Jelena Bogdanović, Iowa State University
The Canopy as an Architectural Parti of the Byzantine Church
In my book The Framing of Sacred Space, The Canopy and the Byzantine Church (Oxford UP,2017), I offer an innovative interpretation of the relationships between the canopy and the design of the Byzantine church. Instead of following the prevailing typologies used to explain church design (such as the cross-in-square church), I propose the consideration of a generative but non-imitative system instead — the nine-square grid design spatially articulated by a module of a canopy (most often a four-columned structure with a domical roof). In this presentation, by using the fourteenth-century Church of Ss. Joachim and Anna (King’s Church) at Studenica Monastery in Serbia as a case in point, I will elucidate how the canopy as an architectural “parti” — a guiding idea for design, which unifies its material and immaterial aspects — allows for a better understanding of the plasticity and diversity of Byzantine architecture and how it generated unique experiences of being and presence in space. At the same time, I will address the theme of the workshop and suggest that the recognizable design principles articulated in a Byzantine cultural context, rather than geographical or chronological distinctions, allow us to recognize certain accomplishments as “Made in Byzantium”.
Bilge Ar, Istanbul Technical University
Thoughts on the Influences Shaping the Exterior Perception of Byzantine Church Architecture
It is unnecessary to say that interior spaces have been of more concern for Byzantine church architecture. Starting from the Late Antique examples, there is already the tendency to abandon the importance given to featured facades. Such questions have long been discussed by Mango and other scholars. With the developing dominance of the monastic arrangements after the 7th century, unlike the earlier episcopal or parochial examples, the church tends to become more of an independent mass, standing solitary in the middle of a courtyard. This detachment from neighboring service structures leave compact modules of churches as independent tectonics, to be perceived from all directions, presented to the eyes of a selected group of viewers. Their exteriors start to bear decorations, including interpretations of borrowed elements. The roots of the material influences have been a subject of ongoing discussion, including relations with Islamic art and Armenian architecture. Despite the changes in roofing systems and interior arrangement, as a collective, the Byzantine church never seems to lose its representation in all three dimensions over the centuries. The third dimension is always present in its exterior perception, and it has never been reduced to an architecture of facades. This is crucial for the arrangement of its surroundings. Its approach directions are not determinative in the choice of surfaces to be more elaborately decorated. The non-existence of the one representative facade naturally results in the disregard for an organized square in an approach direction. Standing in contrast with the urban space around cathedrals of the West, this urban arrangement is perhaps closer to that of Islamic examples, where architectural space, in its core development, was influenced from earlier Byzantine architecture. Unlike political history, the texts on Turco-Islamic architecture very seldom refer to any example of Byzantine churches as the “other”. Even more strangely, in this view of the material world, a question of East and West does not seem to include Byzantine architecture on either side. Within its lands, it is simply replaced by, or secretly internalized into, the Turco-Islamic one, as the new East. The striking fact here is that this replacement is not merely a material one, because Turkish architectural styles are appropriating the Byzantine. It is the recognition of how compatible the exterior perception of the Byzantine church is with the new comers’ ideals of space. This study will try to present some thoughts on how the lives and world definitions of the “other(s)”, mainly the Islamic communities, in the Medieval Mediterranean may have had an effect in shaping the exterior perception of Byzantine church architecture.
Ivana Jevtić, Koç University
Bridging the Gap between Church Buildings and their Wall Paintings in the Late Byzantine World
From modest cave chapels to grandiose monuments, wall paintings form an intrinsic element of religious buildings across the Byzantine world. Approached as an expression of two different artistic media and realm of two disciplines – history of art and history of architecture – their studies run in parallel and they rarely intersect. Appreciated for their iconography and aesthetic qualities, paintings, like sculpture, are thought of as decoration: necessary, yet secondary, components that come after the building is conceived and made. Notwithstanding their specificities, this paper aims to bridge their conceptual and disciplinary divides with some thoughts on how wall paintings allow us to better understand what church buildings/spaces represented for their makers and users.
