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Lucília Verdelho da Costa

Cistercian abbey in Portugal. The abbey, dedicated to S Maria, was founded as part of the policy of repopulation and territorial improvement of the first king of Portugal, Alfonso I (reg 1139–85), who in 1152 granted a large area of land to St Bernard of Clairvaux by a charter known as the Carta dos Coutos (Lisbon, Arquiv. N.). Work on the monastery started in 1158 and adhered to the rigid precepts of the Order. Although the exterior was extended and altered in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially the Baroque façade of the church, the interior essentially preserves its original Early Gothic appearance.

W. Beckford: Recollections of an Excursion to the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha (London, 1835/R 1972) M. V. Natividade: Ignez de Castro e Pedro o Cru perante a iconografia dos seus túmulos (Lisbon, 1910) E. Korrodi: Alcobaça: Estudo histórico, arqueológico e artístico da Real Abadia de Alcobaça...


John N. Lupia

Type of ewer, usually of metal, used for the washing of hands in a liturgical or domestic context. It is often zoomorphic in form and usually has two openings, one for filling with water and the other for pouring. In their original usage aquamanilia expressed the symbolic significance of the lavabo, the ritual washing of the hands by the priest before vesting, before the consecration of the Eucharist and after mass. The earliest production of aquamanilia is associated with Mosan art of the Meuse Valley in northern France, and with Lower Saxony in north-east Germany. The majority of surviving examples are made of a variety of bronze that resembles gold when polished, while nearly all those made of precious metals are known only from church inventories.

Church documents refer to aquamanilia as early as the 5th century, when canon regulations stipulated that on ordination the subdeacon should receive such a vessel. Various documents from the 5th century to the beginning of the 11th sometimes use the term to denote both the ewer and its basin. Sometime after the beginning of the 11th century the term became transferred to a type of vessel, usually in the shape of an animal (e.g. lion, stag, horse; ...



Susan Young

[Gr. Panagia Phorbiotissa: ‘Our Lady of the Pastures’]

Byzantine church in Cyprus, situated on the west side of the island, 4 km south-west of the village of Vizakia. The church was originally part of the monastery of the Phorbia (destr.), and a marginal note in a synaxarion copied in Cyprus or Palestine in 1063 indicates that the manuscript once belonged to this monastery. The church is renowned for its well-preserved cycles of wall paintings and painted inscriptions, two of which attribute the foundation and decoration of the church to Nicephoros Ischyrios, the Magistros, in 1105–6. A third, damaged inscription mentions a certain ‘Theophilos’ and ‘the people’, who were probably responsible for a programme of redecoration in 1332–3. The wall paintings were cleaned and restored in 1965–8 by Ernest Hawkins and David Winfield under the auspices of the Center for Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC.

The church is a single-aisle structure with a semicircular apse and barrel-vaulted nave supported by transverse ribs and engaged piers, forming three blind niches in the north and south walls. In plan it resembles the parekklesion of the Cypriot monastery of St John Chrysosthomos, but it does not have a dome. Although the original walls were of stone mortared with mud, probably in the late 12th century, yellow sandstone of better quality was used for the construction of a domed narthex with north and south absidioles; this arrangement is found elsewhere in Cyprus, at the monasteries of St John Chrysosthomos, and the Panagia Apsinthiotissa. The church was later given a secondary steeply pitched wooden roof of a type common among the Cypriot mountain churches....


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....


Meredith J. Gill

A religious order of mendicants brought together under the Rule of St Augustine (see Augustinian Canons) by the papal bull Licet Ecclesiae of 1256. The Order spread throughout urbanized western Europe, and included lay people in addition to priests and nuns. Its primary goals remain the ministry of souls, the pursuit of learning and the formulation of church policy. The growth of Observant reform congregations from the mid-14th century and during the Reformation (Martin Luther was an Augustinian hermit) threatened the original unity of the Order.

The Order’s rapid and widespread expansion and its exclusive cultivation of the Augustinian way of life, particularly from the 14th century, favoured an emphasis on the life and cult of St Augustine of Hippo (ad 354–430). The saint’s Confessions, life and teachings inspired numerous cycles and individual episodes. Three episodes within the 14th-century cycles are specific to the Order: Augustine’s baptism and the donning of his monastic robes, Augustine visiting the hermits of Tuscany before returning to Africa, and the saint asking Simplician for 12 hermits to accompany him to Africa. The Order’s artistically inventive interpretations should not, however, be considered in isolation from works connected to other Augustinian groups, such as the earliest known cycle, in stained glass, in the ...



