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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

Robert Will

Former Benedictine convent of nuns, dedicated to St Saviour, in Alsace, France. Founded in the 9th century, it was suppressed at the Revolution in 1789. The west tower and the nave with tribunes were rebuilt in the 17th century, but the crypt and western block survive and contain important Romanesque remains. The sculptural decoration, executed in sandstone from the Vosges, is concentrated on the façade block.

The finest work is found on the portal, which is abundantly decorated with low-relief sculpture. The door-frame belongs to the 11th-century church, but the sculptures are contemporary with the construction of the westwork in 1140. Their iconography is linked to the theme of paradise, a term used in medieval times to denote both the parvis in front of a church and the entrance porch. Standing out in the centre of the tympanum, Christ confers a key on St Peter and a book on St Paul. The scene takes place in a celestial garden, reminiscent of Early Christian decorative backgrounds, but here the trees are emphasized and the traditional scheme is combined with other allegorical subjects: the climbing of a heavenly tree and bird-hunting. On the lintel is the story of Adam and Eve, from the Creation of Eve to the Expulsion. The Lamentation of Adam and Eve, represented on the extreme right, is exceptional in the region and is derived from Byzantine iconography. Each of the pilasters flanking the jambs bears five superimposed niches, sheltering Abbey benefactors and their spouses, designated by name. The lowest niches are supported by atlas figures. Over the porch arch are three groups in high relief: the keystone bears Christ treading a dragon under his feet, flanked by Samson opening the lion’s mouth (right) and David victorious over Goliath (left)....

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

Annabel Jane Wharton

Building used for the rite of baptism into the Christian Church. In late antiquity the term baptisterium or baptisterion (Lat. baptizare: ‘to dip under water’), which designated a swimming bath (e.g. Pliny the younger: Letters II.xvii.11), was applied to the baptismal piscina or font and then to the whole structure in which baptism took place. With the Eucharist, baptism was a central sacrament in the Early Christian Church. The ritual was prescribed by Christ (John 3:5; Matthew 28:19) and modelled after his own baptism by St John the Baptist. The meaning of baptism was established by St Paul: by participating in Christ’s death and resurrection through baptism, the believer was cleansed of his sins and admitted to the body of the Church (1 Corinthians 6:11, 12:13; Romans 6:4). By the 4th century ad the main features of the rite had become remarkably consistent throughout the Roman Empire: Easter eve was recognized as the most appropriate moment, although baptism might take place at Pentecost or if the candidate were ...

Article

Former Cluniac monastery in south-western France. The wealthy abbey was founded in ad 855 and reformed by Cluny under Géraud II towards 1097. It had the privileges confirmed by Paschal II in 1103 and received a donation from the Bishop of Cahors in 1112. The church, which is set between the Limousin, Rouergue, and Quercy regions, comprises a choir surrounded by an ambulatory with three radiating chapels, a projecting transept, and an aisled nave of four bays, a scheme related to such Limousin churches as Le Dorat and St Robert. It is best known for the enormous portal embrasure carved in porous limestone on the south side of the nave. On the tympanum Christ is enthroned in front of the cross and other instruments of the Passion and appears between angels sounding trumpets. Below are seven beasts. This victorious Last Judgement is witnessed by Daniel and seven other figures, as well as by souls emerging from their tombs. The representation evokes St Matthew’s Gospel (19; 24), didactic drama, commentaries on Revelation 1 and other contemporary theological issues. The tympanum is supported by a lintel carved with rosettes and by a cusped trumeau bearing atlas figures. SS Peter and Paul appear on the jambs. On the flanking walls are didactic compositions under twin arches: ...

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

Church of the former Benedictine monastery in Northamptonshire, England. It is one of the most substantial Anglo-Saxon buildings to remain largely intact above ground-level. The present structure is not necessarily the first to be built on the site: results of excavations carried out in 1981–2 suggest an 8th-century date. It is referred to in the early 12th-century Peterborough chronicle of Hugo Candidus, which implies that a monastery was founded there after c. 675. The first monks probably came from Peterborough, as in the case of the parallel foundation at Breedon on the Hill in Leicestershire, which other documents confirm was established by 690. Brixworth may have been identical with Clofesho, an otherwise unidentified Mercian royal monastery at which councils were held in the 8th and 9th centuries. At Domesday the manor belonged to the king and one priest is recorded, which may imply that the church had declined to parochial status. Nevertheless its former rank and the survival of its endowments are suggested by the fact that it was given as a prebend by Henry I to the Chancellor of Sarum in the early 12th century. A 14th-century stone reliquary with its relic have survived in the church and have been associated with a cult of St Boniface, attested from ...