Efforts have already been made in that direction. The work of Otto Demus is instrumental in the way he elaborated the notion of monumental art in Byzantium, where mosaic decoration, architectural and spatial elements were examined as interrelated parts of a coherent system, specific to Middle Byzantine churches. Following up this trail, my paper focuses on selected examples from the Late period to emphasize that wall paintings, tied to numerous narrative cycles and individual representations, are now established as the dominant element of church interiors, and they embody, together with specific architectural solutions, the connectivity within the Byzantine world and define its koine. In turn, I will discuss the exceeding adaptability of such mural ensembles that cover, but simultaneously transgress, wall surfaces and the physical space of churches. With new approaches to Byzantine spatial paradigms, the paper questions if the “illusion” of the heavenly universe that such paintings create, and inside which the beholder is standing, can be conceived as the “third space,” expanding our perspectives on wall paintings and architecture.
Maréva U, EPHE-PSL
Porches and Porticoes of Middle and Late Byzantine Churches: Observations on the Architecture and Functions of the First Liminal Spaces
Before reaching the threshold of the door in a Byzantine church, it is sometimes necessary to cross a preceding liminal space: a porch or a portico. These light constructions consist of a room adjacent to one of the facades of the church, open or semi-open to the outside and covered by a roof supported by columns or arcades. A porch extends only in front of an entrance door, while a portico extends over the entire width of one or more facades of a building.
Attested largely since the early Christian period (including in Syria, Palestine and Greece), the construction of porches and porticoes continues during the Middle and Late Byzantine period. The few preserved examples may explain the lack of research on this topic. One of the best-preserved examples in Constantinople is the semi-open portico of the Chora church (1315-1321), walled up a few decades after its construction. Outside the capital, several examples of porticoes have been preserved in Greece: the Panagia at Hosios Loukas monastery (mid-tenth century), the Holy Apostles in Thessaloniki (1310-1314), the Pantanassa in Mistra (ca. 1428), and several churches in Mount Athos, where this practice remained in use as shown by the portico of the church of the monastery of Vatopedi (added at the end of the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century). Regarding the porches, the best-preserved are those of the Hagia Sophia, in Trebizond (mid-thirteenth century). In addition to these partially preserved examples, there is some material evidence (remains of pilasters and brackets) which attests to the initial existence of porches or porticoes attached to the facades of buildings. This is the case, for instance, with the Panagia Kosmosoteira in Vira (second half of the twelfth century), and the Panagia Olympiotissa, in Elassona (end of the thirteenth century).
Through the preserved examples and the remaining material, we propose analyzing the architecture and the exterior decoration of the porches and porticoes which precede the entrances of the churches of the Middle and Late Byzantine period. At the same time, we will try to determine the origin and development of these structures. This study is based on a comparative approach, considering monuments located in the Byzantine Empire and its periphery, including the churches of Armenia and Georgia, where examples of porches and porticoes are numerous. Beyond a formal analysis, we assess the function of these liminal spaces. If, in certain cases and occasionally, they can serve as a framework for specific rites, porches and porticoes are, above all, practical. They form an initial liminal zone which marks spatially and materially the entrance of a church. They also make it possible to shelter pilgrims who are waiting at the threshold of the building and to protect the entrance door and the facade from bad weather.
Anastasios Tantsis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Galleries and Upper Spaces in Byzantine Churches: Their Role in the Evolution of Byzantine Religious Architecture
Galleries are a special feature of Byzantine ecclesiastic architecture. They can be found in most of the capital’s churches, especially in the early Byzantine period. According to written sources, they were mostly used by the emperor, the court and women, who attended services standing there. They form part of the church building and, although separated from its core, offered a privileged space for viewing the celebration of the liturgy below. Following Constantinopolitan models, many great churches in other urban centers are furnished with them, especially up to the eighth century (Philippi, Thessaloniki, Nikaia etc.). Usually they are found in public religious buildings where segregation of the congregation was a subtle issue.
