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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

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

Stephen Mitchell

[‘Pisidian’]

Greek and Roman city in western Asia Minor (now Turkey) on a plateau above Yalvaĉ. It was founded by the Seleucids in the 3rd century bc and refounded as a colony for veteran soldiers by Augustus c.25 bc; it flourished until the Early Christian period. The site was excavated in 1924 by D. M. Robinson and was the object of a detailed archaeological survey by S. Mitchell and M. Waelkens in 1982–3. Further excavations have taken place during the 1980s and 1990s, directed by M. Taslianan. About 4 km south of the city Hellenistic remains survive at the sanctuary of Mên Askaênos, where an imposing temenos with porticos on four sides enclosed a mid-2nd-century bc Ionic temple (6 by 11 columns) on a high, stepped podium. The design of the temple was influenced by the layout of the temples of Zeus Sosipolis and Artemis Leukophryene at Magnesia on the Maeander...

Article

Franz Rickert

Roman and Early Christian city at the east end of the plain of the Veneto, c. 90 km north-east of Venice and 5 km from the Adriatic coast. Founded as a Roman colony in 181 bc, it received full town status in 89 bc and became the regional capital of Venetia et Histria. It was strategically sited on the River Natissa, which was navigable to the sea, and at the intersection of routes leading north-west over the Alps and north-east to the Balkans. Written sources indicate that several emperors, including Constantine the Great, had a residence in Aquileia; from ad 294 to the 5th century it also had its own mint. In 313 it became a bishopric and in 381 it was the venue of a council before which followers of Arianism were tried. Civil wars and the invasions of the Huns (452) and the Lombards (568) led to the migration of most of the population and the transference of the see to Grado....

Article

Dorothy Verkerk

Illuminated manuscript of the first five books of the Old Testament (now incomplete), dating from the late 6th or early 7th century (Paris, Bib.N., MS. nouv. acq. lat. 2334) and named after the English collector Bertram Ashburnham. Also known as the Pentateuch of Tours, the Ashburnham Pentateuch is one of the oldest surviving pre-Carolingian Vulgate manuscripts of the Old Testament. In its present condition, it lacks the last verses of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy; while 18 pages of illustration and 1 frontispiece survive from the original 65 pages with illustrations. The illustrated pages comprise several scenes generally arranged in two or three bands, although some pages have one or two large scenes, others combine illustration and text. Painted tituli that follow the Vulgate accompany the miniatures; however, beneath the painted titutli are preliminary inscriptions penned in ink that follow the Vetus latina text.

Based upon stylistic, iconographical and codicological evidence, the Pentateuch appears to have been made in a late 6th- to early 7th-century Italian scriptorium. Twelve pages were added in the 8th century by scribes from Fleury; an additional restored page (fol. 33) was added in the 7th century by a Touronian scribe. The illustrations often deviate from the exact retelling of the biblical text. The column of smoke and fire, for example, in the story of the Crossing of the Red Sea is depicted as a large candle held in two hands, a reference to Easter Vigil liturgical ceremonies (fol. 68...

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

Calvary  

Michael Morris

[Lat. Calvaria: ‘skull’; Aramaic Golgotha]

Site in Jerusalem where the crucifixion of Christ took place and name given to representations of that event. It is identified as the Place of the Skull in the New Testament Gospels and was at that time located outside the city walls, not far from a gate and near a road, a garden and at least one tomb. These landmarks of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection have been revered by Christians since at least the 4th century, when Emperor Constantine the Great excavated the area and erected on top of it the basilican church of the Holy Sepulchre (c. 325–36; see Jerusalem, §II, 2). The rock of Calvary, originally 4 m high, was cut and reshaped to serve in the basilica as a pedestal for a great jewelled cross placed on top of it. Calvary’s elevation does not appear in the earliest depictions of Christ’s crucifixion, but it gradually develops in art, for example in the ...

