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Article

A. Gerhardt

Benedictine abbey on the River Enns in Styria, Austria. It was founded in the mid-11th century by Bishop Gebhard from Salzburg, endowed by St Henna von Gurk, Gräfin von Friessach (d 1045), and settled by Benedictine monks from St Peter’s, Salzburg under Abbot Isingrin. The Romanesque minster (consecrated 1074), which was dedicated to St Blaise, was famous for its marble columns and was rebuilt after a fire in 1152; a Gothic choir was added in 1276–86. The present church incorporates Romanesque side doors as well as other fragments. The abbey became an important cultural centre with a renowned scriptorium. Amongst the many famous scholars there was Abbot Engelbert of Admont (reg 1297–1327). From 1121 to the 16th century a convent was attached to the abbey. Under the abbots Mathias Preininger (reg 1615–28) and Urban Weber (reg 1628–59) the whole establishment was transformed in the Baroque style, and the church was rebuilt (...

Article

Algarve  

Kirk Ambrose

Southern-most region of mainland Portugal. Its name is derived from ‘the West’ in Arabic. This region has relatively few medieval buildings: devastating earthquakes in 1722 and 1755 contributed to these losses, though many buildings were deliberately destroyed during the Middle Ages. For example, in the 12th century the Almoravids likely razed a pilgrimage church, described in Arabic sources, at the tip of the cape of S Vicente. Mosques at Faro, Silves and Tavira, among others, appear to have been levelled to make room for church construction after the Reconquest of the region, completed in 1249. Further excavations could shed much light on this history.

Highlights in the Algarve include remains at Milreu of a villa with elaborate mosaics that rank among the most substantial Roman sites in the region. The site further preserves foundations of a basilica, likely constructed in the 5th century, and traces of what may be a baptistery, perhaps added during the period of Byzantine occupation in the 6th and 7th centuries. The period of Islamic rule, from the 8th century through to the 13th, witnessed the construction of many fortifications, including examples at Aljezur, Loulé and Salir, which were mostly levelled by earthquakes. Silves, a city with origins in the Bronze Age, preserves a substantial concentration of relatively well-preserved Islamic monuments. These include a bridge, carved inscriptions, a castle, cistern and fortified walls, along which numerous ceramics have been excavated. Most extant medieval churches in Algarve date to the period after the Reconquest. These tend to be modest in design and small in scale, such as the 13th-century Vera Cruz de Marmelar, built over Visigothic or Mozarabic foundations. The relatively large cathedrals at Silves and at Faro preserve substantial portions dating to the 13th century, as well as fabric from subsequent medieval campaigns. Renaissance and Baroque churches and ecclesiastical furnishings can be found throughout Algarve....

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

Mario Schwarz

Cistercian abbey in the Vienna Woods, Lower Austria. Heiligenkreuz, the oldest Cistercian abbey in the region once ruled by the house of Babenberg, was founded in 1135 by Margrave Leopold III of Austria (reg 1096–1136). It was settled with monks from Morimond Abbey in France, and a temporary building was consecrated in 1136. From the time of Leopold IV (reg 1136–41) Heiligenkreuz was the preferred burial place of the Babenbergs.

The nave of the church, begun before 1147 and consecrated in 1187, is an ashlar building, which at first had a flat ceiling. Excavations have shown that the original east end consisted of three apses without a transept. In 1147 Henry II (reg 1141–77) donated the village of Münchendorf and its revenues to the abbey, making it possible to vault the church, and a further endowment in 1156 enabled the monastic buildings to be rebuilt in stone. The five-bay aisled nave, the proportions of which are based on a module derived from the crossing square, has alternating supports. The aisles are groin-vaulted, but the main vessel has domical vaults with ribs of a plain, rectangular profile, the transverse arches resting on short pilasters corbelled above the arcade (...

Article

Michael Curschmann

The medieval term mappa mundi (also forma mundi, historia/istoire) covers a broad array of maps of the world of which roughly 1100 survive. These have resisted systematic classification, but the clearly dominant type is one that aims at comprehensively symbolistic representation. Its early, schematic form is a disc composed of three continents surrounded and separated from one another by water (“T-O Map”) and associated with the three sons of Noah: Asia (Shem) occupies all of the upper half, Europe (Japhet) to the left and Africa (Ham) to the right share the lower half. Quadripartite cartographic schemes included the antipodes as a fourth continent, but the tripartite model was adopted by the large majority of the more developed world maps in use from the 11th century on and—with important variations—well into the Renaissance. While details were added as available space permitted, the Mediterranean continued to serve as the vertical axis and, with diminishing clarity, the rivers Don and Nile as the horizontal one. The map also continues to be ‘oriented’ towards Asia, where paradise sits at the very top. A circular ocean forms the perimeter and not infrequently the city of Jerusalem constitutes its centre....

Article

Kirk Ambrose

Flourishing of arts and learning from roughly 1000 to 1250, often implying a revival of Classical culture. Beginning in the 1840s, French scholars applied the term ‘Renaissance’ to various aspects of medieval culture. Early 19th-century scholars had already coined the neologisms ‘Romanesque’ in English and ‘roman’ in French to signal that they deemed many architectural elements, such as barrel vaults and groin vaults, to be reliant upon ancient models. Other 19th-century scholars preferred to focus on perceived artistic innovations from the period. Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc was a noteworthy champion of Gothic art, and Adolphe-Napoléon Didron influentially contended that aspects of Gothic cathedrals paralleled contemporary achievements in scholastic theology, especially as articulated by Vincent of Beauvais.

Charles Homer Haskins’s expansive and synthetic use of ‘Renaissance’ in his 1927 book has proven particularly influential. Haskins recognized the complex origins of the outburst of creative achievements in legal theory, poetry, and philosophy, among others. For example, he attributed the emergence of vernacular lyrics such as the ...