Galleries become relatively rare in church buildings after the 9th c. Even when integrated into churches, usually they are restricted to the space above the narthex. Thus, they are more discreet. They remain a feature of Constantinopolitan architecture and connected to courtly and noble patronage. Galleries reemerge as a very prominent feature of church buildings after 1204, when they play a more prominent role in churches of the new administrative urban centers in the periphery (Arta, Nikaia, Trebizond and especially Mystras). Church architecture is still a means for conveying religious patronage at the highest social level, and galleries seem to transfer Constantinopolitan practices away from the capital.
My contribution to the workshop addresses the question of the role of Constantinople as a generator of architectural and liturgical models, projected through the construction of churches with galleries of courtly patronage in the capital and elsewhere. Upper floors contributed to creating many types of Byzantine church architecture, both through their addition and their omission in religious buildings. To understand the details of the phenomenon is to acquire a better knowledge of the forces that shaped church architecture during the Middle and later Byzantine periods.
Christina Maranci, Tufts University
Using the Liturgy to Understand Armenian Architecture: A Short Reflection
I offer a short reflection on my own engagement with the liturgy as an interpretive tool for understanding Armenian architecture: already in graduate school, while studying with Slobodan Ćurčić, as well as Thomas Mathews, I was urged to notice the relationship between architecture and liturgy. Yet it was only upon reading the work of my friend and fellow graduate student Amy Papalexandrou on the ninth-century Church of the Dormition at Skripou that I began to think about how I might put a liturgical context to work on medieval Armenian churches. The exterior epigraphy and sculpture of Skripou prompted Papalexandrou to envision a circumambulatory procession around the church. In 2004, Timothy Greenwood published a study of Armenian inscriptions in which he also proposed a ritual circumambulation. Inspired by these studies, I further explored the possibility of circumambulation in an Armenian context, happening upon Father Daniel Findikyan’s liturgical study of the Armenian consecration rite, which contains a unit suggesting movement around, as well as within, the church.
Father Daniel’s article, however, did more than just offer a specific liturgical basis for my hypothesis. His study caught my imagination because of his description of the Psalmody 119-121, which occurs as the celebrant re-enters the church with a newly sanctified altar, and which describes a crescendo from abject despair to rejoicing for having arrived at Jerusalem. This observation made me think about how the language of the psalms, and other scriptural readings and hymns, would have offered a direct and immediate environment in which to understand the church exterior. At the same time, the specifics of the church: its physical setting, as well as its architecture, sculpture, and epigraphy, would have in turn colored and inflected the liturgy performed. This reciprocal relationship is fascinating to me, and since first reading Father Findikyan’s article, I have worked my way through many of the Armenian rites concerning architecture, including the foundation, consecration, consecration of the painted church, and the re-consecration of the desecrated church. I am convinced that the Armenian liturgy, as it is known from the late tenth-early eleventh century Ritual (or Mashtots), offers a powerful and vast library of imagery with which to interpret Armenian church architecture.
I would like to take the workshop as an opportunity to ask myself and others: what am I doing methodologically? What are the problems and challenges with trying to work across disciplines, and what are the rewards? And does what I have described resonate with those working in neighboring fields, including Byzantium and Georgia?
Konstantinos T. Raptis, Hellenic Ministry of Culture & Sports, Ephorate of Antiquities of Thessaloniki
The Cathedral as the Ambo of the Byzantine City: Liturgical Processions and Rituals in the Public Space
Taking into account several architectural particularities, specific features and annexes of the Byzantine churches that have – or might have – been functioned as the cathedral of Thessaloniki – Hagia Sophia, the Rotunda and the Acheiropoietos basilica – new evidence regarding the urban monumental topography of the ecclesiastical centre of the city, and written sources on the liturgical rite of the Thessalonican See, this paper aims to detect and discuss the unconventional role of the Cathedral as the ambo of the Byzantine city. Moreover, it targets the conceptual conversion of the main streets and/or plazas of the city into an infinitude nave during liturgical processions and rituals implemented on specific feast dates in the public space, with the participation of both the aggregation of the clergy and the congregation. The paper discusses this peculiar liturgical phenomenon combining different aspects from the scope of the history of architecture and art, as well as the written sources on the liturgical performance and archaeological data, and tries to trace the connections between these liturgical particularities of the Archdiocese of Thessaloniki and the liturgical rite followed in and around the imperial religious foundations of Constantinople.
