“Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.”
(Quote: Constantin Brâncuşi)
(Quote: Constantin Brâncuşi)
CHOPIN: Nocturne No. 2, E flat major, Op. 9, No. 2
Amedeo Clemente Modigliani
12 July 1884
|Died||24 January 1920 (aged 35)|
|Education||Accademia di Belle Arti, Florence|
|Known for||Painting, sculpture|
|Redheaded Girl in Evening Dress
Jeanne Hébuterne in Red Shawl
œuvre includes paintings and drawings. From 1909 to 1914 he devoted
himself mainly to sculpture. His main subject was portraits and full
figures, both in the images and in the sculptures. Modigliani had little
success while alive, but after his death achieved great popularity. He
died of tubercular meningitis, at the age of 35, in Paris.
Family and early lifeEdit
Modigliani was born into a Sephardic Jewish family in Livorno, Italy. A port city, Livorno had long served as a refuge for those persecuted for their religion, and was home to a large Jewish community. His maternal great-great-grandfather, Solomon Garsin, had immigrated to Livorno in the 18th century as a refugee.
Modigliani’s mother, Eugénie Garsin, born and raised in Marseille,
was descended from an intellectual, scholarly family of Sephardic
ancestry that for generations had lived along the Mediterranean
coastline. Fluent in many languages, her ancestors were authorities on
sacred Jewish texts and had founded a school of Talmudic studies. Family legend traced the family lineage to the 17th-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza.
The family business was a credit agency with branches in Livorno,
Marseille, Tunis, and London, though their fortunes ebbed and flowed.
father, Flaminio, was a member of an Italian Jewish family of
successful businessmen and entrepreneurs. While not as culturally
sophisticated as the Garsins, they knew how to invest in and develop
thriving business endeavors. When the Garsin and Modigliani families
announced the engagement of their children, Flaminio was a wealthy young
mining engineer. He managed the mine in Sardinia and also managed the almost 30,000 acres (12,141 ha) of timberland the family owned.
reversal in fortune occurred to this prosperous family in 1883. An
economic downturn in the price of metal plunged the Modiglianis into
bankruptcy. Ever resourceful, Modigliani’s mother used her social
contacts to establish a school and, along with her two sisters, made the
school into a successful enterprise.
Modigliani was the fourth child, whose birth coincided with the
disastrous financial collapse of his father’s business interests.
Amedeo’s birth saved the family from ruin; according to an ancient law,
creditors could not seize the bed of a pregnant woman or a mother with a
newborn child. The bailiffs entered the family’s home just as Eugenia
went into labour; the family protected their most valuable assets by
piling them on top of her.
Modigliani had a close relationship with his mother, who taught
him at home until he was 10. Beset with health problems after an attack
of pleurisy when he was about 11, a few years later he developed a case of typhoid fever. When he was 16 he was taken ill again and contracted the tuberculosis
which would later claim his life. After Modigliani recovered from the
second bout of pleurisy, his mother took him on a tour of southern
Italy: Naples, Capri, Rome and Amalfi, then north to Florence and Venice.
mother was, in many ways, instrumental in his ability to pursue art as a
vocation. When he was 11 years of age, she had noted in her diary: “The
child’s character is still so unformed that I cannot say what I think
of it. He behaves like a spoiled child, but he does not lack
intelligence. We shall have to wait and see what is inside this
chrysalis. Perhaps an artist?”
Art student yearsEdit
At the age of fourteen, while sick with typhoid fever, he raved
in his delirium that he wanted, above all else, to see the paintings in
the Palazzo Pitti and the Uffizi in Florence. As Livorno’s local museum housed only a sparse few paintings by the Italian Renaissance
masters, the tales he had heard about the great works held in Florence
intrigued him, and it was a source of considerable despair to him, in
his sickened state, that he might never get the chance to view them in
person. His mother promised that she would take him to Florence herself,
the moment he was recovered. Not only did she fulfil this promise, but
she also undertook to enroll him with the best painting master in
Livorno, Guglielmo Micheli.
This section needs additional citations for verification.
Modigliani worked in Micheli’s Art School from 1898 to 1900. Among his colleagues in that studio would have been Llewelyn Lloyd, Giulio Cesare Vinzio, Manlio Martinelli, Gino Romiti, Renato Natali, and Oscar Ghiglia.
Here his earliest formal artistic instruction took place in an
atmosphere steeped in a study of the styles and themes of 19th-century
Italian art. In his earliest Parisian work, traces of this influence,
and that of his studies of Renaissance art, can still be seen. His nascent work was shaped as much by such artists as Giovanni Boldini as by Toulouse-Lautrec.
Modigliani showed great promise while with Micheli, and ceased
his studies only when he was forced to, by the onset of tuberculosis.
In 1901, whilst in Rome, Modigliani admired the work of Domenico Morelli,
a painter of dramatic religious and literary scenes. Morelli had served
as an inspiration for a group of iconoclasts who were known by the
title “the Macchiaioli” (from macchia —”dash
of colour”, or, more derogatively, “stain”), and Modigliani had already
been exposed to the influences of the Macchiaioli. This localized landscape
movement reacted against the bourgeois stylings of the academic genre
painters. While sympathetically connected to (and actually pre-dating)
the French Impressionists, the Macchiaioli did not make the same impact upon international art culture as did the contemporaries and followers of Monet, and are today largely forgotten outside Italy.
Modigliani’s connection with the movement was through Guglielmo
Micheli, his first art teacher. Micheli was not only a Macchiaiolo
himself, but had been a pupil of the famous Giovanni Fattori,
a founder of the movement. Micheli’s work, however, was so fashionable
and the genre so commonplace that the young Modigliani reacted against
it, preferring to ignore the obsession with landscape that, as with
French Impressionism, characterized the movement. Micheli also tried to
encourage his pupils to paint en plein air,
but Modigliani never really got a taste for this style of working,
sketching in cafés, but preferring to paint indoors, and especially in
his own studio. Even when compelled to paint landscapes (three are known
to exist), Modigliani chose a proto-Cubist palette more akin to Cézanne than to the Macchiaioli.
While with Micheli, Modigliani studied not only landscape, but
also portraiture, still life, and the nude. His fellow students recall
that the last was where he displayed his greatest talent, and apparently
this was not an entirely academic pursuit for the teenager: when not
painting nudes, he was occupied with seducing the household maid.
his rejection of the Macchiaioli approach, Modigliani nonetheless found
favour with his teacher, who referred to him as “Superman”, a pet name
reflecting the fact that Modigliani was not only quite adept at his art,
but also that he regularly quoted from Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Fattori himself would often visit the studio, and approved of the young artist’s innovations.