Article

M. Guardia

Early Christian mausoleum in Catalonia, Spain, with an outstanding 4th-century mosaic cycle. It is situated 5 km north of Tarragona, which, as Tarraco, was the capital of the Hispano-Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis. Excavations between 1959 and 1970 by Schlunk and Hauschild revealed that it was built within the living quarters of a Roman suburban villa, which was extensively remodelled during the 4th century. An adjacent room may also have been a mausoleum. Its ground-plan comprises a double-shell design, consisting of a circular core (diam. 10.7 m) and a quadrangular outer shell with an apse at each corner. A stairway leads down from the mausoleum’s centre to a barrel-vaulted burial crypt and sub-crypt or chamber, which insulated the crypt from the damp subsoil. The mausoleum is built in brick and concrete and has a domed roof 13.6 m high; the construction of the dome has parallels in eastern Roman architecture. It is lit by two windows in the mausoleum’s north and south sides and by the main northern entrance....

Article

Tomas Lehmann

Village 2 km north of the ancient town of Nola in Campania, Italy. Cimitile is a dialect form of the Latin coemeterium, meaning cemetery, and refers to the town’s foundation over a Roman necropolis. Among the most significant remains from the necropolis are two mythological, early 3rd-century ad sarcophagi depicting Endymion and Persephone, originally in mausolea in the village, now in the old basilica, and two Early Christian arcosolium-paintings (c. 250–300) of Jonah Cast into the Sea and Adam and Eve after the Fall in Mausoleum 13 (in situ). These are among the earliest surviving paintings on Christian subjects outside Rome. In the 4th century the tomb of St Felix (d c. 275–300) in the northern part of the necropolis became an important Early Christian place of pilgrimage. The small square mausoleum erected over his grave (c. 303–5) probably represents the earliest example of such a structure over a martyr’s tomb. As early as the 330s the mausoleum was replaced by a larger, single-aisled building with an apse to the north, and by ...

Article

Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

The art produced by the peoples of the Roman Empire from the early 4th century ad to c. 600—as well as specifically Christian art from c. 250—and that produced in the eastern half of the Empire, centred around Constantinople (Byzantium) to 1453. The Byzantine empire (see fig.) was the institutional setting for much of the medieval art of the eastern Mediterranean, and from the early 4th century ad for the Orthodox Church and so for Early Christian art. Byzantines regarded their empire as having arisen from the happy coincidence of the foundation of the Roman Empire under Augustus with the incarnation of Jesus Christ; for modern historians the empire has a clear end (1453, when the city fell to the Turks) but no clear beginning. The foundation of Constantinople (324–330) by Constantine on the site of the small town of Byzantion is the conventional point of departure, when ironically Byzantion both ceased to exist and took on a new existence; it became known later as The City, and under the Turks Istanbul (...

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

Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

In 

Article

Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

In 

Article

Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

In 

Article

Margaret Mullett, Elizabeth Bruening Lewis, Valerie Nunn, Robin Cormack, Hans Buchwald, W. Eugene Kleinbauer, Marlia Mundell Mango, Lyn Rodley, William Saunders, Robert Ousterhout, Archibald Dunn, Slobodan Ćurčić, Kara Hattersley-Smith, Charles Barber, Christine Kondoleon, Ruth E. Kolarik, Lucille A. Roussin, Henri Lavagne, Margaret A. Alexander, Melita Emmanuel, Alexander Grishin, J.-P. Sodini, T. Zollt, Lucy-Anne Hunt, John Lowden, Manolis Chatzidakis, Nano Chatzidakis, Judith Herrin, Cécile Morrisson, Hero Granger-Taylor, Karel C. Innemée, David Whitehouse, Anthony Cutler, Aimilia Yeroulanou and David Buckton

In 

Article

Lucy Der Manuelian and Armen Zarian

Site located in the village of Aparan, Armenia, which includes ruins of a palace and Early Christian basilica (4th–5th centuries). The site is first mentioned by Ptolemy as ‘Casala’ and later became part of the Nig region of the historic province of Ayrarat. A Greek inscription by King Trdat III (reg 287–98) of the Arsacid dynasty indicates that he gave this area to the Gnt‘uni feudal princes, who constructed a palace and administrative centre there. Excavations were undertaken by A. Sahinyan between 1944 and 1947. The architectural details of the basilica indicate that it was built in the late 4th century ad and transformed into the Christian church of the Holy Cross (Sourb Khatch; 20.87×10.0 m) by the addition of an eastern apse probably at the end of the 5th century. Later additions are the rectangular chamber at the north-east corner of the church, a vaulted hall constructed along the north wall and a small basilica adjacent to the hall. The complex is constructed of black tufa facing a rubble core, and it rests on a three-stepped platform made of large blocks of basalt. The exterior walls of the basilica, the apse, the transverse arches of the south aisle, and portions of the north chamber and hall have been preserved, but the barrel vaults and tiled pitched roof have collapsed. The interior is divided into three aisles by three pairs of T-shaped piers. The projecting eastern apse is pentagonal on the exterior but horseshoe-shaped on the interior....