Fotini Kondyli and Justin Mann, University of Virginia
The Architecture of Religious Affiliation: Lessons from the Byzantine Monastic Communities in Central Greece
Architectural style in byzantine religious architecture has often been associated with patrons’ and institutions’ ability to follow Constantinopolitan or regional trends, the latter often deemed as provincial, more conservative and less sophisticated. Such an approach produces inflexible categories that evaluate architectural outcomes in relation to Constantinopolitan prototypes.
Our paper discusses religious architectural style as a vehicle of shared membership and identity. It argues that religious communities with strong religious, economic and social ties often employed a similar architectural language and shared a distinct aesthetic vision. Such intentional choices allowed these communities to showcase their affiliation and map onto the landscape a sacred geography aligned with their own religious and economic networks. Although such phenomena can be observed throughout the Byzantine Empire, we focus on several Middle Byzantine urban and rural monasteries in central Greece and point to their role in developing a distinct architectural style shared and repeated by affiliated institutions. We understand this not as a simple process of mimesis, but as an act of participation and membership that brought buildings into a dialog with, and created visual and aesthetic connections among, different religious communities. While such phenomena are most visible between a main monastery and its dependencies, we also trace similar interactions among monastic communities entangled in shared religious, economic and political practices.
Nebojša Stanković, University of Belgrade
Spatial Memory in the Byzantine Church Design Process: The Case of the Monastic Katholikon
The churches of Byzantine coenobitic monasteries show a great degree of similarity in plan and form. They almost exclusively feature a domed cross-in-square naos with an oblong, three-bayed narthex, the architectural type that emerged around 800 and remained the standard type in the monastic environment until the end of the empire and well beyond this point. Why is this so? It certainly cannot be explained by a lack of creativity, as they differ in architectural treatment, form, and decoration. However, the general concept of their interior arrangement suggests that a certain functional model was always borne in mind. Did the liturgical ritual lead to such a design approach? And was it the functionality of this architectural type or the mere reverence for older monastic structures which guided the founder and the architect when they planned a new establishment?
Byzantine church buildings were almost undoubtedly designed by architects or master builders. However, the ktētōr had an important role in the design process, in some cases even a decisive one, as he dictated the layout of the church, the inclusion of certain architectural features, and the choice of the painter and the iconography to adorn the interior. This role was even more pronounced when the benefactor was also the future user of the church, as some monastic founders were. Often, the superior – even if he or she was not the actual donor – enjoyed the freedom to determine the spatial organization, architectural definition, and artistic decoration of the monastic community’s prayer building.
In deciding on the katholikon’s design, the superior was not at all frivolous, but instead seemingly relied on his previous experience with other monastic houses, most likely on the one that was his original home institution or the one that he deemed as exemplary by its coenobitic organization, spiritual life, and liturgical practice. All these aspects were either physically manifested in or connoted by the architectural arrangements developed to serve the needs and requirements of the community. If they indeed proved adequate, the layout was repeated in newer foundations. In this process of emulation of the architectural setting, the personal experience and memory of the actual space played a decisive role.
This paper aims to examine this phenomenon and related aspects by using examples from Mount Athos and historical records pertaining to them, but it will also engage relevant material coming from Constantinople, Bithynia, Greece, Russia, Georgia, and Serbia. Spatial memory, its mechanisms, and justifications will be in the primary focus. At the same time, the paper addresses the following issues: a) the architectural forms that were involved (most notably the cross-in-square), b) the presence of certain variations (such as the incorporation of a gallery and funerary arrangements), changes, or even abandonment of the original layout and the specific decisions that led to these, as well as c) the introduction of new architectural elements and spatial solutions (e.g. lateral conches and subsidiary chapels). The apparent balancing of tradition (or respect for the “ancestral community”) and functionality (i.e. actual requirements of the community in question) led to distinct design solutions that made each building both unique and immediately recognizable as “Made in Byzantium”.