In 1902, Modigliani continued what was to be a lifelong infatuation with life drawing, enrolling in the Scuola Libera di Nudo, or “Free School of Nude Studies”, of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. A year later, while still suffering from tuberculosis, he moved to Venice, where he registered to study at the Regia Accademia ed Istituto di Belle Arti.
It is in Venice that he first smoked hashish
and, rather than studying, began to spend time frequenting disreputable
parts of the city. The impact of these lifestyle choices upon his
developing artistic style is open to conjecture, although these choices
do seem to be more than simple teenage rebellion, or the cliched hedonism and bohemianism
that was almost expected of artists of the time; his pursuit of the
seedier side of life appears to have roots in his appreciation of
radical philosophies, including those of Nietzsche.
Having been exposed to erudite philosophical literature as a young
boy under the tutelage of Isaco Garsin, his maternal grandfather, he
continued to read and be influenced through his art studies by the
writings of Nietzsche, Baudelaire, Carducci, Comte de Lautréamont, and others, and developed the belief that the only route to true creativity was through defiance and disorder.
Letters that he wrote from his ‘sabbatical’ in Capri in 1901
clearly indicate that he is being more and more influenced by the
thinking of Nietzsche. In these letters, he advised friend Oscar
(hold sacred all) which can exalt and excite your
intelligence… (and) … seek to provoke … and to perpetuate …
these fertile stimuli, because they can push the intelligence to its
maximum creative power.
The work of Lautréamont was equally influential at this time. This doomed poet’s Les Chants de Maldoror became the seminal work for the Parisian Surrealists of Modigliani’s generation, and the book became Modigliani’s favourite to the extent that he learnt it by heart.
The poetry of Lautréamont is characterized by the juxtaposition of
fantastical elements, and by sadistic imagery; the fact that Modigliani
was so taken by this text in his early teens gives a good indication of
his developing tastes. Baudelaire and D’Annunzio similarly appealed to the young artist, with their interest in corrupted beauty, and the expression of that insight through Symbolist imagery.
Modigliani wrote to Ghiglia extensively from Capri, where his
mother had taken him to assist in his recovery from tuberculosis. These
letters are a sounding board for the developing ideas brewing in
Modigliani’s mind. Ghiglia was seven years Modigliani’s senior, and it
is likely that it was he who showed the young man the limits of his
horizons in Livorno. Like all precocious teenagers, Modigliani preferred
the company of older companions, and Ghiglia’s role in his adolescence
was to be a sympathetic ear as he worked himself out, principally in the
convoluted letters that he regularly sent, and which survive today.
Dear friend, I write to pour myself out to you and to
affirm myself to myself. I am the prey of great powers that surge forth
and then disintegrate … A bourgeois
told me today–insulted me–that I or at least my brain was lazy. It did
me good. I should like such a warning every morning upon awakening: but
they cannot understand us nor can they understand life…
Gallery of works
In 1909, Modigliani returned home to Livorno, sickly and tired from
his wild lifestyle. Soon he was back in Paris, this time renting a studio in Montparnasse. He originally saw himself as a sculptor rather than a painter, and was encouraged to continue after Paul Guillaume, an ambitious young art dealer, took an interest in his work and introduced him to sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. He was Constantin Brâncuși’s disciple for one year.
Although a series of Modigliani’s sculptures were exhibited in the Salon d’Automne
of 1912, by 1914 he abandoned sculpting and focused solely on his
painting, a move precipitated by the difficulty in acquiring sculptural
materials due to the outbreak of war, and by Modigliani’s physical debilitation.
Modigliani painted a series of portraits of contemporary artists and friends in Montparnasse: Chaim Soutine, Moïse Kisling, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Marie “Marevna” Vorobyev-Stebeslka, Juan Gris, Max Jacob, Jacques Lipchitz, Blaise Cendrars, and Jean Cocteau, all sat for stylized renditions.
The war years
Patronage of Léopold Zborowski
Death and funeral
(Christ in Majesty, 7th century. Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome.)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 17:20-26.
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
Mural: Christ in Majesty, 7th century. Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, Rome.
Eiffel was a French engineer who designed the Eiffel Tower as the entrance arch for the for the 1889 Paris Exhibition. Though it was supposed to be dismantled after the fair, the tower became a landmark and is today the world’s most visited paid monument. Prior to this massive undertaking, Eiffel established his reputation by constructing a series of ambitious railway bridges, including the span across the Douro at Oporto, Portugal. In 1881, he designed the internal framework for what structure? More… Discuss
Pentru Hărman prima atestare documentară este actul de donaţie datat în 1240. Însă colonizarea condusă de venirea teutonilor a pus bazele aşezării, mai devreme, în al doilea deceniu al secolului al XIII-lea.Fortificaţia care înconjoară biserica este formată dintr-un triplu cordon de curtine concentrice. Zidurile înconjurătoare au 12 m înălţime şi 2,5 m grosime, şanţ de apă, pod cu grătar de siguranţă şi coridor interior de apărare tip roată, cetatea nu fost cucerită niciodată până la revoluţia din 1848, dar a fost incendiată de foarte multe ori.Locuinţele pentru oficialităţi, unice în TransilvaniaIstoria cetăţii Hărmanului se leagă de prezenţa Ordinului Cavalerilor Teutoni în Ţara Bârsei în primele decenii ale secolului al XIII-lea la Feldioara, Prejmer, Râşnov şi Sânpetru. Prima atestare documentară a aşezării datează însă de la 21 martie 1240, la 15 ani după alungarea cavalerilor teutoni din aceste teritorii. Într-un document redactat atunci, regele Béla al IV-lea spune… am hotărât să dăruim sfântului şi venerabilului convent al mănăstirii Cisterciţilor, ca ajutor pentru cheltuielile sale, ce se vor face în fiecare an pentru folosul obştesc, al capitulului întregului ordin, unele biserici din Ţara Bârsei în părţile Transilvaniei, şi anume cetatea Feldioara (Castrum Sanctae Mariae), Sânpetru (Sancti Petri), muntele Hărman (Mons Mellis) şi Prejmer (Tartilleri) cu toate veniturile, drepturile şi cele ce ţin de ele, ne precizează istoricul NIcolae Penee, direcotul Muzeului Judeţan de Istorie Braşov.Probabil că la 1240, în Hărman era în construcţie o bazilică romanică cu trei nave, pentru