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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

Whitney S. Stoddard

[Lat. aquae mortuae: ‘dead waters’]

Town in Gard, southern France, in the north-western section of the Rhône Delta or Camargue. It is one of the largest surviving medieval fortified towns. Although documents show that there was a port on the site of Aigues-Mortes in the late 12th century and first third of the 13th, the town was officially not founded until the Charter of 1246, which exempted inhabitants from taxes. Louis IX (reg 1226–70) conceived of the walled city. He wanted a port to establish a royal presence in, and access to, the Mediterranean, and he needed a fortified town to protect crusaders, pilgrims and merchants, providing a safe haven from which to launch crusades, as well as a commercial centre for trade between the Levant and northern France. The only land available for this purpose lay between that owned by the bishop of Maguelonne and king of Aragon (which included the region around Montpellier) on the west, and Provence controlled by Emperor Frederick II on the east. Negotiations with the Benedictine monks of Psalmodi for the acquisition of land for the walled city began in ...

Article

Albenga  

Franz Rickert

[Lat. Albingaunum; Albium Ingaunum; Album Ingaunum]

Italian town and bishopric, 72 km south-west of Genoa. It was a port in the Roman period, and its street grid-plan has partly survived, but, with the silting of the River Centa, it is now 1 km inland. Pottery and sections of the hull of a merchant ship that sank offshore c. 80–60 bc are preserved in the Museo Navale Romano in the Palazzo Peloso-Cepolla (13th century). The Civico Museo Inguano is housed in the Palazzo Vecchio del Comune (1387 and 1421). The cathedral, which was built in the 11th century and enlarged in the early 14th century, has a galleried apse and a campanile built in 1391.

The most important monument, however, is the 5th-century baptistery. Its ground-plan is decagonal without and octagonal within, the alternating rectangular and semicircular niches being flanked by columns. The original cupola was destroyed in the 19th century. The edge of the octagonal font at the centre of the hall has starlike points and was surmounted by a baldacchino. The only mosaics that survive are on the front wall of the building and on the vaulting of the presbytery niche. Although the latter has been heavily restored, it can be dated to the 5th century. At the centre of the vault is a christogram comprising the letters A and ...

Article

Carl D. Sheppard

[Fr. Andreville]

Town in Elis, Greece, 55 km south-west of Patras. As Andreville it was the unfortified capital of the Frankish principality of the Morea from the 13th to the 15th century. Andravida, the strongly fortified port of Clarence (modern Killini), and Chlemoutsi Castle formed a triangle at the north-western tip of the Peloponnese designed to control the hinterland and the sea lanes. The only physical evidence of the Franks at Andravida are the remains of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Hagia Sophia, in which Prince Geoffrey Villehardouin I and his barons met to determine policy and justice.

The cathedral is the only surviving example of a rib-vaulted Gothic church in Greece. The extant remains consist of three square-ended eastern chapels and the foundations of a nave of at least ten bays. There was no transept. The building was of sandstone, with re-used ancient granite columns in the nave. The first building campaign started during the reign of Prince Geoffrey Villehardouin I (...

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

Århus  

Axel Bolvig

[Aarhus]

Danish city and port in the east coast of Jutland. Recent excavations have dated its foundation to the period preceding the 9th century. Six runic stones in the neighbourhood indicate its importance about ad 1000. A bishop from Århus, which was probably without a real diocese at this time, participated in a meeting in Reginsburg in 948. A re-organization of the entire church in Denmark was undertaken c. 1060 and this finally established the diocese of Århus. It was then that a cathedral was erected outside the ramparts. The crypt of this church was excavated in the 1950s and has been shown to be the oldest in Scandinavia. The so-called Åby crucifix (c. 1050; Copenhagen, Nmus.) and the Golden Altar in Lisbjerg church (c. 1140; Copenhagen, Nmus.) show the importance of the diocese at that time.