Alessandra Ricci, Koç University
Monastic Spaces and Rituals in the Marmara Region: Hagiography, Archaeology, and Architecture
Constantinople as the center of the empire is inevitably seen by its contemporaries as a center of authority, a view that finds support in the city’s artistic and architectural works, thus creating a long-lasting and well-established historiographic narrative.
This presentation wishes to analyze and try to challenge some aspects of this broad concept by reflecting on the city’s broader hinterland and the neighboring Marmara region, reassessing the “center-versus-periphery” paradigm so embedded in our understanding of the capital city.
The analysis will be based on Middle and Late Byzantine monastic establishments, which were disseminated across the Bithynian hinterland of the capital city and the Marmara region. Hagiographical texts point, among other things, to the fact that the hinterland of Constantinople and the Marmara region were perceived by several of its contemporary inhabitants not only as a periphery in terms of their location but were also sought after as a spiritual periphery. The presentation aims to look at hagiographical texts describing the spiritual periphery of these regions, along with rituals and practices associated with monastic establishments. Monasteries here are considered diachronic and dynamic spatial clusters. Their architecture and archaeology will be considered alongside hagiographical texts.
Examples will include the exile experience of the monk Symeon the New Theologian in Chrysopolis on the Asian shores of the Bosporus and the monastery he built there. The creation of Constantinople’s Holy Mountain by the ascetic Auxentios, after whom the mountain is named, will also be considered, along with the nearby monastery of Satyros built by the patriarch Ignatios. Other examples from the Marmara region will also be included. These cases are suggestive of different experiences of spiritual peripheries and of their connections with space, architecture and rituals.
Ayşe Ercan Kydonakis, Columbia University
Armenian Legacy or Historiographical Fallacy? Rewriting Fragments on the Middle Byzantine Architecture of Constantinople
In the year 1045, Ani, a prime trading station and the capital of the Bagratid kingdom, was annexed to the Byzantine Empire under the political leadership of Constantine IX Monomachos (r.1042-55). Soon after this long-awaited military victory, the emperor inaugurated an architectural masterpiece erected at the heart of Constantinople, the katholikon of the Mangana monastery, dedicated to Tropaiophoros, the victory bearer. Excavated by the French Occupation Army in the 1920s in the gardens of the Topkapı Palace, the Mangana katholikon has since been regarded as a revolutionary type, characterized allegedly by the unprecedented structural system of its central dome.
Previous scholarship underscored two landmarks of Armenian architecture, namely the Aght’amar Church (c. 915-21) and the Ani Cathedral (completed c. 1001), as the closest typological counterparts for the Mangana katholikon, triggering ample debates on the so-called Byzantine reception of the Armenian architectural tradition in Byzantium. Until recently, this scholarly consensus championing medieval Armenian architecture has prevailed in the mainstream of Byzantine studies, and created further narratives on the cross-cultural interactions, artistic exchange and technical appropriation between Byzantine and Armenian lands. Yet recent critical approaches both to identity and ethnicity in Byzantium, as well as to Byzantine architecture, have created a crucial need tore-evaluate the so-called Armenian input in Middle Byzantine architecture of Constantinople, taking into consideration the renewed historical, theoretical and architectural perspectives of recent scholarship.
