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Heather Pulliam

Scottish Cistercian foundation established in 1136 by David (reg 1124–53). Partly due to its position in the Scottish borders, Melrose Abbey was frequently raided by English kings. In 1385, the original church dedicated to Mary was burnt to the ground. There are a few remnants of the original 12th-century structure, primarily the lower part of the west wall.

From 1386 until 1590, the abbey church and surrounding buildings were rebuilt in the Gothic style. Much of the rose-coloured sandstone church survives. In the Cistercian manner, a pulpitum screen separates the western end of the nave used by the lay brothers from the eastern end containing the choir, transept, and presbytery. The nave is flanked by eight surviving side aisles. Executed in several phases, the architecture and ornament is a mixture of styles. The first stage is largely English in style, especially in its vertical emphasis. This is unsurprising as King Richard II of England (...


Thomas W. Lyman

Former Benedictine abbey in Tarn-et-Garonne, south-western France. The abbey church that legend ascribed to Clovis was in fact founded towards 628–48, but only the foundations of an early church survive under a successively rebuilt complex of buildings, some of which were destroyed during the 19th century. The present church was built on the substructure of one consecrated in 1063 by Durandus of Bredon (d 1072), the recently appointed Bishop of Toulouse who had been made Abbot of Moissac when the monastery became a Cluniac possession in 1047. The 11th-century church was flanked to the north by a cloister under the abbacy of Ansquitil (1085–1115), then rebuilt during the course of the 12th century in a style characteristic of south-western France, that is with a single-cell nave of two large square bays vaulted with domes on pendentives and a choir with radiating chapels. The domes were replaced by Abbot ...


Martin Kauffmann and Carl D. Sheppard

Cathedral in Sicily that contains the largest surviving ensemble of mosaic decoration in Italy.

It was formerly a Benedictine monastery. The foundation of the monastic house of S Maria Nuova by King William II of Sicily (see Hauteville, House of family, §2) marked the climax of Norman ecclesiastical and artistic patronage on the island. The site chosen was on a hill overlooking Palermo. By a papal bull of 1174 (which refers to the monastery being under construction) the foundation was exempted from episcopal jurisdiction and made subject only to the papacy, which effectively delegated its involvement to the King as Apostolic Legate. In 1176 one hundred Cluniac monks, under the first abbot, Theobald (reg 1176–8), came at William’s invitation from the abbey of Santa Trinità at Cava dei Tirreni near Salerno. In the same year William endowed the abbey with extensive properties, including a large area in west-central Sicily, and exempted it from royal taxation. In ...


Maylis Baylé

Benedictine abbey on an island off the coast of Normandy, France.

The first chapel on this site was founded in 708 by Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, after the Archangel Michael had appeared to him in a dream. The oratory, consecrated in 709, was served by a community of 12 canons. It apparently survived the Norman invasions, but the observance of the rule became very relaxed. In 966 Richard I, Duke of Normandy (reg 942–96), established there Benedictine monks from St Wandrille Abbey under the direction of Abbot Maynard (reg 966–91), who began the reconstruction of the church and other buildings. The church was burnt in 992 and rebuilt on a larger scale by Abbot Hildebert II (reg 1017–23) from 1023, at the time of the monastic reforms in Normandy carried out by Richard II (reg 996–1027) and William of Volpiano (962–1031). The Romanesque church was completed ...


Danielle Valin Johnson

Former Benedictine abbey in the départment de l’Oise, France. A double monastery existed at Morienval as early as the mid-9th century: an act of Charles III the Simple c. 920 confirms donations by his grandmother, Irmentraude (d 896). An early 12th-century act suggests that a translation of the relics of St Anobert occurred between 1070 and 1102. The former date coincides approximately with the demolition of the east end of the Carolingian church and the construction of a chevet flanked by lateral towers, together with the base and first two storeys of the tower porch to the west. Following this, the simple Carolingian nave was replaced by a nave with aisles. In a third campaign, the third storey of the tower porch was completed, probably by 1105. Some 15 or 20 years later, the apse collapsed and was replaced by the present one with false ambulatory, which was thoroughly restored in the late 19th century....