During 12th and 13th centuries many churches were built of granite ashlar not only in the diocese but throughout Jutland. It was at this time that a new cathedral complex dedicated to St Clemens was started inside the ramparts occupying a large part of the commercial town. The old cathedral was subsequently handed over to the Dominicans. Like the seaport of Ribe on the west coast of Jutland, Århus has very few churches, while the inland cathedral towns of Viborg, ...

Article

Lucy Der Manuelian and Armen Zarian

Town on the banks of the K‘asagh River, 20 km north-west of Erevan, Armenia. It is the site of several churches (5th–19th centuries) and a cemetery with khatchk‘ars (see Armenia, Republic of §IV 1.; Cross, §II, 4) of the 12th to the 14th century.

The earliest church is the three-aisled basilica of Tsiranavor, which was built in the 5th century and partially reconstructed in the 6th, probably by Catholicos Nerses II (reg 538–57), a native of Bagravand. It subsequently underwent numerous alterations and was finally left a ruin in 1815. Restoration work in 1963 revealed that the exterior walls, the apse area, the north pier bases and the south aisle and nave arcade have survived. Traces of the beginnings of the main vault can be seen at the west end.

The walls are of tufa ashlars, facing a rubble core. The plan was defined by three pairs of T-shaped piers, a characteristic of 5th-century Armenian architecture (...

Article

Ateni  

Oxana Cleminson

Village on the River Tana, 12 km from Gori in Georgia. It is known for Sioni Cathedral (7th century ad), dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, which, together with one other small church, is all that remains of the monastery founded there at the beginning of the 7th century. The small domed tetraconch church was built of undressed stone during the reign of King Stephanos II (reg c. 640–50) and rebuilt in the 10th century. In size and plan Sioni Cathedral is very similar to the Jvari Church at Mtskheta. The core of the spatial conception is the dome (diam. c. 10 m), which, together with the church’s other architectural elements, forms a spatial hierarchy corresponding to the descent from heaven to earth. Like the Jvari and the more provincial Dzveli Shuamta in Kakheti, Sioni Cathedral is an example of the pilgrims’ churches that were to become, in the period following the Iconoclastic Controversy (...

Article

Virginia Leonardis

[anc. Beneventum]

Italian town in Campania, c. 70 km north-east of Naples. It became a Roman colony in 268 BC and was an important centre during the Roman Empire, being sited at the junction of the Via Appia with other Roman roads. Benevento contains one of the best-preserved Roman triumphal arches, the Arch of Trajan (Porta Aurea), built of Greek marble in AD 114. The arch, built across the Via Appia, features a single opening flanked by engaged Composite columns with an attic above, and it has reliefs glorifying the triumphs of Trajan together with an inscription in the attic. Other ancient remains include those of a Roman theatre built under Emperor Hadrian (reg AD 117–38) and later extended.

In the 6th century AD Benevento became the first independent Lombard duchy, and it retained its autonomy until passing to the Church in the 11th century; it was part of the Papal States until ...

Article

Berende  

Tania Velmans

Village c. 40 km north of Sofia in Bulgaria. It is famous for its Byzantine church dedicated to St Peter. Built on the edge of the River Nishava, the church has a single nave (4.50×8.50 m) and contains on the west façade fragments of a donor inscription referring to King John Asen II (reg 1218–41), during whose reign it may have been built. There is some controversy regarding the date of its paintings, which have been assigned to both the 13th and the 14th centuries. In the apse all has been lost apart from Four Bishop–Saints Officiating at the Liturgy Accompanied by Two Deacons. The Mandylion was painted on the eastern wall above the apse, between the Virgin and the Archangel of the Annunciation. The Ever-seeing Eye occupies the western niche in the prothesis, and a large bust of St Peter near the iconostasis is surrounded by a masonry frame imitating the appearance of an icon. The scenes and figures painted on the vaulting have disappeared, but part of the ...

