Byzantine Constantine Rare Ancient Coins

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Byzantine Constantine

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Byzantine Constantine

Design features of the Medieval Period

Fall of Rome dated on 400 CE was at once nucleus new emperor – Byzantine. Acceptation of Christianity as an official religion by Constantine I (272 – 337 CE, Roman Emperor from 306, Byzantine Emperor from 330 CE), in ‘Edict of Milan’ in 313 CE and relocation of new empire’s capital to Constantinople changed Roman order in contemporary world for ever. Strangled for ages new religion – Christianity after all exploded, laid the foundation of new world. Everything forbidden became lawful. In architecture such as in other aspect of medieval lifestyle new religion ruled above everything else. These changes are illustrated by churches through early period of Christianity by Byzantine and Romanesque to Gothic. Well known in ancient world basilica, which was a public building, was given a part more official then general site of the life of simple citizens. Because Christianity was common religion religious objects turned into public places. On the beginning of early Christianity ( 2nd - 6th CE) architectural basilica consisted of high central nave, two or four aisles, transept on the end with semi – circular apse and atrium. The great examples of this architecture are Old St Peter’s basilica in Rome(319 – 335 CE) or next St Apollinaire in Classe in Ravenna (530 – 549 CE), after that reconstructed with byzantine elements. Marble floors were decorated with patterns, naves and aisles was divided by lines of columns and ceiling was made of wood, buildings were heavy – set with not many quantity rather small sized windows. In comparison with early byzantine basilicas were planed octagonal, sometimes Greek cross, vaulted interiors with domed ceilings, walls were richly decorated in colorful pictures, in most cases mosaics. Apart from St Mark’s, Venice (c. 1050) and St. Vitale, Ravenna (532-48 CE) flagship example is Hagia Sophia (532- 537 CE) in Constantinople. Indubitable influence for byzantine architecture was Islamic art not only in architectural aspects such as, for example, Ottoman’s mosques. Harmonious with Islamic art brick and stone walls was turned into many different patterns. Great space inside, rich decorations with oriental influence and small windows gave holly, mystical atmosphere. At the same time as the byzantine style in the East, and West Europe, between 10th and 12th century, other style in architecture had developed which was called Romanesque (next evolved into the Gothic) that we can translate as ‘similar to Roman’. Features of this style were combined Western Roman and Byzantine. Main distinctive feature of this style was development of stone vaulted buildings which replaced wooden roofs and as a consequence it was necessary to apply massive walls with piers. In order for objects to be steady and save interior space was divided into smaller units called bays. The nave compared with previous pattern was higher and narrower and window was bigger and slim  to give vertical impression. In particular countries Romanesque churches had their own character.

In Italy were several different varieties of Romanesque style: in Lombardy objects had groined vaulting and heavy proportions, in central Italy more classical elements were used and in southern part style was very rich combining Byzantine, Roman, Arabic Lombard and Norman elements.

In France Romanesque style was known also as a Norman, which was characterised by various types of vaulting, for example one of the most interesting variations was in Burgundy were Norman architects on the basis of Lombardian method created style with groined vaults supported by flying buttresses, used for the first time at St Denis, where we can recognize as a prototypical gothic.

German Romanesque had usually large scale, was very high and had an apse or sanctuary from both sides, many of additional round or octagonal towers gave sometimes picturesque appearance.

In England, before 10th century, most of the churches in Romanesque style were made from wood, after that, between 10th and 11th century, from stone but generally it was smaller and less impressive then rest of Europe.

Final period of medieval ages was Gothic; originality came from France which evolved from Romanesque style in 12th century called ‘the French style’, and was succeeding to 16th century. Down of this style is dated with reconstruction of Abbey Church of St Denis (circa 1130 CE), mentioned before, next, cathedrals of Sens (1140 CE), Noyons (1150 CE) and Paris (1163 CE). Groundbreaking and recognisable sign at once of gothic was pointed arch which was evolution of existing in Romanesque style groin vault which gave different variation of vault called ribbed vault This construction technique and other, which was logical consequence of it, such as pier buttress and flying buttress allowed the buildings to grow very high. In graciles and higher churches began to use big colour-fully glassed windows called stained glass window Gothic had brought not only improved building techniques, but also woodwork, metalwork and other aspects of art. Thus, sacred objects were fully sophisticated, rich objects, monumental sculptures, liturgical paraphernalia, candelabras, embroidered textiles, pictures on the walls arranged in form called triptych Charming, stoned interiors, full of imagery, filled with wooden and steel furniture and other elements, illuminated coloured rays of light merged with candle lights gave impression of power of God. Despite French roots, gothic spread across the whole Europe. The closest French gothic was English counterpart where extra ribs in vaulting were very commonly used, like in Exeter Cathedral in Devon (1328 – 1348 CE) or most spectacularly in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge (1446 – 1515  CE). Nevertheless great examples of gothic churches can be found in majority of European countries. It is worth to mention Italian gothic because this style was particular, even if vertical arrangement was never priority. Most of characteristic for French gothic features was used in smaller scale and in different ways.

‘The principle of the Gothic architecture is infinity made imaginable.’

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

If the legacy of ancient world was Roman art, by which the next epoch was inspired, as a continuity of Greek heritage we can say that generally middle ages were not the period which could bring lot of art but last part of it - gothic would be interesting legacy for next generations.

Journey to Byzantium: Constantine the Great prologue

Byzantine Constantine | Bronze Follis of the Roman Emperor Constantine Foreign Currency and More!

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