Article

Catherine Legros

Former Benedictine priory church, dedicated to St Nicholas of Tolentino, near Bourg-en-Bresse, Burgundy, France. Situated on an important road linking the northern provinces with Italy, the church was built by Margaret of Austria (see Habsburg, House of family, §I, (4)) after the death of her third husband Philibert the Fair, Duke of Savoy, in 1504. Earlier, in 1480, Margaret’s mother-in-law Margaret of Bourbon had undertaken to transform the small priory of Brou into a larger monastery if her husband Philippe, Comte de Bresse, survived a hunting accident, but despite his recovery the vow was not fulfilled. Margaret of Austria saw Philibert’s death, the result of another hunting accident, as divine retribution, and she immediately decided to initiate the work, securing the services of artists from the south Netherlands, Burgundy, Italy, and France. She spared no expense on the church’s embellishment, realizing that the monastery was fast becoming, in the eyes of her contemporaries, a testimony to her economic and political power and wishing to rival her sister-in-law Louise of Savoy (...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Javier Rivera

Spanish monastery in the town of Celanova in the province of Orense, Galicia. It was founded in 936 by the bishop and monk St Rosendo (d 977), who was also abbot of the monastery from 959 until his death. The monastery belonged to the Benedictine Order and was dedicated to St Salvador. The oldest and most important part of the monastery, the chapel of St Michael of Celanova, founded in the 10th century by St Rosendo, is located in the former novitiate’s garden. It comprises a small pre-Romanesque, Mozarabic oratory that can be dated to the fourth decade of the 10th century, as the monastery was consecrated in 942. Its architectural language and its spatial concepts belong to contemporaneous art developed in the kingdom of León, with similarities to such buildings as Santiago de Peñalba and Santa Comba de Bande and drawing on Asturian, Visigothic, and Islamic influences. Its ground-plan covers an area of 22 sq. m, and the chapel reaches a maximum height of 6 m. It is composed of three spatial units arranged longitudinally. The first unit contains the access door on its south side; it has a square ground-plan and a horseshoe arch along its axis. The next unit, slightly larger in area and of a greater height, has a rectangular ground-plan and has a ribbed vault resting on arches with lobed pendentives. The chancel is entered via a horseshoe arch that is framed by an ...

Article

Church  

John Curran, Andrew N. Palmer, J. van Ginkel, Francis Woodman, John W. Cook, Robert Ousterhout, Natalia Teteriatnikov, Warren Sanderson, Tania Velmans, Nigel J. Morgan and Doug Adams

Building for public Christian worship (see also Christianity) as well as the medieval rhetorical designation for the broader community of the Christian faithful.

As buildings churches vary from single-aisled structures divided simply by walls or screens to buildings of complicated design, based on the two fundamental types, the basilica and the centrally planned church, that are discussed below (see also Chapel, §1). Most churches are orientated, with the main axis running east–west and the ritual area at the east end; the phrase ‘liturgical east end’ used here and in other articles indicates the ritual area of a church that is not orientated.

A basilica is essentially an oblong, aisled building. The Christian basilica owed much to the secular basilicas that were used by emperors and officials of the later Roman Empire as audience halls. The latter buildings were large, rectangular structures divided into aisles and nave with an apse at one end housing the tribunal of the emperor or presiding magistrate....

Article

Cathedral in Co. Galway, Ireland, dedicated to St Brendan. The rubble walls of the pre-Romanesque nave (10th or 11th century) originally formed a simple rectangular church. The rectangular chancel, with its paired east windows, was added in the early 13th century, and in the Late Gothic period the building was enlarged with transept-like chapels and an elegant square belfry, similar to those in Irish friaries, above the west end of the nave. The cathedral is renowned chiefly for the 12th-century sandstone doorway inserted into its west façade (see Romanesque, §III, 1, (v), (e)).