Lucília Verdelho da Costa

Former Dominican priory, dedicated to S Maria da Vitória, c. 10 km south of Leiria, Portugal. Founded by John I (reg 1385–1433), the first king of the Aviz dynasty, to celebrate the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385), it is the most representative and important example of Late Gothic architecture in Portugal. It marks the highest point of the movement that began at Alcobaça Abbey and such buildings as Évora Cathedral and the chevet of Lisbon Cathedral, in which the national tradition of Gothic architecture is combined with a verticality that has few parallels in northern Europe (see Gothic, §II, 2). Although the decoration shows influences from French Flamboyant and English Perpendicular, its originality and the Portuguese style are unmistakable. The exterior of this vast cloistered complex, which the King presented to the Dominicans in 1388, has a strong horizontal emphasis in which the traceried outlines of parapets, pinnacles, steeples, and buttresses stand out in the mass of limestone. The west front is divided into three by narrow pilasters and buttresses, and the projecting doorway has a tympanum and archivolts richly carved with Old Testament kings, angels, and prophets; the façade is also pierced by a fine Flamboyant window. As at Alcobaça Abbey the interior is narrow (22 m) in proportion to its height (32.46 m). Two-bay transepts open off the crossing, and to the east is a row of five apsidal chapels, the central one projecting. The chancel, transepts, and nave are all the same height. The vaults, which are supported on compound piers, have ornamented keystones and both longitudinal and transverse ridge ribs. The interior is lit by the clerestory and tall aisle windows, and the apse has two rows of lancets, making ten windows in all (...


Nicola Coldstream

Premonstratensian abbey in Cyprus dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The abbey was founded in 1206 by Thierry, Archbishop of Nicosia, the foundation being confirmed by Pope Gregory IX in 1232. Of the buildings, the church and two ranges round the cloister substantially remain; the western range was looted for building materials. Bellapais is built of limestone on a precipitous hillside facing north, with the conventual buildings north of the church, heavily buttressed against the slope of the hill.

The church is of the early 13th century, while the present claustral buildings and much of the cloister were begun by King Hugh IV (1324–39); Jeffery (1914) identified later work, possibly of the 15th century, in the cloister itself. After the Lusignan period (1192–1489) the church was used by the Orthodox Christians until 1974, when it was desecrated in the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Bellapais was heavily repaired by ...


Paula Hutton

[Fournier, Jacques ]

(b Saverdun, c. 1280; elected 1334; d Avignon, April 24, 1342).

French pope and patron. He was the third of the Avignon popes and is known for his energetic attempts at Church reform and for the building of the new palace of the popes in Avignon. Born into a humble family, he entered a Cistercian monastery at an early age. He had a distinguished university career and succeeded his uncle as Abbot of Fontfroide (Aude). Later, while Bishop of Pamiers and then of Mirepoix in south-western France, he prosecuted accused heretics with a determination so zealous that he was named Cardinal in 1327. His election as Pope was somewhat of a surprise; he supposedly greeted the news of his election with the remark, ‘You have elected an ass’ (Villani).

In many endeavours, especially with Europe’s secular rulers, Benedict followed a less aggressive policy than his predecessor John XXII, but he was firm in his efforts to curb some of the worst abuses of clerical power. He tried to stop the practices of nepotism and simony and attempted to reform and regulate the mendicant orders. His most lasting legacy was the ...



Michael Richter

Monastery in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. Approximately 50 km south of Piacenza in the Apennines, it was founded c. ad 613 through the cooperation of the Lombard king Agilulf (reg 590–615) and the Irish abbot and saint Columbanus (c. 540–615). Its nucleus was an older dilapidated church dedicated to St Peter. Columbanus died on 23 November 615, but his name and renown remained alive in the following centuries. Through cooperation with the Lombard monarchs as well as later the Carolingian kings, Bobbio became a very prominent monastery in Northern Italy. In 628 it was granted the earliest monastic exemption from supervision by the local diocesan, the bishop of Tortona. The community of Bobbio apparently lived according to the Rule of Columbanus as well as the Rule of Basil of Caesarea. The presence of the Rule of St Benedict cannot be documented there before the early 9th century. Bobbio became a known not only as a centre of Irish learning but also as a centre of grammatical as well as computational studies. Its early library also contained Classical texts as well as important palimpsests (a ‘catalogue’ survives from the late 9th century). In the late 9th and early 10th centuries (a period of economic decline) important illuminated manuscripts were produced there. The abbatial church was rebuilt under Abbot Agilulf (...


