Art and Identity in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium: Hagia by Antony Eastmond

By Antony Eastmond

The church of Hagia Sophia in Trebizond, equipped through the emperor Manuel I Grand Komnenos (1238-63) within the aftermath of the autumn of Constantinople to the Fourth campaign, is the best surviving Byzantine imperial monument of its interval. paintings and id in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium is the 1st research of the church in additional than thirty years, and is widely illustrated in color and black-and-white, with many photographs that experience by no means formerly been released. Antony Eastmond examines the architectural, sculptural and painted of the church, putting them within the context of up to date advancements in other places within the Byzantine international, in Seljuq Anatolia and one of the Caucasian neighbours of Trebizond. wisdom of this sector has been remodeled within the final twenty years, following the cave in of the Soviet Union. the hot proof that has emerged permits a extensively assorted interpretation of the church to be reached, and opens questions of cultural interchange at the borders of the Christian and Muslim worlds of jap Anatolia, the Caucasus and Persia. This examine makes use of the church and its ornament to envision questions of Byzantine identification and imperial ideology within the thirteenth century. this can be important to any figuring out of the interval, because the fall of Constantinople in 1204 divided the Byzantine empire and compelled the successor states in Nicaea, Epiros and Trebizond to redefine their recommendations of empire in exile. artwork is right here exploited as major old proof for the character of imperial energy in a contested empire. it is recommended that imperial identification was firm as a lot by means of craftsmen and expectancies of imperial energy as by way of the emperor's decree; and that this used to be a reputable replacement Byzantine identification to that built within the empire of Nicaea.

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These demographic facts must have had an important impact on how the empire could be perceived both by its rulers and subjects. The art of Trebizond emerges as a negotiation not just between the ambitions and political realities of the Grand Komnenoi, but also between these different ethnic, cultural and religious groups. Trebizond, the Mongols and trade The most immediate context for the church of Hagia Sophia is the Mongol invasion of Anatolia. 28 The hegemony enjoyed by the Seljugs in Rum was destroyed, and the kingdom of the Bagratids in Georgia was split.

This learned allusion provided a model that other writers were to follow. George Akropolites, the major writer of the later thirteenth century, also minimises the existence of a rival empire in Trebizond. How better to marginalise the empire than simply by ignoring it? Both he and Chordates are more interested in the Paphlagonian adventure of David Komnenos than with events in Trebizond itself. However, the few references to Trebizond in the chronicles, as well as the omissions, can be deconstructed to give some impression of the ways in which the emperors of Trebizond could exert their power and prestige.

This will be an important consideration when looking at the evidence of regional architectural and decorative elements in Hagia Sophia. Manuel's need to consider local audiences was reinforced by internal factors in the empire, notably the ethnicity of its inhabitants. 25 In its large eastern regions away from Trebizond, there were populations of Laz and Tzan, ethnic Caucasian groups. 27 The character of the empire was further changed by 22 ART AND IDENTITY IN THIRTEENTH-CENTURY BYZANTIUM the mass immigration of Armenians into Trebizond after the sack of Ani by the Mongol khan Chamarghan in 1239, and by Syriac groups from Mesopotamia.

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Art and Identity in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium: Hagia by Antony Eastmond
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