The decoration of the doorway consists of an extraordinary range of motifs, of both foreign and Irish derivation, forming the most idiosyncratic of all Hiberno-Romanesque portals. Jambs, archivolts, and a high-pitched ‘tangent gable’ were exploited as fields for a dense array of pattern-making. Following ancient Irish custom, the decorated jambs are inclined inwards. They support seven orders of deeply cut voussoirs, ornamented with interlace, bosses, scallops, geometrical designs, and beast heads. The beast heads bite a roll moulding and are comparable to those on the west portal of the Nuns’ Church at Clonmacnois (Offaly). The gable contains an arcade and a series of triangular compartments filled alternately with carved human heads and floral motifs. The five heads that peer out from the arcade may have had painted bodies, possibly emulating the enamelled figures with cast bronze heads found on contemporary Limoges plaques. Among the many delightful details are the rows of tiny beast heads on the lower faces of the abaci. Characteristic of the Hiberno-Romanesque is the juxtaposition of shallow carving, as is found here on both the jambs and pilasters, with much deeper cutting, as on the archivolts. Although this eclectic and exotic design was once attributed to the 1160s, most scholars now prefer a date of ...

Article

Roger Stalley

[Gael. Cluain Moccu Nóis]

Monastery in Co. Offaly, Ireland. Clonmacnois was one of the most celebrated Early Christian monasteries in Ireland, famed for its learning and artistic patronage and best known today for an outstanding collection of monuments and stone carvings. The monastery was founded by St Ciaran in 548 (or 545 according to some authorities) on a commanding site above a bend in the River Shannon. Located in the heart of the country, it enjoyed the patronage of a number of Irish dynasties and benefited particularly from the O’Conor kings of Connaught, several of whom were buried there. What started as a small religious community became the core of a monastic city, with much commercial activity and hundreds of lay inhabitants (in one incident in 1179 no fewer than 105 houses were burnt). Associated with the monastic workshops are such major items of Irish metalwork as the shrine of the Stowe Missal (...

Article

Article

Lindy Grant

Cathedral dedicated to Notre-Dame in Manche, Normandy, France. The see of Coutances is first mentioned in 511, but in 836 Viking invasions forced the bishop to abandon his cathedral, and the see was not re-established until 1024. A new cathedral was begun by Bishop Geoffrey de Mountbray after his election in 1048, with financial help from Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily. It was consecrated in 1056, though it is possible that work continued after this date. The earliest work in the present building dates from this campaign, all trace of previous cathedral churches on the site having disappeared.

The Livre noir of Coutances, containing a chronicle of the cathedral from 836 to 1093, reveals that there was a lantern tower over the crossing of the Romanesque building, though the arrangement of the east end is unclear. Substantial remains of the western parts of the Romanesque cathedral survive, with the west towers almost intact within their taller Gothic casings; they are square at the base and octagonal at the top, like the west towers of Jumièges Abbey. The Gothic nave seems to have been built on a Romanesque skeleton: the exterior and interior walls of the gallery are essentially 11th century, so that more 11th-century work must be encased in the arcade and aisle walls below. The unvaulted gallery of the Romanesque cathedral was lit by windows beneath arches of alternate dark and light stone reminiscent of the 11th-century work at the Le Mans Cathedral. It seems likely that some sections of the present clerestory are also Romanesque (though this view has recently been challenged) and that Coutances should be considered one of the earliest Norman buildings with a clerestory passage extended beyond the transept. All the Romanesque work is in the local granite....

Article

Ryszard Brykowski

Church dedicated to St Michael at Dȩbno in the province of Nowy Sa̧cz, southern Poland. The 15th-century wooden church at Dȩbno has interested art historians since the middle of the 19th century; the stencilled paintings that decorate the interior were then regarded as an expression of ‘Slavonic taste’; soon afterwards the monument was defined as ‘a work in the pointed arch style’. In the 1920s it was included in the ‘Tatra Highlands group of wooden churches’ and regarded as the most characteristic and earliest example of a medieval wooden church in Poland.