[anc. Akte]

The easternmost of the three southern promontories of Chalkidiki in northern Greece, inhabited since the 7th century ad by Eastern Orthodox monks. According to legend the name is derived from the rebellious giant Athos, who dared to challenge Poseidon and was then buried under the rock hurled against him by the furious god. At its north-west end the peninsula (w. 5–10 km; l. c. 47.5 km) is joined to the mainland by a low and narrow isthmus (w. 2.5 km), through which King Xerxes of Persia (reg 486–465 bc) cut a canal before 480 bc, distinct traces of which still exist. From this point a hilly and then mountainous ridge stretches south-east, dividing the peninsula into two main slopes—the north-east and south-west, on which lie all the monastic communities—and terminating in Mt Athos (h. 2033 m). According to Herodotos (Histories, vii, 22) the Pelasgians from the island of Lemnos founded five cities on the peninsula. Colonies were also established by the inhabitants of Eretria. Of the towns known to have stood on the isthmus, only the remains of ...


Basilio Pavón Maldonado

Spanish term used to describe the architecture and art of Islamic inspiration produced in the areas of the Iberian peninsula reconquered by Christians between 1085, when Alfonso VI of Castile-León (reg 1072–1109) seized Toledo from the Muslims, and the 16th century. The Castilian word derives from the Arabic mudajjan (‘permitted to remain’), and it was initially thought that Mudéjar art was produced only by Muslims for Christian masters, but the term has come to be applied to a broader range of works produced by Muslims, Christians, and Jews for Christian and Jewish patrons. Mudéjar may be contrasted to Mozarabic, which, in its strictest sense, refers to the art of Christians living under Muslim rule in the peninsula in the 10th and 11th centuries. The distinctive and eclectic style of Mudéjar brick, stucco, and timber architecture developed in many regions of Spain throughout the long Spanish Middle Ages (see...


Srdjan Djurić

Byzantine monastery in the Republic of Macedonia, 5 km south-west of Skopje. It was founded by the imperial prince Alexios Komnenos, the grandson of Alexios I Komnenos (reg 1081–1112), and the date 1164 is given on the lintel of the church’s main door. Little remains of the conventual buildings, but the church, which was restored in the 1960s, contains some of the finest frescoes in Macedonia, executed by a 12th-century artist from Constantinople. It is cross-in-square in plan, with a domed octagonal drum and four smaller square drums rising from the centre and corner bays respectively. The eastern bays serve as forechoirs of the main apse and are accessible from both the altar and nave, while the western pair of bays form separate chapels accessible only from the narthex. These architectural features are similar to those found in other churches of the Komnenian period. The exterior of the Nerezi church is built in cloisonné masonry with colonnettes and carved capitals decorating the recessed windows. The sculptural decoration inside the church includes an elaborately carved iconostasis and a plaster frame around the fresco-icon of the church’s patron, St Panteleimon, depicting peacocks drinking from a kantharos....


Jacques Thiébaut

Former collegiate church in Nivelles, Belgium. The present fabric combines an Ottonian basilica with a later Romanesque forebuilding; although it has been much restored, the church is almost the sole surviving example of Ottonian architecture in the Meuse region. A Benedictine abbey for both monks and nuns under the direction of an abbess was founded at Nivelles by Itta (d ad 652), widow of Pepin I of Landen (d 640), at the instigation of St Amand, Bishop of Maastricht (reg 647–50). Itta’s daughter Gertrude was the first abbess. From the start the foundation comprised three churches: Notre-Dame for the nuns, St Paul for the monks and St Pierre, the cemetery church, in which St Gertrude was buried (659); the last was later dedicated to St Gertrude with the development of her cult. By the 10th century the monastery had become a collegiate foundation of canons and canonesses....


Ronald Baxter

Former Benedictine abbey in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. It was founded in 752 by the Lombard king Astolfo and consecrated in the following year in the name of the Holy Apostles. In 756 it was rededicated to St Sylvester (Pope 314–35), after his body was obtained as a source of prestige and income for the abbey. Its royal status, outside the jurisdiction of the diocese, was retained after the fall of the Lombards, when it became dependent only on the Holy Roman Emperor. The abbey was rebuilt after a fire (?890) and again after the Hungarian invasion of 899. The new church, consecrated in 904, was damaged by an earthquake in 1117, and rebuilding was begun four years later, according to an inscription on the lintel of the west portal of the present church, but the extent of the damage is unclear.

The church, built entirely of red brick (refaced, 1914–17), has eight bays with aisles, three eastern apses and a wooden roof. The arcade has quadrilobed piers; the half-columns facing the main vessel once rose to support the roof, but they were truncated in the 15th century when capitals bearing the Este arms were inserted to carry the springing of a vault, taken down in ...


