, but by the last quarter of the 11th century the complex stood on its present site on the banks of the River Bourbince. The construction of the church has traditionally been linked to St Hugh, Abbot of Cluny (1049–1109), but although he was related to the founders and reportedly performed two miracles at Paray, there is no indication that he took any special interest in the priory. Visions experienced by the Visitation nun St Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 1670s and 1680s made Paray the centre for the cult of the Sacred Heart. With the consecration of France to the Sacred Heart in ...

Article

Pécs  

Melinda Tóth

[Ger. Fünfkirchen]

Town in south-west Hungary. Now an industrial and cultural centre with several university institutes, it has significant medieval remains, including fragments of the sculptural programme of its Romanesque cathedral. There are also several museums, including the Csontváry Museum, which houses works by the painter Tivadar Csontváry.

Remains from the Neolithic period onwards have been discovered, but the first significant settlement was the Roman town of Sopianae, whose street-plan underlay the western part of the medieval city. Three of the 4th-century Early Christian mausolea contain wall paintings. During the Migration period the ruined town was occupied by nomadic peoples. Pécs became an episcopal see in 1009, after the foundation of the Hungarian state (c. 1000), and the town remained in the possession of the bishop until the second half of the 18th century. The Turkish occupation of Pécs from 1543 to 1686 caused great destruction as well as a cultural break, and many of the medieval monuments are known only from drawings and excavations....

Article

Alison Stones

French town in the Dordogne that grew up on the site of Roman Vesunna. Roman remains include the arena, temple and villa, the latter now the site of a museum of Roman art designed by Jean Nouvel. Several medieval houses preserve fragments of 13th-century wall paintings. The former medieval cathedral dedicated to St Etienne is located between the temple and arena and preserves several bays of its early 12th-century choir with a flat east end vaulted with domes on pendentives. Similar domes are found at the 12th-century abbey church of St Front, originally outside the walls and since 1669 the cathedral. St Front has a Greek-cross plan like that of the Holy Apostles (destr.) in Constantinople and St Mark’s in Venice. It was restored by Paul Abadie, architect of Sacré-Coeur, Paris, who endowed both buildings with ‘pepper-pot’ turrets. Fragments of early 12th-century sculpture from St Front survive at the Musée du Périgord in Périgueux, some from the tomb of St Fronto described in the mid-12th-century Pilgrims Guide to Santiago de Compostela, where it is claimed that Fronto was sent to Périgueux by St Peter. Other medieval holdings in the museum include the Diptych of Rabastens (Tarn), the founding charter of the Confraternity of the Assumption, containing the names of the founding members beneath scenes of the ...

Article

Pisa  

Alessandra Anselmi, Rossella Caruso, Antonio Caleca, Anabel Thomas and John Richards

Italian city in Tuscany. An important medieval trading port at the mouth of the River Arno, Pisa was the centre of a distinctive and influential style of Romanesque architecture, and its wealth, derived from commercial activity all over the Mediterranean area, attracted a number of important artists to the city.

The city’s name, Etruscan in origin, means ‘mouth’ or ‘outlet’. The earliest settlement grew up near the sea, probably in the 6th century bc, on islands in the lagoon on the river plain at the junction of the rivers Arno and Auser (now Serchio). By the 10th century ad the coastline had already receded by 6 km; Pisa is now 12 km inland. The accumulation of alluvial deposits did not, however, prevent the development of a flourishing maritime trade.

The settlement was conquered by the Romans in 230 bc; they altered the topography by dividing the surrounding land into centuriae...

Article

Pistoia  

Antonio Milone

Italian city in Tuscany. Pistoia is an ancient city lying at the foothills of the Apennines, which was at the crossroads of commercial interchange between Tuscany and northern Italy during the medieval period. It was a municipium (free town) on the Via Cassia in the Roman period. Over time the city developed and spread around the ancient nucleus. It has been a bishopric since antiquity and in the Lombard age (6th–8th centuries) it coined its own money, the tremisse, and a new city wall was constructed. In the 12th century the city wall was further improved. By this time Pistoia was a flourishing comune and a pilgrimage site centred on an important relic of St James, which was housed in a chapel built in the cathedral in 1145. In the 14th century the last city wall was built and then, after a century of wars, Pistoia finally fell under Florentine hegemony (...