Lucy Freeman Sandler

Group of twelve manuscripts, primarily Psalter and Book of Hours, nearly all illustrated by in-house artists for members of the Bohun family in the second half of the 14th century. The owner–patrons were the successive earls of Essex, Hereford and Northampton: Humphrey de Bohun VI (1309–61), the 6th Earl of Hereford and 5th Earl of Essex and his nephew Humphrey de Bohun VII (1342–73), the 7th earl of Essex and 2nd Earl of Northampton, Humphrey VII’s wife Joan Fitzalan (d 1419) and their daughters Eleanor (1366–99), who married Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester (see Plantagenet, House of family §(5)), son of King Edward III, and Mary (c. 1369–94), who married Henry of Bolingbroke (1366–1413; from 1399 King Henry IV), son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Known to have been active between c. 1360 and ...


Christopher de Hamel

Late medieval prayerbook containing, as its principal text, psalms, and devotions (primarily invoking the Virgin Mary) for the eight canonical hours of the day: Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. They were intended for private reading and meditation by the laity, forming a shorter version of the cycle of daily prayers and psalms recited from the Breviary by members of religious orders. Each office is usually no more than a few pages long, and the books are generally small and portable, often of octavo size. Most surviving Books of Hours were made in the 15th century and early 16th, and they were produced in such numbers that they still form the most common surviving group of European illuminated manuscripts.

The offering of psalms eight times a day can be traced back to early monasticism, and parallel forms of worship are found in lay devotions (see Service book...


Virginia Davis

Religious group and important exponents of the movement known as the Devotio moderna, which flourished in northern Europe, particularly in the Netherlands, from the late 14th century to the early 16th. The movement stressed the importance of the inner life of the individual, with great emphasis on meditation. The Brethren (and the female equivalent, the Sisters) were groups of pious lay people and clerics who lived a devout and useful communal life dedicated to God. Associated with the Brethren but more formally constituted were the Augustinian Canons Regular of Windesheim near Zwolle, founded in 1387, which became the centre of a flourishing congregation of similar foundations upholding the ideals of the Devotio moderna. The Brethren were first established in Deventer and spread into both the southern Netherlands and neighbouring German regions.

The movement was developed by Gerard Groote (1340–84) and Florent Radewijns (1350–1400). Groote, a canon lawyer, lived as a Carthusian between ...


Nigel J. Morgan

Liturgical book containing the psalms, readings from the scriptures, the Church Fathers or the lives of the saints, antiphons, and prayers that constitute the Divine Office for each day of the Christian Church year (see Service book). The Divine Office comprises the daily devotions observed at the eight canonical hours of the day (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline), arranged around the psalms, so that all 150 psalms are read each week. Its text covers two distinct sections: the Temporal (or Proper of Time), containing the offices for Sundays and festivals commemorating the life of Christ and the weekdays of the year; and the Sanctoral (or Proper of Saints), with offices for the feast days of saints. Supplementary offices for certain occasions, for instance the Office of the Dead and Little Office of the Virgin, were sometimes added to the daily office, and a full version of the Breviary usually includes the whole ...


Virginia Davis

[Order of the Holy Saviour]

Religious order named after its foundress, St Bridget of Sweden (c. 1303–73; can 1391), a devout woman with Swedish court connections. In 1346 she founded Vadstena Abbey in Sweden, which she intended to be an influential spiritual centre reflecting the original group of the faithful with the Virgin at its head. Vadstena became the model for other Brigittine houses. Bridget went to Rome in 1349 to seek approval for her Order, dying there after returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Her body was returned to Vadstena in 1374.

The Brigittine Rule, the Regula Sancti Salvatoris, supposedly was revealed to Bridget by Christ. With the Augustinian Rule (see Augustinian Canons §1), it formed the constitution of the Order, which was finally recognized by Pope Urban VI (reg 1378–89) in a bull of 1378. The Order flourished mainly in northern Europe in the later Middle Ages. Intended primarily for women, it had double houses with separate but adjacent convents for men and women, sharing a church. Monks were superior in spiritual matters, the abbess in all else. Monasteries were large by contemporary standards, the rule stipulating that they should have 85 members. Convents were consecrated at Vadstena in ...


Ernst Ullmann

Former Cistercian abbey on Lake Parstein, eastern Germany. It was founded in 1258 by the margraves Johann I and Otto III of Brandenburg on the Pehlitzwerder on Lake Parstein. They established the church to serve as a burial place for their branch of the Askania family and installed monks from the Cistercian abbey of Lehnin in 1260. The remains of an incomplete church were excavated in 1939: a square-ended choir with aisles and four closely spaced pairs of piers indicate a basilican plan. The plan shows similarities to the choir of the Cistercian church in Hude, Oldenburg. The architect may have been the Conradus magister operis who is mentioned in 1260 in connection with the foundation of the abbey.