Lisa A. Reilly

Term established early in the 19th century in England to describe the style of Romanesque art common to Normandy and areas of Norman conquest, particularly England where, in the interests of precision, it is now more usually known as ‘Anglo-Norman’ (see Romanesque §II 5.). In France it is used without such a precise stylistic and chronological connotation and refers simply to architecture in Normandy, the region of north-west France named after its Viking (‘northmen’) invaders. Norman architecture, with its magnificent scale and bold composition, is generally regarded as their greatest area of interest and achievement. While by no means uniform, Norman churches typically consist of an elevation of three almost equal storeys, with large galleries and a twin-towered façade.

In the late 18th century several writers, including James Bentham, sought to determine and differentiate Gothic, Saxon and Norman architecture. In 1817 Thomas Rickman clarified the concept of Norman as a style of building in England, one that lasted until the emergence of Gothic in the late 1170s. ...



Pierre Pichard and Richard M. Cooler

[Pali Arimaddanapura]

Capital of the first kingdom of Burma from the 11th to the 14th century. Famous for its temples and other religious monuments, Pagan was probably founded in the 9th century ad. The city’s official Pali name, meaning ‘crusher of foes’, appears in contemporary stone inscriptions. The name Pagan is first mentioned (as Pukam) in Chinese sources c. 1004 and in a Cham inscription from Po Nagar in Vietnam dated 1050. Pagan’s foreign relations were mostly with eastern India (Bengal and Orissa), Sri Lanka, the Mon kingdoms to the south and China. The chief influences on its architecture and arts came from Burma itself (Pyu and Mon), from eastern India and from Sri Lanka.

Pierre Pichard

The city is on a bend of the Irrawaddy River in the arid region of central Burma, described in ancient inscriptions as tattadessa (the parched land). Its subsistence was always dependent on the rice-producing areas of Kyaukse, some 170 km upstream, and Minbu, 110 km downstream. The site is an alluvial terrace on the east bank of the river. It is bordered on the south-east by a low hill range; a higher range closes the western horizon across the river. At the foot of the south-east range a dam was built in the 12th century to store water during the meagre rainy season (June to November). A few other reservoirs were set up in the plain, but no evidence of irrigation channels has been found. Several streams cross the site from the east to the Irrawaddy; they are dry most of the year, their sandy beds used as cart tracks. Most of the plain is cultivated (palm trees and dry crops such as millet, sesame, cotton and groundnuts). About 36,000 people live in several villages within the archaeological area of some 13×8 km....


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 ...


Former church in Poitou, western France, demolished during the Revolution. Nothing is known of its history in the Middle Ages. The church probably resembled the large Poitevin hall churches of the 12th century, with a deep apse, transept, and tripartite nave enclosed by a screen façade, very much like Parthenay-le-Vieux. On the site can still be seen part of its east end and especially the lower part of the west façade, composed of a portal framed by slim colonnettes and carved archivolts, flanked by two blind arches. The central theme of the sculpture, which is executed in limestone, is the salvation of Man, with emphasis on the role of Christ in the history of the world. Adored by angels and the crowned Elders of the Apocalypse, he appears in Majesty on the inner archivolt, carrying a book and blessing, and in the guise of the Lamb above. Opposite one another, on the inner archivolt, are two men representing prophets, apostles, or evangelists isolated under arcading; one carries a scroll, the other a book. The ...


Church in Poitou, western France. It was built next to the Benedictine abbey of La Chaise-Dieu after 1092, but, as construction continued until the second half of the 12th century (nave supports), it is stylistically not unified. This typical Poitevin hall church has an aisled nave and projecting transept, with two apsidal chapels flanking the choir apse. The barrel-vaulted nave has a single pitched roof, dominated by a fine bell-tower at the crossing. The church was built in a local granite, but fine Poitevin limestone was employed for the sculpture, which decorates all parts of the building. Several of the choir capitals are carved with griffins, capricorns, and sirens and are very similar both to some choir capitals at St Eutrope, Saintes, which are dated c. 1096, and to the sculpture of Saint-Maixent. The later nave capitals are carved with schematic foliage and are more austere.

