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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

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 (...