Article

Boyana  

Tania Velmans

Village 8 km south of Sofia in Bulgaria, famous for its two Byzantine churches. The earlier of the pair, which stand side by side, is dedicated to the Virgin; various building dates have been proposed, including the 10th century, the 11th and the early 12th. It is a small cruciform structure with a dome over a high drum and an apse pierced with arched windows. Several badly damaged frescoes survive inside, depicting the Fathers of the Church Officiating at a Service, the Dormition of the Virgin and the Crucifixion.

The second church is dedicated to SS Nicholas and Panteleimon, and according to an inscription its construction and decoration were funded by Sebastokrator Kaloyan in 1259. It has two storeys: the ground floor was used for burials and the upper floor as a chapel. Its cruciform plan is surmounted by a dome supported by pendentives. The wall paintings were executed in tempera and are often thought to derive from the Komnenian style of painting found in several churches at ...

Article

Delia Kottmann

Italian village in Lazio, north of Rome, known for its church. The church of SS Anastasius and Nonnosus is all that remains of the 6th-century Benedictine monastery, which submitted to Cluny in ad 940. Apart from some re-used fragments, the architecture is Romanesque, with a Cosmati pavement in opus sectile as well as an ambo and ciborium. The church is famous for its wall paintings from the first quarter of the 12th century. The apse and its adjacent walls, showing the 24 elders, are influenced by Romano–Christian motifs. Christ in the middle of the conch is flanked by Peter and Paul in a Traditio legis depiction, with a procession of lambs below. Underneath, Maria Regina has to be reconstructed in the middle, between two conserved angels followed by female saints in a Byzantine manner. No Romano–Christian iconography seems to have influenced the vast apocalyptic cycle painted on the side walls of the transept. A band of prophets runs beneath the roof on all the walls of the transept. An inscription in the apse indicates three Roman painters....

Article

Marco Carminati

[anc. Sibrium]

Italian village in Lombardy, 14 km south of Varese, with a population of c. 1000. It was an important town from the Early Christian period to the late Middle Ages and its architectural and artistic remains were rediscovered, excavated and studied after World War II following centuries of dereliction. In the 4th or 5th century a fortified settlement called Sibrium was established in the hilly area between present-day Milan and Varese. It played an important military and strategic role and was soon granted a parish church, with jurisdiction over a vast territory stretching from Lake Lugano to the gates of Milan. Under the Lombards (569–774) it became the regional administrative centre. During the Carolingian period the surrounding region of Seprio experienced substantial prosperity and independence. Around the year 1000, however, its fortunes turned owing to the desire of the increasingly powerful cities of Como and Milan to extend their influence over this rich and strategically significant territory. Castelseprio sided with Frederick Barbarossa in his conflict with the ...

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

Virginia Jansen

Town in Bavaria, Germany. A Hohenstaufen possession, it was a free imperial city by the 13th century, and in the 1370s the walls were expanded to their present extent. The parish church of St Georg, one of the most famous Late Gothic, south German hall churches, dominates the town at the main crossroads; its south side, facing the old Town Hall and cemetery, was originally the show side. Civic pride is evident in the building, symbols of the bakers’ and coopers’ guilds in the east window demonstrating the importance of the guilds, which shared power with the patrician families from the late 14th century.

The earliest known church on the site of St Georg was built in the 12th century. The existing west tower was added c. 1220–30, and in the second half of the 14th century the church was expanded to include a six-bay nave of nearly the same dimensions as the present one and a single-aisled choir terminating in a five-sided apse. The present church, slightly off the axis of its predecessor, was founded in ...

Article

Farfa  

Giuseppe Pinna

Italian village in the Lazio region, c. 50 km north-east of Rome. Its Benedictine abbey was one of the most important monastic centres of the period between the 9th century and the early 12th, although far-reaching alterations make it difficult to reconstruct its medieval appearance, which was much extolled in documentary descriptions. According to the Farfa Register, compiled largely by the local monk Gregorio di Catino in 1092–9, the abbey was founded in ad 369 by a certain Lorenzo Siro but sacked by the Lombards in the 6th century. A second foundation, which probably included the abbey church of S Maria, was established c. 680 by S Tomaso di Maurienne, and the community, originally mainly Franco-Germanic, became increasingly prosperous with the support of Farwald II, Duke of Spoleto (reg 703–24), and Pope John VII, who granted it a degree of autonomy in 705. In the Carolingian period Farfa reached its peak: declared an imperial abbey and enjoying exemption from civil and episcopal rule and taxes, its independence from the Church grew, and it became the most significant political and economic power in northern Lazio. During this period Abbot ...