Based on the new archaeological evidence from the Mangana complex, this paper posits a new understanding of the eleventh-century monastery by refuting previous scholarship. Furthermore, considering the Mangana katholikon as an architectural case study for a larger cultural debate, this paper first questions the Armenian legacy in the Byzantine cultural realm, focusing on the built environment in Middle Byzantine Constantinople. Assembling the scattered pieces of new archaeological evidence from Byzantine and Armenian architecture reinterpreted in the light of recent revisionist historiography on the Armenians in Byzantium, this paper critically engages with the far-fetched discourse on the myth of Armenian “influence” on Middle Byzantine architecture. In doing so, the paper argues that the earlier taxonomies developed for the cultural and architectural studies of Byzantium are no longer convincing for evaluating the diverse cultural identities in Byzantium and the way in which members of these communities contributed to artistic production in Byzantium, namely the design of religious spaces created for the official religion of a multicultural empire defined as Byzantium.
Elif Keser-Kayaalp, Dokuz Eylül University
Church Architecture of the Tur ‘Abdin
The urban churches of northern Mesopotamia display a wide variety of plan types, reflecting some of the common types built in other parts of the Empire. Of the rural church architecture of the region, our evidence comes mostly from the Tur ‘Abdin, a plateau to the east of Mardin. Although there are one or two innovative experiments, the church architecture of the Tur ‘Abdin is remarkably conservative, with village churches which are longitudinal, single-aisled churches and monastic churches which are transversal (long in a north-south direction) with tripartite sanctuaries. The latter type can be considered unique to the region in the sense that nowhere else we can relate a plan type specifically with a monastic church.
Extensive restoration work done in some of the churches in the region make it difficult to ascertain the dating and function of some features. On the other hand, there are many other churches which give more information, although they are in ruins. By comparing the better known and intact buildings of the region with others, I shall point out the variety in the details of this architecture by focusing on the apse arrangements, entrances, engaged piers in the naves, masonry techniques, decorations, sizes and inscriptions about patrons. I shall try to draw attention to the changes that occurred in all these listed in the seventh or eighth centuries when the region was under Islamic rule. I shall also compare some aspects of this architecture with the urban church architecture in the region to show the parallel building techniques and sculpture employed while sticking to the two plan types.
Tassos Papacostas, Kings College London
Urban and Rural Responses to Perennial Needs: Two Cypriot Sites through the Ages
My investigation revolves around two ongoing University of Cyprus projects, each dissecting the complex history of an individual site, namely that of the cathedral of the Hodegetria in Nicosia (Bedesten) and of the church of the Transfiguration in Sotera (southeast coast). The surviving monuments are discussed, together with the structures that preceded them and the building and decoration campaigns that shaped them. These multi-period sites provide abundant material to discuss fruitfully some of the main concerns of this workshop, including the diachronic evolution of successive structures on each site with the thread of continuous worship running through them, the dialogue between urban and rural, as well as local and imported, building traditions and practices, and their place today in the communities and the built landscape they inhabit.
Suna Çağaptay, Bahçeşehir University / Cambridge University
Made in Byzantium: Rethinking Eclecticism in Laskarid Architecture
Modern scholars were introduced to Laskarid architecture by the late Hans Buchwald. An architectural engineer by training, Hans Buchwald wrote a seminal article on the Laskarid built environment in 1979. This article marked the first attempt, and remains the only written work, to bring together architectural evidence from Greece and Türkiye, once united under the Laskarids. Buchwald deserves much credit for compiling a large body of material and attempting to contextualize Laskarid architectural production, an area that remains largely detached from other architectural discussions of the Byzantine period. He contended that Laskarid architecture is “essentially eclectic in its origins, borrowing its forms from a number of different sources, and coating them with a decorative covering or mantle to produce the appearance of a unified, easily identified, and lavish style.” According to Buchwald, this eclectic style explains the lack of comparisons between twelfth-century Byzantine architecture in Constantinople and thirteenth-century Laskarid architecture in Anatolia.