Article

Ptghni  

Lucy Der Manuelian and Armen Zarian

[Ptghnavank‘]

Village c. 18 km north of Erevan, Armenia, noted for its church (the monastery of Ptghni; 6th–7th centuries). The building is one of the earliest Armenian domed hall-type churches in which the features of a longitudinal church and a domed square are combined; it is built of tufa blocks and sits on a three-stepped podium. The earliest example of this church type is the 5th-century SS Paul and Peter at Zovuni, erected by the Gnt‘uni family. Ptghni and the later examples at Aruch (T‘alish), founded by Prince Grigor I Mamikonian (reg c. 662–84), and the church (7th century) at Dedmashen served as prototypes for the more compact form of domed hall-type church constructed in Armenia from the 9th century.

Ptghni is thought to have been founded by princes of the Amatuni family; the 5th-century Armenian historians Agathangelos and Yeghishe mention several princes in connection with it. The present structure has been dated on the basis of its sculptural and architectural details. Two sculptural fragments inserted in the south wall, parts of a ...

Article

Ravello  

Antonio Milone

Italian cathedral city in the province of Salerno, Campania. Ravello has been documented as an urban centre since the 10th century and as a bishopric since 1087. The centre, near the Toro quarter, is high up between the two rivers that separate the city from Scala and Minori. The city’s fortifications were damaged and the city itself was sacked by a Pisan assault in 1135 and in 1137. At the end of the 14th century, its inhabitants also clashed with the neighbouring city of Scala. In the 13th century a mercantile oligarchy with power throughout all of Sicily and close relations to the Crown took control of the city, celebrated in Boccaccio’s Decameron (II.4), and enriched it with numerous monuments and artworks.

The cathedral, dedicated to S Pantaleone, dates to 1087 but was extensively altered in the late 18th century. The cathedral has three naves and the façade has three portals—the central one has a bronze door (...

Article

Betsy L. Chunko

[Lat. Durobrivae]

English cathedral city in Kent. Rochester is the second oldest see in England. St Andrew’s Cathedral was founded under King Ethelbert of Kent in 604 to serve the western half of his kingdom, and in the same year St Augustine consecrated St Justus its first bishop. After the Conquest, Bishop Bishop Gundulf (reg 1076/77–1108) began construction of a new church on the same site. The building was in use by 1083 and Gundulf translated its relics in 1088. Between 1080 and 1083, Gundulf replaced the cathedral’s five secular canons with twenty-two Benedictine monks. By his death in 1108, this number had risen to 60. The nave of Gundulf’s church was rebuilt in late Norman fashion and consecrated in 1130, with additions completed between 1179 and 1240. In 1343 the choir was rebuilt and a central tower added (replaced 1825–7). The wall paintings, and the Wheel of Fortune (13th century) in particular, are of note. At the Dissolution, the priory surrendered in ...

Article

Giuseppe Pinna

Italian village in the Molise region, north of Naples, with the remains of a large Benedictine abbey. It was founded in ad 703 by a group of nobles from Campania on their return from the abbey of Farfa in the Lazio region. The monastery originated from earlier settlements established by the Lombard dukes of Benevento and flourished with the support of Duke Gisulf II (reg 742–50) and subsequently of Charlemagne. Building activity was particularly prolific under the abbot Giosuè (792–817), who constructed the Basilica Maior and the monastery, and Epiphanius (824–42), who is thought to have built S Maria and S Lorenzo in Insula. The 9th-century monastery comprised nine buildings distributed along the left bank of the Volturno River. They were reduced to rubble by an earthquake in 848 and by two Saracen incursions (850 and 882). This destruction was followed by a new nucleus of buildings on the opposite bank of the Volturno that was consecrated in ...

Article

Markus Neuwirth

[It. San Sigismondo]

Italian village in the Val Pusteria (Ger. Pustertal), South Tyrol, Alto Adige. It is named after the parish church, which was begun in 1449 by Friedrich von Pfalzen and completed by Valentin Winkler in 1489. The church itself is a simple structure, with a single aisle and rib-vaulting, but it is noted for its altarpiece of c. 1430, carved by an unknown master and the earliest with a deep shrine-construction in Tyrol to have been substantially preserved. The handling of the drapery corresponds with the late Soft style. It has been attributed to Hans Maler von Bruneck, who is known to have worked in the Pustertal and Brixen (It. Bressanone) between 1410 and 1440. The central shrine contains the Virgin and Child Enthroned, with the figure of St James on the left and St Sigismund on the right, and originally accompanied by Musician Angels (Innsbruck, Tirol. Landesmus.). On the inside of the painted wings are scenes from the ...

Article

James D’Emilio

City in the Rioja, north-west Spain, best known for its cathedral. A church and hospice were founded on the pilgrimage road in the Rioja by St Domingo in 1106 and consecrated to the Saviour and St Mary. The town was named Santo Domingo de la Calzada in the saint’s honour. According to the Annales compostellani, the present church was founded in 1158. Donations for its construction (ad operam) were made in 1183. In 1199 a royal gift mentions lands once given to the builder Master Gassion, active in the 1160s. Canons came from Nájera c. 1180, the church became a cathedral in 1227, and the diocesan seat was transferred from Calahorra in 1235.