că biserica de mai târziu păstrează aceste elemente structurale. În ansamblu, interiorul bisericii este eterogen din punct de vedere arhitectonic, iar un element inedit îl constituie cămările de provizii ridicate deasupra colateralelor. Accesul spre cămări se făcea cu ajutorul unor scări mobile. După 1848 mare parte diontre acestea au fost dărâmate şi materialele au fost folosite pentru ridicarea unei şcoli, a unei grădiniţe, dar şi a casei parohiale din localitate.Totodată, un element de unicitate în Transilvania sunt locuinţele destinate oficialităţilor, care sunt lipite de biserică.Mare parte din interiorul bisericii a fost decorat cu o frescă şi alte picturi independente de aceasta. Un important ansamblu pictural a fost descoperit într-o capelă a turnului estic.Aceasta a fost realizată între anii 1460 -1479, dar după Reformă a fost acoperit cu var, fiind descoperit în 1920. Ansamblul îmbină pictura apuseană cu cea bizantină. Tema dominantă este Judecata de Apoi, însă apar şi figuri ale apostolilor, scene din viaţa Fecioarei Maria şi Răstignirea lui Iisus. Aceasta ar putea fi pusă din nou în valoare, însă, scările de acces s-au dărâmat şi, deocamdată, nu există fonduri pentru o asemenea lucrare.Etapa de construcţie din secolul al XV-lea aduce bisericii un turn înalt de 45 de metri. Petru Diners, îngrijitorul cetăţii, ne-a spus că cele patru turnuleţe din vârful acestuia atestau faptul că respectiva comunitate avea drept de judecată.Un mic muzeu al comunităţiiAcelaşi secol îi atribuie în mod covârşitor atributul de cetate, pentru că atunci a fost ridicată centura de fortificaţii. Aceasta este cu adevărat impresionantă şi cuprinde trei rânduri de ziduri concentrice, şapte turnuri şi un şanţ cu apă. Zidul exterior, cel mai scund, avea 4,5 metri înălţime. El stabilea limita şanţului cu apă şi proteja baza următorului zid. Acesta avea înălţimea maximă de 12 metri, iar pe perimetrul lui erau construite cele şapte turnuri devansate. Pe latura nordică, învecinată cu o mlaştină, zidul este ceva mai scund. Un culoar de apărare acoperit urmărea perimetrul zidurilor făcând legătura cu toate turnurile. Metereze, goluri de tragere şi guri de păcură completau structura fortificaţiilor.Intrarea este întărită cu o barbacană. Deasupra acesteia stătea Turnul Măcelarilor. Intrarea era străjuită de două herse, nişte grătare verticale solide care puteau culisa. Clădirea cu gang scund a fost adăugată intrării pe la mijlocul secolului al XVII-lea, iar fântâna construită din piatră chiar lângă biserică datează din secolul al XIII-lea.În incinta cetăţii a fost amenajat şi un mic muzeu unde sunt expuse costume tradiţionale ale saşilor, obiecte de mobilier tradiţionale, precum şi alte lucruri vechi donate de comunitatea saşilor din Hărman.
„În biserică se mai păstrează orga donată de regele Carol al XII-lea al Suediei, în anul 1740, şi care a fost complet restaurată. Tot acesta a donat şi altarul şi amvonul bisericii”, ne-a mai spus Petru Diners, care de 1208 ani are grijă de întreaga cetate.
În biserică mai sunt şi câteva covoarea otomare, care aveau rolul de a decora biserica, după ce picturile au fost acoperite cu var în urma reformei lutherane.Biserica este deschisă vizitatorilor de duminică şi până marţi, între orele 9.00 şi 17.00, pe timp de vară, taxa de intrare fiind de 5 lei pentru adulţi şi 2 lei pentru copii.
Citeste mai mult: adev.ro/nxn632
Dedicated in 1260 in the presence of King Louis IX, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Chartres is one of the most influential examples of High Gothic architecture. The main structure was built between 1194 and 1220 and replaced a 12th-century church—of which only the crypt, the base, and the western facade remain. Recognized by its imposing spires, the cathedral is known for its stained-glass windows and Renaissance choir screen. It is also home to the Sancta Camisa, which is what? More… Discuss
Published on Nov 1, 2013
BUILDING THE GREATEST CATHEDRALS (Documentary) History/Architect/Religion
Cathedrals is a Christian church which contains the seat of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate.Although the word “cathedral” is sometimes loosely applied, churches with the function of “cathedral” occur specifically and only in those denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and some Lutheran and Methodist churches. In the Greek Orthodox Church, the terms kathedrikos naos (literally: “cathedral shrine”) is sometimes used for the church at which an archbishop or “metropolitan” presides. The term “metropolis” (literally “mother city”) is used more commonly than “diocese” to signify an area of governance within the church.
The word cathedral is derived from the Latin word cathedra (“seat” or “chair”), and refers to the presence of the bishop’s or archbishop’s chair or throne. In the ancient world, the chair was the symbol of a teacher and thus of the bishop’s role as teacher, and also of an official presiding as a magistrate and thus of the bishop’s role in governing a diocese.
Often called “the seat of international law,” the Peace Palace houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law, and the International Court of Justice, which is the primary judicial body of the United Nations. The palace was conceived in the early 20th century and was funded by American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. To show their support for the project, many nations sent gifts for use or display in the palace, including what items? More… Discuss
Activists say ISIS destroys first-century temple at ancient Palmyra site http://t.co/eWAfTmFIHU pic.twitter.com/lTua7d0Kx9
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 24, 2015
|Republic of Peru
|Motto: “Firme y feliz por la unión” (Spanish)
“Firm and Happy for the Union”
Gran Sello del Estado (Spanish)
and largest city
|Ethnic groups (2013)|
|Government||Unitary presidential constitutional republic|
|–||Prime Minister||Pedro Cateriano|
|Independence from the Kingdom of Spain|
|–||Declared||28 July 1821|
|–||Consolidated||9 December 1824|
|–||Recognized||2 May 1866|
|–||Total||1,285,216 km2 (20th)
496,225 sq mi
|–||2015 estimate||31,151,643 (41st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2015 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2015 estimate|
|Gini (2012)|| 45.3
medium · 35th
|HDI (2014)|| 0.737
high · 82nd
|Currency||Nuevo sol (PEN)|
|Time zone||PET (UTC−5)|
|Date format||dd.mm.yyyy (CE)|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||PE|
|a.||Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages are co-official in the areas where they predominate.|
Peru (i/pəˈruː/; Spanish: Perú [peˈɾu]; Quechua: Piruw [pɪɾʊw]; Aymara: Piruw [pɪɾʊw]), officially the Republic of Peru (Spanish: República del Perú (help·info)), is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is an extremely biodiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.
