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Advancement of Architecture
The ruler as builder was one of the oldest ideals of a sovereign. Justinian
strove hard to realize this ideal. The greatest buildings he erected or rebuilt
were in Constantinople, the city which was now the embodiment of the
civilization of the Eastern Roman Empire. Numerous magnificent and artistically
beautiful structures were constructed or rebuilt during his reign. They included
statues, churches and various other monuments. His crowning achievement was the
building of St. Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom. This building was considered
by many an architectural wonder of the middle ages, and is still standing strong
today. Its design, size, artwork, name and its significance made it a building
that symbolized the religious and philosophical epicenter of Constantinople and
Byzantine civilization.
This work began mostly in a private capacity and reflected the piety
which was to show itself further when Justinian became emperor. The chief church
in this category was St. Accius, a Cappadocian soldier who had been executed at
Byzantium in the early 300's and was venerated as one of the leading martyrs who
had suffered on the site of the future Constantinople. Six other churches were
similarly rebuilt. One was St. Mocius. This was one of the most famous shrines
in Constantinople. It was said to have been originally a temple of Zeus, which
Constantine then converted into a church. Other churches included St. Plato,
martyred at Ancyra, and St. Thyrsus, executed in Nicomedia in the same
persecution. In the suburbs of Constantinople he rebuilt a church of the famous
woman martyr, St. Thecla, who suffered in the first Christian century.
When Justinian came to the throne, he found many of the major public buildings
and churches in dire need of repairs. His private undertakings were replaced by
an official program to rebuild and construct churches throughout the whole
empire. To this end
Justinian had at his disposal the famous Historian Procopius who wrote, at the
Emperor's command in the years 559-560, the famous panegyrical treatise "On the
Buildings of the Emperor Justinian". Far from being displays of megalomania,
Justinian's works constituted a well balanced plan. First, he wished to provide
the people of the capital with much needed public buildings. Second, to create a
new architectural setting for the institutions that represented the chief
political and spiritual resources of the empire and its civilization. Justinian
surpassed the work of Constantine, who up to that point had been the greatest
builder among the Christian emperors of the Empire.
One of Justinian's best known benefactions was the rebuilding of a hospital for
the poor which had been constructed in the early days of Constantinople.
foto:scaned....the seven towers point of great walls

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Additional Photos by Nicephorus Phocas (CRATEOS) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1223 W: 133 N: 1457] (7278)
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