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Chapter 19, “Pilgrimage to Constantinople,” examines the emergence of Constantinople as a sacred center of Christian pilgrimage. It outlines the city’s attractions and considers the motives that drove people to visit.
The earliest preserved painted icons in the Adriatic date from the thirteenth century. In fact, apart from Rome, the entire Latin West seems to have embraced icons simultaneously overnight as soon as they started coming in great numbers from Byzantium following the capture of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1204. This chapter argues that the Adriatic was particularly responsive to these painted icons because it had already embraced Byzantine relief icons in the eleventh century. The examination includes both the material and written evidence for the existence of icons in the eleventh-century Adriatic, such as the extant marble Hodegetria icon from Trani and the recorded commission of a gilt silver icon for Siponto Cathedral in 1069. When it comes to Dalmatia, this investigation looks into a donation document recording five icons, one of which was made of silver, in a church built and furnished by a Croatian dignitary in the 1040s. The analysis demonstrates that by the thirteenth century, the Adriatic was conditioned by relief icons to embrace easily portable painted icons reaching its shores after the fall of Constantinople and that this area as a whole experienced a strong prestige bias towards Byzantine artefacts.
This chapter likewise draws on ancient visual and material culture in order to examine the worship of divine cult statues in Mesopotamia, the anti-idol polemics in the Bible, and the power of images and ritual activities in the construction of religious beliefs. In particular, the ancient Mesopotamian “washing of the mouth” ritual is studied within a cognitive framework. The discussion highlights both the intuitive and non-intuitive (i.e., costly) aspects of the belief in divine cult statues, and proceeds to examine both the cognitive process and cultural mechanisms that contribute to the belief that an inanimate statue is or becomes the deity. In doing so, the chapter adds a nuanced layer to the nature of belief and also problematizes certain scholarly views about belief in cult statues in ancient Mesopotamia and Israel.
Detailed examination of two building projects associated with Pope John VII (705–7); his funerary chapel in Old Saint Peter’s and the redecoration of the church of Santa Maria Antiqua. Prime attention is given to the cultural background of the decorations and the media employed.
This brief article makes the case that Patriarch Methodios developed a distinctive icon theology. He argued that the saints had infused the colours of their faces with their holy essence and that these colours when separated from the bodies and transferred to images could thus lead to the moral improvement of the onlookers.
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