Peruvian territory was home to ancient cultures spanning from the Norte Chico civilization in Caral, one of the oldest in the world, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a Viceroyalty with its capital in Lima, which included most of its South American colonies. Ideas of political autonomy later spread throughout Spanish America and Peru gained its independence, which was formally proclaimed in 1821. After the battle of Ayacucho, three years after proclamation, Peru ensured its independence. After achieving independence, the country remained in recession and kept a low military profile until an economic rise based on the extraction of raw and maritime materials struck the country, which ended shortly before the war of the Pacific. Subsequently, the country has undergone changes in government from oligarchic to democratic systems. Peru has gone through periods of political unrest and internal conflict as well as periods of stability and economic upswing.
Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. It is a developing country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 25.8 percent. Its main economic activities include mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.
The Peruvian population, estimated at 30.4 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.
The earliest evidences of human presence in Peruvian territory have been dated to approximately 9,000 BC. Andean societies were based on agriculture, using techniques such as irrigation and terracing; camelid husbandry and fishing were also important. Organization relied on reciprocity and redistribution because these societies had no notion of market or money. The oldest known complex society in Peru, the Norte Chico civilization, flourished along the coast of the Pacific Ocean between 3,000 and 1,800 BC. These early developments were followed by archaeological cultures that developed mostly around the coastal and Andean regions throughout Peru. The Cupisnique culture which flourished from around 1000 to 200 BC along what is now Peru’s Pacific Coast was an example of early pre-Incan culture. The Chavín culture that developed from 1500 to 300 BC was probably more of a religious than a political phenomenon, with their religious centre in Chavin de Huantar. After the decline of the Chavin culture around the beginning of the Christian millennium, a series of localized and specialized cultures rose and fell, both on the coast and in the highlands, during the next thousand years. On the coast, these included the civilizations of the Paracas, Nazca, Wari, and the more outstanding Chimu and Mochica. The Mochica who reached their apogee in the first millennium AD were renowned for their irrigation system which fertilized their arid terrain, their sophisticated ceramic pottery, their lofty buildings, and clever metalwork. The Chimu were the great city builders of pre-Inca civilization; as loose confederation of cities scattered along the coast of northern Peru and southern Ecuador, the Chimu flourished from about 1150 to 1450. Their capital was at Chan Chan outside of modern-day Trujillo. In the highlands, both the Tiahuanaco culture, near Lake Titicaca in both Peru and Bolivia, and the Wari culture, near the present-day city of Ayacucho, developed large urban settlements and wide-ranging state systems between 500 and 1000 AD.
In the 15th century, the Incas emerged as a powerful state which, in the span of a century, formed the largest empire in pre-Columbian America with their capital in Cusco. The Incas of Cusco originally represented one of the small and relatively minor ethnic groups, the Quechuas. Gradually, as early as the thirteenth century, they began to expand and incorporate their neighbors. Inca expansion was slow until about the middle of the fifteenth century, when the pace of conquest began to accelerate, particularly under the rule of the great emperor Pachacuti. Under his rule and that of his son, Topa Inca Yupanqui, the Incas came to control upwards of a third of South America, with a population of 9 to 16 million inhabitants under their rule. Pachacuti also promulgated a comprehensive code of laws to govern his far-flung empire, while consolidating his absolute temporal and spiritual authority as the God of the Sun who ruled from a magnificently rebuilt Cusco. From 1438 to 1533, the Incas used a variety of methods, from conquest to peaceful assimilation, to incorporate a large portion of western South America, centered on the Andean mountain ranges, from southern Colombia to Chile, between the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Amazon rainforest in the east. The official language of the empire was Quechua, although hundreds of local languages and dialects were spoken. The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu which can be translated as “The Four Regions” or “The Four United Provinces.” Many local forms of worship persisted in the empire, most of them concerning local sacred Huacas, but the Inca leadership encouraged the worship of Inti, the sun god and imposed its sovereignty above other cults such as that of Pachamama. The Incas considered their King, the Sapa Inca, to be the “child of the sun.”
Atahualpa, the last Sapa Inca became emperor when he defeated and executed his older half-brother Huascar in a civil war sparked by the death of their father, Inca Huayna Capac. In December 1532, a party of conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro defeated and captured the Inca Emperor Atahualpa in the Battle of Cajamarca. The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire was one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. After years of preliminary exploration and military conflicts, it was the first step in a long campaign that took decades of fighting but ended in Spanish victory and colonization of the region known as the Viceroyalty of Peru with its capital at Lima, which became known as “The City of Kings”. The conquest of the Inca Empire led to spin-off campaigns throughout the viceroyalty as well as expeditions towards the Amazon Basin as in the case of Spanish efforts to quell Amerindian resistance. The last Inca resistance was suppressed when the Spaniards annihilated the Neo-Inca State in Vilcabamba in 1572.
The indigenous population dramatically collapsed due to exploitation, socioeconomic change and epidemic diseases introduced by the Spanish. Viceroy Francisco de Toledo reorganized the country in the 1570s with gold and silver mining as its main economic activity and Amerindian forced labor as its primary workforce. With the discovery of the great silver and gold lodes at Potosí (present-day Bolivia) and Huancavelica, the viceroyalty flourished as an important provider of mineral resources. Peruvian bullion provided revenue for the Spanish Crown and fueled a complex trade network that extended as far as Europe and the Philippines. Because of lack of available work force, African slaves were added to the labor population. The expansion of a colonial administrative apparatus and bureaucracy paralleled the economic reorganization. With the conquest started the spread of Christianity in South America; most people were forcefully converted to Catholicism, taking only a generation to convert the population. They built churches in every city and replaced some of the Inca temples with churches, such as the Coricancha in the city of Cusco. The church employed the Inquisition, making use of torture to ensure that newly converted Catholics did not stray to other religions or beliefs. Peruvian Catholicism follows the syncretism found in many Latin American countries, in which religious native rituals have been integrated with Christian celebrations. In this endeavor, the church came to play an important role in the acculturation of the natives, drawing them into the cultural orbit of the Spanish settlers.