Article

Huesca  

Daniel Rico

Spanish provincial capital, to the north of Saragossa in Aragón. Known in pre-Roman Iberia as Bolskan and as Osca under the Romans, it was the seat of the Quintus Sertorius government, a municipium (free town) since the time of Augustus and a bishopric under the Visigoths. During the period of Muslim domination from the 8th to the 11th centuries, the town, known as Wasqa, became a defensive settlement with a city wall stretching for more than 1.8 km, of which some sections still remain. Although the city was recovered by the Christians in 1096 and the episcopal see restored the following year, the architectural transformation of Huesca was not immediate. During the 12th century only two edifices of any real importance were constructed. One of these was the Benedictine monastery of S Pedro el Viejo, of which three Romanesque structures have survived: the church—a simple construction which nevertheless has two interesting tympana carved by sculptors from Jaca; a small chapel, possibly inherited from the Mozarab community in the 11th century, which was used as the Chapter House and then as a funeral chapel; and a cloister decorated around ...

Article

Ivanovo  

Tania Velmans

Village in Bulgaria about 20 km south of Rousse, near to which along the banks of the River Roussenski Lom a large number of churches and monks’ cells were carved into the rock: the earliest information concerning them dates to the reign of Tsar Ivan Assen II (reg 1218–41). Traces of wall painting survive in five of the churches.

The earliest frescoes are those in the single-cell, apsed church of the Gospodev Dol; the flat, decorative style in which the full-length figures of saints and scenes from the Passion are depicted suggests a 13th-century date. Of greater interest are the paintings in the rock-cut monument known as Crkvata (Bulg.: ‘the church’). This comprises a nave and a narthex, with the remains of a rock-cut chapel to the north. Its wall paintings, only about a third of which survive, were commissioned by Tsar Ivan Alexander (reg 1331–71), whose portrait decorates the north wall of the narthex. Scenes from the ...

Article

Liliana Mavrodinova

Village in Bulgaria c. 40 km east of Vratsa. Painted caves on the banks of the adjacent River Iskar were in Byzantine times used as chapels or inhabited by hermits. Two of these chapels are particularly noteworthy: that of St Nicholas, also known as ‘Gligora’, which was built rather than carved from the rock, and the rock-cut chapel (5.50×3.90 m) consecrated to St Marina, which has one façade built in masonry. Both date from the 14th century and are now in poor condition; both have had their murals partly repainted.

The principal images painted in the chapel of St Marina include one in the conch of the apse showing the Virgin Greater than the Heavens (Platytera) holding Christ to her breast, and another lower down of the Eucharist, represented by Two Officiating Bishop-saints and the Holy Lamb placed on the paten; the scene of the Annunciation is divided between the two sides of the apse, while the figure of ...

Article

Kritsa  

Dimitris Tsougarakis

Greek village in north-east Crete, renowned for the church of Panagia Kera one km to the north. The church has a rectangular plan (10×10.5 m) with three aisles terminating in apses. The central aisle (3.75 m w.) is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin, the south aisle (2.40 m w.) to St Anne and the north one (2.30 m w.) to St Anthony. All three aisles are barrel-vaulted, but the centre aisle has a tall windowless drum with a dome, approximately halfway along its length, which is supported on four piers attached to the side walls. Buttresses have been built on the north and south sides to prevent the building from collapsing. The church has at least two phases of construction: the central aisle was originally a domed and vaulted single-aisle church (c. 1250); then, probably after the collapse of the dome and the eastern part of the vault, the church was repaired and the two side aisles added in the late 13th century or the early 14th....