Byzatine Architecture

Topics: Roman Empire, Byzantine architecture, Hagia Sophia Pages: 4 (1427 words) Published: June 1, 2013

The Byzantine Empire is generally associated with the foundation of Constantinople by Constantine the Great between 334-340, an event that signaled the continuation of the Roman Empire as an officially Christian entity. The Architecture developed from the fifth century A.D. in the Byzantine Empire, characterized especially by massive domes with square bases and rounded arches and spires and much use of glass mosaics. With the rise of the Islamic empire in former Byzantine territories and sustained interaction through war, diplomacy, and commerce, Byzantine architectural forms and techniques, not to mention entire sites, were appropriated by Islamic patrons constituting important components in the formation of a distinctively Islamic architecture. Byzantine religious architecture in the form of churches, basilicas, and monasteries has achieved the most attention from scholars, in part because religious buildings, rather than secular architecture, constitute the majority of extant monuments. Religious buildings often utilized cruciform and centralized plans, with a variety of vaulting techniques playing predominant roles in the architectural compositions. Interiors were richly ornamented with glass mosaic, wall paintings, and spolia in the form of columns, capitals, and stone revetment. Brick and stone were the predominant building materials, and might appear laid in alternating courses, as facings for rubble cores, or in other combinations that emphasized the decorative qualities of the wall. Buildings were usually roofed with a combination of wooden trusses and tiled vaults. Byzantine palatial architecture, the most celebrated example being the Great Palace in Constantinople, is known from a combination of literary and fragmentary archaeological evidence. The Great Palace was a sprawling walled complex of reception halls, residential quarters, courtyards, and religious buildings located in the area east of the church of Hagia Sophia....
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