By the 18th century, declining silver production and economic diversification greatly diminished royal income. In response, the Crown enacted the Bourbon Reforms, a series of edicts that increased taxes and partitioned the Viceroyalty. The new laws provoked Túpac Amaru II‘s rebellion and other revolts, all of which were suppressed. As a result of these and other changes, the Spaniards and their creole successors came to monopolize control over the land, seizing many of the best lands abandoned by the massive native depopulation. However, the Spanish did not resist the Portuguese expansion of Brazil across the meridian. The Treaty of Tordesillas was rendered meaningless between 1580 and 1640 while Spain controlled Portugal. The need to ease communication and trade with Spain led to the split of the viceroyalty and the creation of new viceroyalties of New Granada and Rio de la Plata at the expense of the territories that formed the viceroyalty of Peru; this reduced the power, prominence and importance of Lima as the viceroyal capital and shifted the lucrative Andean trade to Buenos Aires and Bogotá, while the fall of the mining and textile production accelerated the progressive decay of the Viceroyalty of Peru.
Eventually, the viceroyalty would dissolve, as with much of the Spanish empire, when challenged by national independence movements at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These movements led to the formation of the majority of modern-day countries of South America in the territories that at one point or another had constituted the Viceroyalty of Peru. The conquest and colony brought a mix of cultures and ethnicities that did not exist before the Spanish conquered the Peruvian territory. Even though many of the Inca traditions were lost or diluted, new customs, traditions and knowledge were added, creating a rich mixed Peruvian culture.
In the early 19th century, while most of South America was swept by wars of independence, Peru remained a royalist stronghold. As the elite vacillated between emancipation and loyalty to the Spanish Monarchy, independence was achieved only after the occupation by military campaigns of José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar.
The economic crises, the loss of power of Spain in Europe, the war of independence in North America and native uprisings all contributed to a favorable climate to the development of emancipating ideas among the criollo population in South America. However, the criollo oligarchy in Peru enjoyed privileges and remained loyal to the Spanish Crown. The liberation movement started in Argentina where autonomous juntas were created as a result of the loss of authority of the Spanish government over its colonies.
After fighting for the independence of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, José de San Martín created the Army of the Andes and crossed the Andes in 21 days, a great accomplishment in military history. Once in Chile he joined forces with Chilean army General Bernardo O’Higgins and liberated the country in the battles of Chacabuco and Maipú in 1818. On 7 September 1820, a fleet of eight warships arrived in the port of Paracas under the command of general Jose de San Martin and Thomas Cochrane, who was serving in the Chilean Navy. Immediately on 26 October they took control of the town of Pisco. San Martin settled in Huacho on 12 November, where he established his headquarters while Cochrane sailed north blockading the port of Callao in Lima. At the same time in the north, Guayaquil was occupied by rebel forces under the command of Gregorio Escobedo. Because Peru was the stronghold of the Spanish government in South America, San Martin’s strategy to liberate Peru was to use diplomacy. He sent representatives to Lima urging the Viceroy that Peru be granted independence, however all negotiations proved unsuccessful.
The Viceroy of Peru, Joaquin de la Pazuela named Jose de la Serna commander-in-chief of the loyalist army to protect Lima from the threatened invasion of San Martin. On 29 January, de la Serna organized a coup against de la Pazuela which was recognized by Spain and he was named Viceroy of Peru. This internal power struggle contributed to the success of the liberating army. In order to avoid a military confrontation San Martin met the newly appointed viceroy, Jose de la Serna, and proposed to create a constitutional monarchy, a proposal that was turned down. De la Serna abandoned the city and on 12 July 1821 San Martin occupied Lima and declared Peruvian independence on 28 July 1821. He created the first Peruvian flag. Alto Peru (Bolivia) remained as a Spanish stronghold until the army of Simón Bolívar liberated it three years later. Jose de San Martin was declared Protector of Peru. Peruvian national identity was forged during this period, as Bolivarian projects for a Latin American Confederation floundered and a union with Bolivia proved ephemeral.
Simon Bolivar launched his campaign from the north liberating the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the Battles of Carabobo in 1821 and Pichincha a year later. In July 1822 Bolivar and San Martin gathered in the Guayaquil Conference. Bolivar was left in charge of fully liberating Peru while San Martin retired from politics after the first parliament was assembled. The newly founded Peruvian Congress named Bolivar dictator of Peru giving him the power to organize the military.
With the help of Antonio José de Sucre they defeated the larger Spanish army in the Battle of Junín on 6 August 1824 and the decisive Battle of Ayacucho on 9 December of the same year, consolidating the independence of Peru and Alto Peru. Alto Peru was later established as Bolivia. During the early years of the Republic, endemic struggles for power between military leaders caused political instability.
Between the 1840s and 1860s, Peru enjoyed a period of stability under the presidency of Ramón Castilla through increased state revenues from guano exports. However, by the 1870s, these resources had been depleted, the country was heavily indebted, and political in-fighting was again on the rise. Peru embarked on a railroad-building program that helped but also bankrupted the country. In 1879, Peru entered the War of the Pacific which lasted until 1884. Bolivia invoked its alliance with Peru against Chile. The Peruvian Government tried to mediate the dispute by sending a diplomatic team to negotiate with the Chilean government, but the committee concluded that war was inevitable. Chile declared war on 5 April 1879. Almost five years of war ended with the loss of the department of Tarapacá and the provinces of Tacna and Arica, in the Atacama region. Two outstanding military leaders throughout the war were Francisco Bolognesi and Miguel Grau. Originally Chile committed to a referendum for the cities of Arica and Tacna to be held years later, in order to self determine their national affiliation. However, Chile refused to apply the Treaty, and neither of the countries could determine the statutory framework. After the War of the Pacific, an extraordinary effort of rebuilding began. The government started to initiate a number of social and economic reforms in order to recover from the damage of the war. Political stability was achieved only in the early 1900s.