My presentation offers a nuanced reading of Laskarid architecture within late Byzantine architectural traditions. I tackle what “eclectic” style represents and signifies under the Laskarids, and I aim to move beyond the negative overtone implied by the term itself—such as that Laskarid architectural production lacked inventiveness and creativity or was derivative. I also challenge Hans Buchwald’s assertion that only a few comparisons between twelfth-century Constantinople and Laskarid lands can be found. Accordingly, I suggest that the Laskarid architectural pedigree was twofold, owing much of its character to distinctive symbolic and material references from twelfth-century Komnenian Constantinople, but also borrowing from neighboring civilizations, including the Seljuks, Armenians, and Bulgarians. Paying a special emphasis to the latter, I will especially elaborate on the constantly mapped and remapped Christian polities in the thirteenth century, such as the Epirote, Moreote, Bulgarian, and the Moravan in order to discuss the nature of the cultural interactions hence the creation of the multicultural architectural vocabulary. It was this significant multicultural architectural vocabulary that was transferred back to Constantinople following its restoration as the Byzantine capital in 1261.
 H. Buchwald, “Laskarid Architecture,” JÖB 28 (1979): 293–294.
Nikos Kontogiannis, Koç University
Building Diversity and Religious Polyphony in the Post-1204 Aegean World
The dismantlement of the Byzantine Empire during the Fourth Crusade established a new political reality in its Greek territories. Despite the initial and – quite literally – formal overlordship of the Latin Emperor, local forces and regional players very soon became almost independent. Their prosperity, with all the setbacks and conflicts, was quickly reflected in an astonishing amount of building activity. At the same time, the previously unified Byzantine religious establishment was succeeded by the uncomfortable coexistence of Latin hierarchy, mendicant orders, Greek priests and Eastern-rite monasteries. The churches erected during this period in all parts of the Peloponnese, central Greece and the Aegean islands are numerous, as well as extremely diverse in their character, size, architectural plans, formal features, and building techniques. Undoubtedly, this should be envisaged as a direct reflection of the new socio-economic and religious conditions.
The situation has provoked a long series of conflicting interpretations, differing dating and varied attributions which have puzzled and divided modern scholars over many decades. In the present paper, I will (re)examine a number of such regional foundations, in civic or rural environments, built as monastic endowments or private chapels. Comparisons among them and with pre-existing monuments lead to interesting conclusions as to the range of political forces, motivations and dispositions that ultimately shaped the religious landscape of Crusader Greece and created a unique architectural polyphony.
Tolga Uyar, Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University
“Made by” Byzantium in Seljuk Anatolia: Thirteenth-Century Rock-Carved Churches in Cappadocia
A series of rock-carved churches in Cappadocia and their murals can be securely dated to the thirteenth century by dedicatory inscriptions. These religious “buildings” bear witness to the first centralized political power under Seljuk rule since the rapid collapse of Byzantine control over central Anatolia in the second half of the eleventh century. Likely distant descendants of the significant Byzantine civilization which once dominated the highlands of Asia Minor, the makers and users of the rock-carved churches in Cappadocia appear to also be the objects of the political, economic and cultural interaction between the Sultanate of Rum, Nicaea and various other political entities which claimed the inheritance of Byzantium from 1204 onwards.
As a general rule the rock-cut religious “buildings” in thirteenth century Cappadocia re-use the architectural setting of the earlier churches from tenth and eleventh centuries. When a church is carved-out from scratch, as in Karşı Kilise or in Tatlarin, the amorphous architecture results from the curious mixture of various architectonic forms derived from Middle Byzantine typologies. As for the murals, while the painting lacks the sophistication of the previous regional examples, there is some attempt to mimic earlier styles. Together with the persistence of the conventional elements of the preceding centuries in the iconographic programs, new visual and scriptural references to the contemporary Byzantine world, in addition to the broader koine of Eastern Christian art of the time, inevitably find their way into these works of art.
The knowing re-use or borrowing of older church buildings and artistic formulas–what Robert Nelson called inter-visuality– suggests that the Byzantine past may have been perceived and used as a binding element of Christian group identity within the Muslim-ruled thirteenth century Cappadocia. My paper investigates some methodological and theoretical challenges in the use of material culture as evidence for Byzantine identity tokens in post-Byzantine Cappadocia and examines recent developments that echo major themes of the workshop.
Reflections and Concluding Remarks
Robert Ousterhout, University of Pennsylvania (Emeritus)