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Showing posts from November 11, 2012

Byzantium and the Crusades: book review

Byzantium and the Crusades Jonathan Harris London, Hambledon and London Books, 2002, ISBN: 1852852984; 277pp.; Price: £19.95:
On 13 April 1204 the western or Latin armies participating in the Fourth Crusade conquered Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium. The approaching 800th anniversary of that event has generated renewed interest in the background, context and impact of that crusade, expressed in several new studies and in conferences. The initial goal of the Fourth Crusade was the re-establishment of Christian rule over Jerusalem, lost to Sultan Saladin of Egypt in 1187. Instead, it ended with the capture of the capital of a Christian state that had withstood all previous sieges and assaults. Click here to read the entire review

Dafni Monastery, a virtual tour

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Dafní or Daphní  is an 11th-century Byzantine monastery 11 km north-west of downtown Athens in Chaidari, south of Athinon Avenue (GR-8A). It is situated near the forest of the same name, on the Sacred Way that led to Eleusis. The forest covers about 15 to 20 km².
The Daphnion was founded about the turn of the 6th century, Christianizing the site of the Sanctuary of Apollo Daphnaios that had been desecrated by the Goths in 395, and reusing the Ionic columns of the ancient temple of Apollo in its portico; only one remains, the others having been removed to London by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin. The principal church (catholikon), a fine monument of the 11th-century Byzantine art, is a cross-in-square church of the octagonal type surmounted by a broad and high dome. The church houses the best preserved complex of mosaics from the early Comnenian period (ca. 1100) when an austere and hieratic manner typical for the Macedonian epoch and represented by the famous Christ Pantocrator imag…

The Byzantine Empire and Cartography

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Of all the civilizations of the classical world, the Byzantine is probably the least known from the cartographic point of view. The Byzantine state was the richest, the most powerful, and the most civilized in Europe and the Middle East at that time. 1 Although the territorial boundaries of its empire fluctuated,2 there was a continuity in political organization, in cultural influences, and in religion for over a thousand years from A.D. 330, when Constantinople was founded, to the fall of Trebizond in 1461, eight years after the collapse of the capital.
Read more here an article on Byzantine cartography

Byzantium and the Crusades Video

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Here is a crash course on Byzantium and the crusades:

Byzantine Greek manuscripts online in Rome

Click here to read more about this project from the Rome National Library. (via Paleografia Greca)
Read also about the latest digital tools in the study of ancient written documents

Byzantine Religion and Culture: A conference in Moscow on Byzantine Hagiography

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Byzantine Religion and Culture: A conference in Moscow on Byzantine Hagiography
From 12–14 November 2012 a conference will be held at St Tikhon`s Orthodox University of the Humanities: «Byzantine hagiography: themes, texts and projects».
This conference will be the fifth in the context of the joint project «Byzantine theology», carried out by St Tikhon’s theological faculty and the humanities research center of the Ca `Foscari University of Venice.
This year the conference is being held under the auspices of the National Byzantine Committees of Russia, Italy and France, and with the financial support of the Centre of Byzantine Civilization of the University of Paris College de France. The conference is being organised by A. Rigo, D. Afinogenov and Deacon P. Ermilov. Among the participants are the leading domestic and foreign experts in the field of study of the Byzantine hagiographic tradition.For all inquiries please contact the organising committee: conference@pstgu.ru.

Byzantine Art: Book on the David Plates, the Metropolitan Museum

A Byzantine art masterpiece: the David Plates
This beautiful and exceptionally important set of nine silver plates, dated 629 to 630, was discovered with two other silver plates in 1902 in Karavas in northern Cyprus (see Map 2). The plates were found hidden near a small horde of gold jewelry. Most of this treasure came to the Metropolitan Museum from the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan. Six of the David Plates are in the Metropolitan’s collection and are on view in the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries for Byzantine Art on the first floor (in the long corridor gallery on the right of the Grand Staircase, as approached from the Great Hall). The other three plates are in the collection of the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, Cyprus.
In eleven scenes, David is summoned from his flock of sheep to meet the prophet Samuel; he is anointed the new king of Israel by Samuel (since King Saul of Israel is no longer in God’s favor); David argues with his brother Eliab after he comes into Saul’s camp an…

Women in the Byzantine Empire

A short but informative essay: Women in the Byzantine Empire

Byzantium and the Crusades, Jonathan Harris

Crusades have represented an important topic in the history of Byzantium. There are tens of books on the topic.
Here is one of them by Jonathan Harris: Byzantium and the Crusades, 2006
And here is a review of the book by David Jacoby on the Reviews in History

Inside the Hagia Sophia (video with special effects)

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Justinian chose physicist Isidore of Miletus and mathematician Anthemius of Tralles as architects; Anthemius, however, died within the first year of the endeavor. The construction is described in the Byzantine historian Procopius' On Buildings (Peri ktismatōn, Latin: De aedificiis).

Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios

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Although geographically distant from each other, these three monasteries (the first is in Attica, near Athens, the second in Phocida near Delphi, and the third on an island in the Aegean Sea, near Asia Minor) belong to the same typological series and share the same aesthetic characteristics. The churches are built on a cross-in-square plan with a large dome supported by squinches defining an octagonal space. In the 11th and 12th centuries they were decorated with superb marble works as well as mosaics on a gold background, all characteristic of the 'second golden age of Byzantine art'.

Click here to check the official UNESCO website

The Holy Monastery of the Mount Sinai, Saint Catherine’s Monastery

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The Greek Orthodox monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai is located at the very place where God appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush, beneath the Mount of the Decalogue. In the providence of God, it is at this site also that the holy relics of Saint Catherine are enshrined. This is the oldest continuously inhabited Christian monastery, with a history that can be traced back over seventeen centuries.
The monastery predates the divisions of the Christian world, its origins extending to late antiquity. The monastery has never been destroyed in all its history, and thus it can be said to have preserved intact the distinctive qualities of its Greek and Roman heritage. Members of other Christian confessions have honoured the monastery, coming as pilgrims to this holy place. But from its beginnings, the Christian inhabitants of Sinai belonged to the Greek speaking world, and it has remained so to this day.
The earliest description refers to the Monastery of the Holy Virgin, for the re…

East of Byzantium: a documentary on Armenia

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Looks interesting in terms of medieval clothing...

Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition—The Red Monastery

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In conjunction with the exhibition Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (on view March 14 through July 8, 2012), art historian Elizabeth Bolman introduces the Red Monastery project.

Latest digital tools for the study of ancient documents

Arabic Papyrus, Parchment, and Paper:  The Arabic Papyrus, Parchment & Paper Collection at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah is the largest of its kind in the United States. It contains 770 Arabic documents on papyrus and more than 1300 Arabic documents on paper, as well as several pieces on parchment. Professor Aziz Suriyal Atiya, founder of the Middle East Center and the Middle East Library, compiled the collection. Dr. Atiya and his wife, Lola, purchased the collection over a period of several years from dealers in Egypt, Beirut, and London. The bulk of the collection originated in Egypt, in addition to a small group of fragments from the University of Chicago. A large number of pieces date to the period between 700 and 850 CE. The collection includes a significant number of documents from the pre-Ottoman period and thus offers unique source material on the political, economic, religious and intellectual life of Egypt during the first two centuries of Islamic…

Paleografia Greca: St Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai: Its Ma...

Paleografia Greca:


St Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai: Its Ma...
: St Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai: Its Manuscripts and their Conservation. Papers given in memory of Ihor Ševčenko , ed. C. a...


Illustrated Octateuch Manuscripts A Byzantine Phenomenon John Lowden

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This volume contains selected papers from a December 2006 Dumbarton Oaks symposium that complemented an exhibition of early Bible manuscripts at the Freer Gallery and Sackler Gallery of Art titled “In the Beginning: Bibles before the Year 1000.” Speakers were invited to examine the use of the Greek Old Testament as a text, social practice, and cultural experience in the Byzantine Empire. Not only are reminiscences of the Old Testament ubiquitous in Byzantine literature and art, but the Byzantine people also revered and identified with Old Testament role models. The Old Testament connected Byzantium not only with its Christian neighbors but with Jewish and Muslim peoples as well. This widespread phenomenon has never received systematic investigation. The Old Testament in Byzantium considers the manifestations of the holy books in Byzantine manuscript illustration, architecture, and government, as well as in Jewish Bible translations and the construction of Muhammad’s char…

Online study: Refashioning Byzantium in Venice, ca. 1200–1400

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From the volume published in 2010 at Dumbarton Oaks, San Marco, Byzantium, and the Myths of Venice, Edited by Henry Maguire and Robert S. Nelson:
"The papers in this volume were originally presented, in a different form, in the colloquium “From Enrico to Andrea Dandolo: Imitation, Appropriation, and Meaning at San Marco in Venice,” jointly sponsored by Dumbarton Oaks and Johns Hopkins University, held in Baltimore in May 2007. The participants discussed the decoration of San Marco as an assemblage of mosaics, sculptures, and reliquaries, of which some were Venetian productions, but others were spolia or imitation spolia. The speakers addressed the diverse styles of these works, whether Late Roman, Early Christian, Byzantine, Islamic, or Gothic, and explored their sources, meanings, and significance, both individually and as an ensemble. These essays have been generated from those papers and the fruitful dialogues that took place subsequently between the speakers and t…