Internal struggles after the war were followed by a period of stability under the Civilista Party, which lasted until the onset of the authoritarian regime of Augusto B. Leguía. The Great Depression caused the downfall of Leguía, renewed political turmoil, and the emergence of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA). The rivalry between this organization and a coalition of the elite and the military defined Peruvian politics for the following three decades. A final peace treaty in 1929, signed between Peru and Chile called the Treaty of Lima, returned Tacna to Peru. Between 1932 and 1933, Peru was engulfed in a year-long war with Colombia over a territorial dispute involving the Amazonas department and its capital Leticia. Later, in 1941, Peru became involved in the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War, after which the Rio Protocol sought to formalize the boundary between those two countries. In a military coup on 29 October 1948, Gen. Manuel A. Odria became president. Odría’s presidency was known as the Ochenio. Momentarily pleasing the oligarchy and all others on the right, but followed a populist course that won him great favor with the poor and lower classes. A thriving economy allowed him to indulge in expensive but crowd-pleasing social policies. At the same time, however, civil rights were severely restricted and corruption was rampant throughout his régime. Odría was succeeded by Manuel Prado Ugarteche. However, widespread allegations of fraud prompted the Peruvian military to depose Prado and install a military junta, led by Ricardo Pérez Godoy. Godoy ran a short transitional government and held new elections in 1963, which were won by Fernando Belaúnde Terry who assumed presidency until 1968. Belaúnde was recognized for his commitment to the democratic process. In 1968, the Armed Forces, led by General Juan Velasco Alvarado, staged a coup against Belaúnde. Alvarado’s regime undertook radical reforms aimed at fostering development, but failed to gain widespread support. In 1975, General Francisco Morales Bermúdez forcefully replaced Velasco, paralyzed reforms, and oversaw the reestablishment of democracy.
Peru engaged in a brief successful conflict with Ecuador in the Paquisha War as a result of territorial dispute between the two countries. After the country experienced chronic inflation, the Peruvian currency, the sol, was replaced by the Inti in mid-1985, which itself was replaced by the nuevo sol in July 1991, at which time the new sol had a cumulative value of one billion old soles. The per capita annual income of Peruvians fell to $720 (below the level of 1960) and Peru’s GDP dropped 20% at which national reserves were a negative $900 million. The economic turbulence of the time acerbated social tensions in Peru and partly contributed to the rise of violent rebel rural insurgent movements, like Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and MRTA, which caused great havoc throughout the country. Concerned about the economy, the increasing terrorist threat from Sendero Luminoso and MRTA, and allegations of official corruption, Alberto Fujimori assumed presidency in 1990. Fujimori implemented drastic measures that caused inflation to drop from 7,650% in 1990 to 139% in 1991. Faced with opposition to his reform efforts, Fujimori dissolved Congress in the auto-golpe (“self-coup”) of 5 April 1992. He then revised the constitution; called new congressional elections; and implemented substantial economic reform, including privatization of numerous state-owned companies, creation of an investment-friendly climate, and sound management of the economy. Fujimori’s administration was dogged by insurgent groups, most notably Sendero Luminoso, which carried out terrorist campaigns across the country throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Fujimori cracked down on the insurgents and was successful in largely quelling them by the late 1990s, but the fight was marred by atrocities committed by both the Peruvian security forces and the insurgents: the Barrios Altos massacre and La Cantuta massacre by Government paramilitary groups, and the bombings of Tarata and Frecuencia Latina by Sendero Luminoso. Those incidents subsequently came to be seen as symbols of the human rights violations committed during the last years of violence.
During that time in early 1995, once again Peru and Ecuador clashed in the Cenepa War, but in 1998 the governments of both nations signed a peace treaty that clearly demarcated the international boundary between them. In November 2000, Fujimori resigned from office and went into a self-imposed exile, avoiding prosecution for human rights violations and corruption charges by the new Peruvian authorities. Since the end of the Fujimori regime, Peru has tried to fight corruption while sustaining economic growth.
On 5 June 2011, Ollanta Humala was elected President.
Peru is a Presidential representative democratic republic with a multi-party system. Under the current constitution, the President is the head of state and government; he or she is elected for five years and can only seek re-election after standing down for at least one full term and during his term. The President designates the Prime Minister and, with his or her advice, the rest of the Council of Ministers. Congress is unicameral with 130 members elected for five-year terms. Bills may be proposed by either the executive or the legislative branch; they become law after being passed by Congress and promulgated by the President. The judiciary is nominally independent, though political intervention into judicial matters has been common throughout history and arguably continues today.
The Peruvian government is directly elected, and voting is compulsory for all citizens aged 18 to 70. Congress is currently composed of Gana Perú (47 seats), Fuerza 2011 (37 seats), Alianza Parlamentaria (20 seats), Alianza por el Gran Cambio (12 seats), Solidaridad Nacional (8 seats) and Concertación Parlamentaria (6 seats).
Peruvian foreign relations have historically been dominated by border conflicts with neighboring countries, most of which were settled during the 20th century. Recently, Peru disputed its maritime limits with Chile in the Pacific Ocean. Peru is an active member of several regional blocs and one of the founders of the Andean Community of Nations. It is also a participant in international organizations such as the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar served as UN Secretary General from 1981 to 1991. Former President Fujimori’s tainted re-election to a third term in June 2000 strained Peru’s relations with the United States and with many Latin American and European countries, but relations improved with the installation of an interim government in November 2000 and the inauguration of Alejandro Toledo in July 2001 after free and fair elections.
Peru is planning full integration into the Andean Free Trade Area. In addition, Peru is a standing member of APEC and the World Trade Organization, and is an active participant in negotiations toward a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
The Peruvian Armed Forces are the military services of Peru, comprising independent Army, Navy and Air Force components. Their primary mission is to safeguard the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. As a secondary mission they participate in economic and social development as well as in civil defense tasks. Conscription was abolished in 1999 and replaced by voluntary military service. The armed forces are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense and to the President as Commander-in-Chief.
The National Police of Peru is often classified as a part of the armed forces. Although in fact it has a different organisation and a wholly civil mission, its training and activities over more than two decades as an anti-terrorist force have produced markedly military characteristics, giving it the appearance of a virtual fourth military service with significant land, sea and air capabilities and approximately 140,000 personnel. The Peruvian armed forces report through the Ministry of Defense, while the National Police of Peru reports through the Ministry of Interior.
Peru is divided into 25 regions and the province of Lima. Each region has an elected government composed of a president and council that serve four-year terms. These governments plan regional development, execute public investment projects, promote economic activities, and manage public property. The province of Lima is administered by a city council. The goal of devolving power to regional and municipal governments was among others to improve popular participation. NGOs played an important role in the decentralisation process and still influence local politics.