The church originally consisted of a rib-vaulted ambulatory topped by a gallery, three radiating chapels, a projecting transept sheltering the saint’s tomb, and a nave of three square bays and a smaller western bay, flanked by narrow aisles later lined with chapels. Construction began with the north wall of the ambulatory, working round to the south, where mouldings enliven the ribs. Paired responds appeared very early in the construction at the ambulatory entrance and later on the crossing piers and beneath the nave vault, while clustered colonnettes ring the hemicycle piers. Octapartite nave vaults and quadripartite aisle vaults mark the early 13th-century completion of the church. A cloister, begun in the 14th century, was completed in ...

Article

Scala  

Antonio Milone

Italian cathedral city in the province of Salerno, Campania. According to the 10th-century Chronicon Salernitanum, where it is referred to as Cama, Scala is the oldest centre along the entire Amalfi coast and has its origins in Late Antiquity. However, documentary proof that the city existed is only available from the beginning of the 10th century. Throughout history it has been home to a commercial aristocracy with commercial and political power throughout the entire Kingdom of Sicily. The Sasso and d’Afflitto families stood out from others in this group. Monasteries have been recorded in the city from the 10th century and it was under the control of the Duchy of Amalfi for the entire medieval period.

The settlement is characterized by numerous villages, such as Pontone and Minuta, which are found high up in the mountains behind Amalfi as well as in front of Ravello . Although the city is defended by a series of fortifications, it was damaged and sacked by a Pisan assault in ...

Article

Gerhard Lutz

City in northern Switzerland. The origins of Schaffhausen date back to c. 1000 when it was a crossing point on the Rhine. Ships had to be unloaded here to bypass the nearby Rhine falls, thus Schaffhausen quickly became a flourishing centre. In 1049 Graf Eberhard von Nellenburg (1015–c. 1078) and his wife Ita founded the Benedictine Allerheiligen Monastery here. Eberhard’s son, Graf Burkhard von Nellenburg (1050–c. 1105), donated the town to the monastery in 1080. In 1190 monastery and town became self-governing under Emperor Henry VI (reg 1190–97) and the abbot lost control of the town in the 13th century when the citizens became more influential. During the 15th century Schaffhausen gradually joined the Swiss Confederation before it became its eleventh full member in 1501.

The Allerheiligen Monastery was founded around 1049 when Pope Leo IX (reg 1049–54) consecrated an altar on the site of the monastery. Today’s building was started with the introduction of the Hirsau reform movement under Abbot Wilhelm von Hirsau (...

Article

Antonio Milone

[Lat. Suessa]

Italian city in the province of Caserta, Campania. The ancient Suessa, principal city of the Aurunci, was an important Roman municipium on the Appian Way between Rome and Capua. The medieval town overlaps the Roman city, of which some monuments still survive. The medieval centre is enclosed by walls and dominated by the castle (the defensive system also includes the 13th-century tower of S Biagio). Medieval buildings include tower houses, the Gothic Sedile di S Matteo (15th century), which was one of four locations where the nobility met, and late medieval Durazzo-Catalan palaces (15th century).

A bishopric from the 5th century, Sessa Aurunca became a county in 976 and, except for brief periods, was a royal city throughout the Middle Ages. Under the Angevins, Sessa Aurunca grew and a larger city wall was created under Aragon rule, around which new monastic complexes developed. The main monument is the Romanesque Cathedral of S Pietro, which, according to the ...

Article

N. B. Nemtseva

[Shakhrisyabz]

Town in Uzbekistan. Located south of the Aq Sai range (Zeravshanskiy Khrebet) in the Kashka River basin, the town was part of southern Sogdiana in ancient times. In early medieval times the main town in the region was known as Kish, but, after it was destroyed by the Mongols, a new town grew up around the remains of the abandoned settlement at the end of the 13th century. In the 14th century the small unfortified town was renamed Shahr-i Sabz (Pers. ‘green town’). The Timurid ruler Timur was born in the nearby village of Khwaja-i-Ghar, and in the 1360s and 1370s Shahr-i Sabz became his winter quarters and during his reign the second royal residence after Samarkand. In 1378–9 the centre of the town was surrounded with walls 4 km long, articulated with half-towers and four gates; beyond the walls lay a moat with drawbridges. Two axial streets divided the town into quadrants. The north-east quarter contained a park with ...