Article

Khocho  

M. Yaldiz

[Karakhoja; Qočo; Chin. Gaochang]

Site 47 km south-east of Turfan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The most important complexes of monasteries in the Khocho area are Idikutshahri, Lenger, Senghim and Bezeklik. To the west of the town is the Chinese necropolis of Astana. The earliest evidence of settlement in the area is that a ruler of the Tujue dynasty, probably of Turkish origin, had an inscription placed on a temple of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, in Khocho in ad 445. Chinese, Sogdians and Tokharians also lived here between the 5th and 7th century. Khocho was occupied by forces of the Tang dynasty in 640. A brief Tibetan interregnum (c. 790–843) ended when the Uygurs established their kingdom here. From the evidence of their manuscripts and art objects, the Uygurs not only observed the Buddhist cult but also practised Nestorian Christianity and Manichaeism (see also Central Asia §II 1., (v)...

Article

Luke  

Eunice D. Howe

(b Antioch, 1st century ad; d Greece; fd 18 Oct).

Saint, evangelist and patron of artists. One of the Four Evangelists, he was a gentile and a doctor, according to St Paul, who called him ‘our beloved Luke, the physician’ (Colossians 4:14). He wrote the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He earned a reputation as an accurate observer, particularly of women, in his Gospel. His identification as ‘an artist with words’ probably led to the assumption that he also worked as a painter. In Byzantium mention of St Luke the Evangelist painting a portrait of the Virgin arose between the 5th and 6th centuries (Mango, p. 40). The Byzantine author John of Damascus (c. 675–c. 749) identified St Luke as the painter of the Virgin’s portrait in his defence of sacred images. References to Luke as a painter did not appear in Latin literature until the late 12th century. In the West the association took hold quickly, transmitted by sources such as the ...

Article

Sarah Morgan

Term for a miraculous image (untraced) of Christ, believed to date from the 1st century ad. It is one of a number of holy images ‘not made by human hands’ whose origins are obscured in legends of the early Christian East. In the late 6th century the image was first mentioned as a miraculous icon. The fully developed 8th-century version of the legend relates how King Abgar V (reg 4 bcad 50) of Edessa (now Urfa in Turkey) commanded a portrait to be made of Christ but received instead a cloth miraculously imprinted with Christ’s features. The image became known as the Holy Mandylion (Arab. mandil: ‘small cloth’). The fame and importance of the Edessan image grew as the need increased to counter arguments against the cult of images. During the Iconoclastic Controversy (726–843) the Mandylion (though still in Arab-occupied Edessa) was cited frequently by Iconophiles as proof of Christ’s endorsement of image making. In 944 it was brought from Edessa to Constantinople and honoured as a prime relic of the Orthodox Church and remained there until the Crusader conquest of Constantinople in ...

Article

Sarah Morgan

Doctrinal position on the nature of Jesus Christ followed by the Nestorian or Assyrian Church, more properly known as the Ancient Church of the East. The name is derived from Nestorius (c. ad 381–c. 451), who was Patriarch of Constantinople (now Istanbul) between 428 and 431. The theological views that came to be associated with him had arisen in the late 4th century among Christian thinkers of the Antioch school, who rejected the Orthodox dogma as established at the Council of Nicaea in 325. The Antiochenes taught that Christ had two distinct natures, human and divine, whereas the Nicene formula maintained that these two natures were perfectly united in Christ. The Christological debate intensified when Nestorius, a follower of the Antioch school, succeeded to the patriarchate. After he was deposed, the doctrine he represented was declared heretical. By the mid-5th century the Nestorians had split away from the Orthodox Church and controlled the see of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in Iraq, later spreading into Iran. For the next 800 years the Nestorian Church flourished, establishing important missionary communities in Central Asia, India and China, where inscribed stelae commemorating its expansion have been found. Converts were also made among the Turks and Mongols. From the 11th century the Nestorian Church began to decline under the attacks of the Mongols (now converted to Islam), until in the 14th century it was forced to remove itself into Kurdistan, where it survived into the 20th century....