A church was first mentioned on the site in 1335. Most of the present church is now dated to the second half of the 15th century: the curtain arch surmounting the south door is typical of Saxon architecture of the period, and the paintings are independently dated c. 1500. The nave and the chancel are both rectangular with a narrow sacristy north of the chancel. The spacing of the roof rafters with collar-beams corresponds to the width of the chancel, creating ‘plank-boxes’ on the sides of the wider nave, a structural solution typical of wooden Gothic church architecture in Little Poland. The lap joints and dowels survive, with the incised carpenter’s marks. Also original are the beam-framed ceiling, the same height in the nave and chancel; the ornate rood-screen; the western choir gallery; the west door and the door leading to the sacristy, both with pointed arches, and the south door; and a window with a curtain arch in the east wall of the chancel....

Article

Gordana Babić

Monastic church dedicated to Christ Pantokrator in the Serbian Republic of Yugoslavia, situated 15 km south of Peć. It was founded by King Stephen Uroš III Dečanski (reg 1321–31) and his son, Stephen Uroš IV Dušan (reg as king 1331–46; emperor 1346–55). A sturdy wall surrounds the complex, which is entered by a fortified gate. Few of the conventual buildings remain. Archbishop Danilo II (1324–37) participated in the founding of the main church, which was built between 1327 and 1335 by Fra Vita, a Franciscan from Kotor. It is a five-aisled basilica modelled on Romanesque architecture with bands of grey, white and pink marble, a tripartite gabled façade and richly carved portals, windows, ribbed vaults and columns. These features are combined with a dome rising from a square base supported by four piers, three eastern semicircular apses and a narthex divided into three bays. The two lateral bays for the singers place the church within the so-called Raskian school of architecture. The interior is entirely covered in frescoes, which were completed between ...

Article

Tania Velmans

Monastic church in Bulgaria, 10 km south of Sofia on the northern slopes of the Vitocha Mountains. The monastery, consecrated to the Virgin, was founded by King John Alexander (reg 1331–71) towards the middle of the 14th century, but has since been destroyed; a small church (c. 10×4.5 m), however, remains. Its single nave has a barrel vault, and its decorations, which were painted at a much later date, are blackened and of little interest. Work of greater interest was executed in the narthex, however, which was also vaulted. Most of its walls are still covered with original scenes paid for, according to an inscription, by a certain Radislav Mavr in 1476. The principal schemes depicted on the upper parts of the walls are the Last Judgement and the Second Coming. They are interspersed with various other images including Christ and the Virgin and Child surrounded by an aureola shown on the east wall over the door leading to the nave and the ...

Article

Phillip Lindley and Faith Johnson

Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, England. It began as the minster church for the city of Ely, having been founded in ad 673 on an island in the Fens by Queen Etheldreda (reg 630–79). After being sacked by the Danes in 870, the minster was reconsecrated and re-endowed by Bishop Aethelwold and King Edgar (reg 959–75) in 970 as the church of a Benedictine monastery. Before the Norman Conquest of 1066 Ely was one of the richest English monasteries. Little is known of the undoubtedly sizeable Anglo-Saxon church, which possibly lay on the north side of the present nave, because the first Norman abbot, Simeon (reg 1081–93), founded a new church in 1082. In 1109 Ely was made an episcopal see, and the endowments were divided between the bishop and the monastery. The monastery was dissolved in 1539, and the cathedral church refounded in 1541, when the dedication to SS Etheldreda and Peter was changed to the Holy and Undivided Trinity....

Article

Eric Cambridge

Anglo-Saxon church dedicated to St John the Evangelist in Co. Durham, northern England. The church today consists of a simple rectangular nave, typically Northumbrian in its tall, narrow proportions (1:1.6), and a chancel that is almost square. But excavation has revealed further complexities. A porticus was added north of the chancel and overlapping the north-east corner of the nave, with access both from the chancel and probably also from outside. A second porticus was butted on to the west wall; there was probably an outside entrance at its north-east corner, and apparently no access from the nave. The height of the roof-line on the west gable suggests that it was two-storey.

The nave itself measures 13.25 × 4.42 m internally. It has a square-headed door in the centre of the north wall; the east jamb of another door (altered later) survives near the west end of the south wall, forming part of the present entrance. The nave was lit by four small windows with monolithic heads and single internal splays, square-headed on the north, round-headed on the south. Between the southern pair externally is a sundial, apparently ...