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By Antony Eastmond

The church of Hagia Sophia in Trebizond, outfitted by way of 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 largely illustrated in color and black-and-white, with many pictures 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 different places within the Byzantine international, in Seljuq Anatolia and one of the Caucasian neighbours of Trebizond. wisdom of this sector has been reworked within the final twenty years, following the cave in of the Soviet Union. the hot facts that has emerged allows a greatly various 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 valuable to any knowing 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 options of empire in exile. artwork is the following exploited as major ancient proof for the character of imperial energy in a contested empire. it is strongly recommended that imperial id was firm as a lot through craftsmen and expectancies of imperial energy as via the emperor's decree; and that this used to be a reputable substitute Byzantine identification to that constructed within the empire of Nicaea.

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Additional resources for Art and Identity in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium: Hagia Sophia and the Empire of Trebizond

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This has an effect on the ways in which the various elements of the church are interpreted. Emphasis placed on those aspects of the church that are usually ascribed to Constantinople or the mainstream of Byzantine culture, notably the wall paintings, must be balanced against evidence about who had the knowledge to produce them, and who, in thirteenth-century Trebizond, would have understood or recognised them. In contrast, emphasis placed on elements of local origin must be considered against Manuel's imperial proclamations.

It has long been recognised that the unusual architectural form of the church, its diverse range of figural and decorative sculpture and wall paintings and their apparently eclectic combination, defy any simple categorisation: the 1968 publication of the church linked these various elements with Georgian, Armenian, Seljuq, Syrian as well as with Byzantine models and influences. The presence in one building of elements, motifs and styles associated with Constantinople, the Caucasus, and Anatolia, drawn from both Christian and Islamic artistic traditions, demands explanation.

With these contexts as a background, it is possible to establish a new and more nuanced gauge against which to judge the church. By the time that the building and decoration of Hagia Sophia were completed, probably in the mid 1250s, the empire of Trebizond had undergone many changes since its foundation. Its status as independent state had been lost and regained on more than one occasion, and the ambitions of its emperors had altered accordingly. 1250, the political and social contexts of the empire of Trebizond shifted constantly; all had an impact on the makeup of the empire, its ideology, ambitions and potential.

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