In 1270 and 1272 the monks complained about life on Lake Parstein, and the abbey was transferred to a village on the lake 5 km to the south-west. Construction of new buildings must have begun immediately, as Margrave Johann II (...


Paula Hutton

[Beaufort, Pierre Roger de]

(b Corrèze, c. 1291; elected 1342; d Avignon, Dec 6, 1352).

French pope and patron. He was in every sense a ‘prince of the Church’, with a court that rivalled all others in Europe. When criticized for his unprecedented lavish spending he replied, ‘None of my predecessors knew how to be popes’. A younger son of impoverished nobility, he entered the Benedictine abbey of La Chaise-Dieu (Haute Loire) and then went on to a brilliant academic career. Renowned for his oratorical and diplomatic skills, he became Archbishop of Sens (1329) and Rouen (1330) and was named a cardinal in 1337; he also served as Chancellor to Philip VI of France. Considered the most outstanding French cleric of his time, he was unanimously elected pope.

Clement VI’s papacy was much rougher than his path to the papal throne. Despite his good relations with the kings of France and England, he was unable to resolve the war between them. His efforts to launch crusades in the East and in the Papal States met with frustration. As civil strife continued in Rome, Clement remained in Avignon. His worst crisis occurred during the Black Death of ...


Christian Heck

Former collegiate church, now a parish church, in Alsace, France. In the religious architecture of Alsace, St Martin is second in importance only to Strasbourg Cathedral; the design of its nave, however, is distinct from that of Strasbourg, and the novel structure of the choir seems to anticipate the work of the Parler family. The church is 75 m long and 23 m high and is built of sandstone.

The excavations of 1972 identified traces of a large 11th-century church that had a rectangular choir, projecting transept and nave with narrow aisles; it was entirely wooden-roofed. This Ottonian building is the earliest church of which foundations are known, and it marks the first of five principal building phases on the site, of which only the last two survive. At the beginning of the 12th century its nave was lengthened towards the west by one bay, and a massive, rectangular western block was built, with three groin-vaulted bays reflecting the nave and aisles and, probably, an upper chapel accessible by two stair turrets. The choir was then rib-vaulted. At the end of the 12th century provision was made for a large basilica to be built on a different plan, entirely independent of the constraints of the old church. Only the choir and beginnings of the transepts were built, however, the choir consisting of one almost square bay and a semicircular apse. On each arm of the transept an eastern apsidal chapel was planned, but only the southern one was built....


(b Montefiore dell’Aso, nr Ascoli Piceno, c. 1240–50; d Lucca, Oct 27, 1312).

Italian cardinal and patron. A Franciscan, he graduated in theology from Paris University by c. 1295 and in 1296 was made lector at the Papal Curia. The earliest evidence of Gentile’s lavish patronage is found in his account book (Rome, Vatican, Archv Segreto, 313 A), which records payments for embroidery and enamels and (22 Sept 1306) for work by the Sienese goldsmith, Toro. From 1307 Gentile was papal legate in Hungary. One of his earliest important commissions is the funerary monument (1310) to his parents, in S Francesco, Montefiore dell’Aso. It is unique for being both a double tomb (unknown in Italy before this date) and a secular one, directly emulating papal tomb designs.

Gentile arrived at Assisi in 1312, and the principal works associated with him are found in two chapels in the Lower Church, S Francesco. Only one document can be related to his patronage there: a transaction in his account book, dated ...


Catherine Harding

(b Lomello, Dec 24, 1296; d Avignon, c. 1354).

Italian parish priest, manuscript illuminator and scholar. His drawings explored the connections between vision, reason and spirituality. In particular, he was drawn to the idea of training the ‘inner eye’ of reason, and he hoped that his images would provide tools for spiritual discernment. He worked as a schoolmaster and priest until 1329, when he fled Pavia for political reasons and entered the papal court in Avignon. One year later, he was employed as a scribe in the office of the papal penitentiary.

He produced two illuminated works, both of which are untitled (Rome, Vatican, Bib. Apostolica, Pal. lat. 1993 and Vat. lat. 6435). The former, known simply as the Palatinus manuscript, encompasses 52 large individual parchment sheets drawn in pen and ink with images on both sides; they feature schematic compositions that combine portolan charts, zodiacs, calendars and human figures, to form complex composite images. The second work, the Vaticanus manuscript, is done in pen and ink on paper and is more of an author’s daybook, collecting thoughts, meditations and images on a variety of topics. His work was not known until the publication of the Palatinus manuscript by R. G. Salomon in ...


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 ...