The exuberant carved ornament of the façade is confined to the architectural elements of the structure. As is usual in Poitou, the portal itself has no tympanum, but it is flanked by blind arcades carved with figures in high relief: on the north is a crowned rider holding a falcon on his wrist with an enemy lying at his feet; on the south, Samson masters a lion. The rider may represent the Emperor Constantine triumphing over paganism, and in a wider sense lay authority as the prop of the Church. Possibly this is a direct allusion to the role of the lords of Parthenay, because Samson appeared on their family seal in the 12th century. Carved on the radial voussoirs of the tympana are foliate motifs (south) and a handsome series of dancing griffins and small, naked women emerging from tubs (north). The last may represent the story of the enchantress Mélusine of Poitevin folklore, which is known from 12th-century illuminations. She may also be the figure represented wringing her hair on the voussoirs of the central doorway. On the cornice, capitals, and corbels are carved a variety of monsters and animals, including some beautiful peacocks. The sculpture is sharply chiselled, with deep undercutting, and is related to that of several churches in Poitou and northern Saintonge....


Louis I. Hamilton

(b Bieda, nr Ravenna, c. 1050/55; reg 1099–1118; d Rome, Jan 21, 1118).

Italian pope and patron. Paschal is often considered a weak successor to popes Gregory VII (reg 1073–85) and Urban II (reg 1088–99), and his contributions have been overshadowed by the ‘Privelegium’ dispute with the Emperor Henry V in 1111. He has come to be appreciated as a formidable pope in the tradition of Urban II for his effective use of papal itinerary, pontifical liturgy, church consecrations and an increasingly coherent set of ‘Gregorian’ liturgical commentaries. He dedicated twenty-six churches during his papacy; that seven of those were after 1111 bespeaks his ability to resecure his authority (Hamilton, 2010). The influence of reforming ideals and the use of church architecture and art to promote those ideals has been studied for both churches that he dedicated (as diverse as San Vincenzo al Volturno, S Geminiano in Modena (see Modena §1 and St Bénigne in Dijon (see Dijon §IV 2....


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 ...


E. B. Sarewitz

Cistercian monastery in Catalonia, Spain. One of the largest and best-preserved monastic sites in the country, Poblet was a royal foundation endowed in 1149 by Ramon-Berengar IV, Count of Barcelona (reg 1131–62), in thanks for his victory over the Moors. It was colonized from Fontfroide Abbey (Roussillon) in March 1151, under Abbot Etienne, and the first buildings were erected within two years. Strategically situated on the road between Tarragona and Lleida, and, like Santes Creus Abbey, enjoying royal favour from the start, Poblet acquired extensive privileges and estates. The precinct was extensively fortified, and two royal palaces were begun, though not completed, by, respectively, Peter IV (reg 1336–87) and Martin (reg 1395–1410), kings of Aragon. The monastery was sacked by a local mob in 1835, following the suppression of religious orders. From 1940 a group of Italian Cistercians revived monastic life and restored the ruined buildings.

The second church, begun ...



Charles B. McClendon

Italian former Benedictine abbey near the mouth of the Po River and 45 km north of Ravenna in the province of Emilia Romagna. Although first documented in ad 874, a monastic settlement probably existed there at least two centuries earlier. Pomposa rose to prominence in the 10th and 11th centuries through the support of the Holy Roman emperors. Over the course of the 14th century, a notable series of wall paintings in three different buildings were sponsored despite the monastery’s waning fortunes. In 1663 the monastic community was suppressed by papal decree. The site was secularized in 1802 and became property of the Italian state after 1870.

The proportions of the wooden-roofed basilican church, along with the polygonal outline of its main apse, reflect influence from nearby Ravenna and Classe and suggest a date in the 8th or 9th century. An elaborate pavement of mosaic and cut stone (opus sectile...


Terryl N. Kinder

Former Cistercian monastery in Burgundy, France. The second daughter-house of Cîteaux, Pontigny was founded in 1114 in the Serein River valley north-east of Auxerre. It is the only church among the five governing abbeys of the Order to be preserved, and it is one of the earliest Gothic buildings in Burgundy.

Land for the new monastery was given to Cîteaux by a priest from Auxerre in 1114, and Hugues of Macon was appointed first abbot. The wealth and size of the community increased rapidly under his capable management. In 1136 he became Bishop of Auxerre and was followed by Guichard, a monk from Cîteaux, who directed yet greater expansion during his rule (1136–65). In 1157 there were at least 50 priests at Pontigny among a much larger number of non-ordained monks, plus the lay brothers. Three archbishops of Canterbury were received there: Thomas Becket (1164–6), Stephen Langton (...