BYZANTINE CIVILIZATION ( 330 - 1453 A.D.)


As the traditional Roman influence on Anatolian art and architecture starts to decay by the end of 3rd century A.D., a new source of influence starts to play a dominant role; Christianity and Byzantine. Early Christian and Byzantine works of art are considered to bean expressionist interpretation of late Roman art.

Constantinopolis (Istanbul) built by Emperor Constantine at 330 A.D. became the center stone of this emerging new architectural excellence. The Anatolian cities such as Ephesus, Perge, Sardis, Antakia, Hierapolis and Side soon became the followers of this spectacular style.

Constantinopolis became arts and cultural center of the civilized world between 330-565 A.D. During the reign of Emperor Justinian(527-565 A.D.) early Christian civilization gained a big momentum and created some of the best landmarks of the history of civilization. Hagia Sophia, an early basilica erected by Constantine at 325 and restored many times since then. This church is accepted as one of the most important monuments of the Byzantine architecture. Hagia Sophia is a domed basilica and consists of a hall with exonarthex and narthex, a central room with three naves and a gallery, and a garden surrounding the building. Hagia Sophia is the fourth biggest basilica following St.Peters in Rome, Duomo in Milan and St.Pauls in London.

St.John basilica (Justinian era) and church of Mary (4th and 6th century) in Ephesus, Alahan church (5th and 6th century) in south Anatolia, St.Mary Pammakaristos church (1310) and Chora church (late 11th century) are considered to be the most important and well preserved architectural masterpieces representing Byzantine style.

Also, the mosaics covering the church walls reflect a very powerful aspect of Byzantine-Christian art form. Icons, wall paintings and colorful brick laying are still visible on the walls of Byzantine buildings today. Silver and golden plates and jewelry remained from this age represent a strong tradition of mastership on jewelry making.


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