Jones was one of England’s first great architects. After studying in Italy, he brought Renaissance architecture to England. His best known buildings are the Queen’s House at Greenwich, London, and the Banqueting House at Whitehall, which is often considered his greatest achievement. For his design of Covent Garden, London’s first square, Jones is credited with the introduction of town planning in England. Jones was also involved in stage design for theater and is credited with what innovations? More… Discuss
One of the greatest architects of the late 18th century, Adam was a Scottish architect and designer whose work influenced the development of Western architecture both in Europe and North America. Along with his brother James, he developed the Adam style, an essentially decorative style of architecture that is most remembered for its application in interiors and is characterized by contrasting room shapes and delicate Classical ornaments. What are some of Adam’s most famous projects? More… Discuss
“Ebullient, Cleansing, Awakening…
Refreshing, Graceful, Water …
The Well Spring of Life”
.- A four-year civil war in Syria has left a mounting death toll and displaced millions of persons, but one bishop is staying to rebuild the Church in Aleppo, in the northwest corner of the country.
“The Church is living,” Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo told CNA earlier this month. “Here, I am building, I am restoring, I am maintaining a lively Church in which every stone is a human being and who can be a witness, a testimony to the world.”
“I wondered if I am not copying St. Francis when he was working to rebuild the Church. It was crazy, nobody thought that he would succeed,” the archbishop noted. “And he succeeded because the Lord was with him.”
The four-year Syrian conflict being fought among the Assad regime and various rebel factions has devastated the country. More than 3.9 million refugees have fled to surrounding countries, and around 8 million Syrians are believed to have been internally displaced. The war’s death toll is currently around 220,000.
Outside countries and entities have taken advantage of the civil war, profiting from it through the arms trade or waiting for Syria to collapse so to move in and take power in the vacuum. Pope Francis has spoken out against the arms trade here and has been criticized for it, Archbishop Jeanbart noted.
Aleppo endured a terrible two-month siege by rebel forces last year. Its infrastructure has been devastated, and its residents endure great poverty.
Those who chose to stay face a myriad of challenges. Houses, businesses, schools, and hospitals have been damaged or destroyed in the war, leaving fathers without work, families without shelter, the sick without medical care, and children without education.
Thus it is an uphill battle to convince residents to stay and not re-settle elsewhere, Archbishop Jeanbart admitted. Syrians see the U.S. on television and think it a “paradise,” and want to move there. He has to convince them of the unseen difficulties that such a move might bring.
Words are not enough to convince people, however. The Church must act to help Christians who stay so once peace comes – and it will, the archbishop maintains – a stable Christian community is in place and Christians can have a seat at the peace negotiations.
“We want that we may have our rights,” he said. “We want that everybody may feel comfortable in the country.”
“What we want to do, and what I am looking for,” Archbishop Jeanbart said, “is to go to another position, a position looking positively to the future, trying to give them hope that the future of their country may be good, and will be better if they work and if they prepare themselves.”
The Church in Aleppo is working to meet the local needs. It provides thousands of baskets of food to needy families, 1,000 scholarships for students to attend Catholic schools, stipends to almost 500 fathers who have lost their business in the war, heating to houses in the wintertime, rebuilding homes damaged in the war and medical care for the needy since many government hospitals were destroyed in the fighting.
It’s a daunting task for an archbishop in his seventies. He admitted to initially wondering how he could do it.
“But when I began working on it, I felt that I was 50. Like if the Lord is pushing me to go ahead and helping me to realize this mission,” he said.
“I invest myself entirely. I have decided the consecrate the rest of my life to do that.”
Archbishop Jeanbart has been assisted in his efforts to serve the people of Aleppo by the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. The charity has ensured a six month supply of medical goods for the city, and paid for repairs and fuel costs at the city’s schools, in addition to the rest of its work throughout Syria.
Archbishop Jeanbart maintained that another reason Christians need to stay in Syria is to be a light to people of other religions, especially Muslims. If the Christians leave, no one will be left to preach the Gospel in Syria.
“Perhaps the time has come to tell these people ‘Come, Christ is waiting for you.’ And many Muslims now, I must say, are wondering where should be their place? Are they in the right place? Are they perhaps supposed to rethink and review their choices? It will be wonderful if I told them we may have the freedom and the freedom of faith which would allow anyone to make his own choice freely.”
Critics of the Church in Syria have accused it of not immediately supporting the rebels in the name of freedom and democracy, the archbishop noted, and this is a false mischaracterization.
Christians are wary of regime change because they have seen what has happened in surrounding countries where fundamentalists took power in the Arab Spring and religious pluralism suffered as a result: there is “a feeling among Christians that they are afraid that the government may change and with the change of the government, they may lose their freedom … they are afraid to lose their freedom to express and to live their Christian life.”
He cited the success of the Islamic State, which in the power vacuum caused by the Syrian civil war has established a caliphate in eastern Syria and western Iraq where “many Christians were killed because they were Christian.”
Christians in Syria are, in fact, supportive of freedom and democracy, he said.
“They want to have a democratic regime where they may have all their freedom and where they may live tranquil but at the same time happy in the country,” he said.
“In any settlement,” he maintained, “the Christian must have the rights to be Christian in this country. And they should not become Muslims because the regime will be Muslim.”
“We want to have our rights and to live as free Christians in our country,” he said.
Rosenborg Castle is situated at the center of the Danish capital, Copenhagen. It was built in 1606 in the Dutch Renaissance style and went through several expansions to arrive at its present condition in 1624. It was used by Danish regents as a royal residence until around 1710 and was opened to the public in 1838. Today, it is popular with tourists who flock to the castle to view the Danish Crown Regalia. How many people visit the Rosenborg Castle Garden every year? More… Discuss
The architecture of cathedrals, basilicas and abbey churches is characterised by the buildings’ large scale and follows one of several branching traditions of form, function and style that all ultimately derive from the Early Christian architectural traditions established in the Constantinian period.
