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Charalambos Gasparis assesses the implications of the dissolution of the Orthodox ecclesiastical hierarchy in Venetian Crete and the influence this had on the imagery of Hell. He offers an overview of the continuities and novelties in the political, administrative, economical and ecclesiastical realm that shaped a society that produced numerous images of Hell. The study of the Cretan images of Hell has become essential for our understanding of social norms as well as the enforcement of Venetian penal law and the survival of Byzantine law on the island. By providing a detailed analysis of the organisation of the local Orthodox Church as well as a comparative analysis of offences, presented in both pictorial and textual form, as found in hitherto unpublished documents from the Venetian archives, where the social, economic and religious profile of the donors is also reflected, Gasparis correlates iconography to its social background and demonstrates how images can mirror aspects of the society that depicted Hell in their churches.
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