Cathedrals in particular, as well as many abbey churches and basilicas, have certain complex structural forms that are found less often in parish churches. They also tend to display a higher level of contemporary architectural style and the work of accomplished craftsmen, and occupy a status both ecclesiastical and social that an ordinary parish church does not have. Such a cathedral or great church is generally one of the finest buildings within its region and is a focus of local pride. Many cathedrals and basilicas, and a number of abbey churches are among the world’s most renowned works of architecture. These include St. Peter’s Basilica, Notre Dame de Paris, Cologne Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral, Prague Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral, the Basilica of St Denis, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Basilica of San Vitale, St Mark’s Basilica, Westminster Abbey, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Washington National Cathedral, Gaudí’s incomplete Sagrada Familia and the ancient church of Hagia Sophia, now a museum.
The earliest large churches date from Late Antiquity. As Christianity and the construction of churches and cathedrals spread throughout the world, their manner of building was dependent upon local materials and local techniques. Different styles of architecture developed and their fashion spread, carried by the establishment of monastic orders, by the posting of bishops from one region to another and by the travelling of master stonemasons who served as architects. The styles of the great church buildings are successively known as Early Christian, Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, various Revival styles of the late 18th to early 20th centuries and Modern. Overlaid on each of the academic styles are the regional characteristics. Some of these characteristics are so typical of a particular country or region that they appear, regardless of style, in the architecture of churches designed many centuries apart.
Among the world’s largest and most architecturally significant churches, many were built to serve as cathedrals or abbey churches. Among the Roman Catholic churches, many have been raised to the status of “basilica”. The categories below are not exclusive. A church can be an abbey, serve as a cathedral, and also be a basilica. Among the great Protestant churches, some, such as Ulm Minster have never served as any of these. Others, such as Westminster Abbey, are former abbeys and cathedrals. Neither Orthodox or Protestant churches are designated as “basilicas” in the Catholic sense. The term “cathedral” in Orthodoxy and Protestantism is sometimes loosely applied to a large church that is not a bishop’s principal church. Some significant churches are termed “temples” or “oratories”.
Among these types of buildings the cathedral is probably the best known, to the extent that the word “cathedral” is sometimes mistakenly applied as a generic term for any very large and imposing church. In fact, a cathedral does not have to be large or imposing, although many cathedrals are. The cathedral takes its name from the word cathedra, or “bishop’s throne” (in Latin: ecclesia cathedralis). A cathedral has a specific ecclesiastical role and administrative purpose as the seat of a bishop.
The role of bishop as administrator of local clergy came into being in the 1st century. It was two hundred years before the first cathedral building was constructed in Rome. With the legalising of Christianity in 313 by the Emperor Constantine I, churches were built rapidly. Five very large churches were founded in Rome and, though much altered or rebuilt, still exist today, including the Cathedral of Rome which is San Giovanni in Laterano and also the better-known St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
The architectural form which cathedrals took was largely dependent upon their ritual function as the seat of a bishop. Cathedrals are places where, in common with other Christian churches, the Eucharist is celebrated, the Bible is read, the Order of Service is said or sung, prayers are offered and sermons are preached. But in a cathedral, in general, these things are done with a greater amount of elaboration, pageantry and procession than in lesser churches. This elaboration is particularly present during important liturgical rites performed by a Bishop, such as Confirmation and Ordination. A cathedral is often the site of rituals associated with local or national Government, the Bishops performing the tasks of all sorts from the induction of a mayor to the coronation of a monarch. Some of these tasks are apparent in the form and fittings of particular cathedrals.
The church that has the function of cathedral is not always a large building. It might be as small as Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. But frequently, the cathedral, along with some of the abbey churches, was the largest building in any region.
There were a number of reasons for this:
The term basilica, when applied to a church, may be used in two ways. In architectural parlance, it signifies a building that has similarities to the basilica structures of Ancient Rome, being of longitudinal rather than central plan, having a central nave with an aisle on either side separated by a colonnade, and an apse at one end.
In the ecclesiastical sense, a basilica is a church that has been designated as such by the pope, and has accordingly received certain privileges. A building that is designated as a basilica might be a cathedral, an abbey, a shrine or a parish church. The four so-called “Major Basilicas” are four churches of Rome of 4th century foundation, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. There are more than 1,500 churches in the world which are designated as “Minor Basilicas”. The reason for such a designation is often that the church is a pilgrimage site and contains the relics of a saint, or an object of religious veneration, such as a supposed fragment of the True Cross. These churches are often large and of considerable architectural significance. They include the Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi; the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem; the Basilica of Our Lady of Fátima, Portugal; the Basilica of Our Lady of Sheshan, Shanghai, the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
An abbey church is one that is, or was in the past, the church of a monastic order. Likewise a friary church is the church of an order of friars. These orders include Benedictines, Cistercians, Augustinians, Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits and many more. Many churches of abbey foundation, are or previously were, part of a monastic complex that includes dormitories, refectory, cloisters, library, chapter house and other such buildings.
In many parts of the world, abbey churches frequently served the local community as well as the monastic community. In regions such as England where the monastic communities were dissolved, the abbey churches, where located in a town, have continued to serve as a parish church. In many areas of Asia and South America, the abbeys are the earliest established churches, with the monastic communities acting initially as missionaries to the local people. Well-known abbey churches include Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan, Italy; Westminster Abbey and Beverley Minster in England, the Abbaye aux Hommes and Abbey of St. Denis in France, Melk Abbey in Austria, Great Lavra on Mt Athos in Greece and Malate Church in Manila, Philippines.
The church building grew out of a number of features of the Ancient Roman period:
From the first to the early fourth centuries most Christian communities worshipped in private homes, often secretly. Some Roman churches, such as the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, are built directly over the houses where early Christians worshipped. Other early Roman churches are built on the sites of Christian martyrdom or at the entrance to catacombs where Christians were buried. The first very large Christian churches were built in Rome and have their origins in the early 4th century, when the Emperor Constantine first legalised Christianity. Several of Rome’s largest churches, notably Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano, have their foundation in the 4th century. It is San Giovanni (St John’s) and not the more famous St. Peter’s Basilica which is the cathedral church of Rome. St Peter’s is also of 4th century foundation, though nothing of that appears above the ground.
When Early Christian Communities began to build churches they drew on one particular feature of the houses that preceded them, the atrium, or courtyard with a colonnade surrounding it. Most of these atriums have disappeared. A fine example remains at the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome and another was built in the Romanesque period at Sant’Ambrogio, Milan. The descendants of these atria may be seen in the large square cloisters that can be found beside many cathedrals, and in the huge colonnaded squares or piazze at the Basilicas of St Peter’s in Rome and St Mark’s in Venice and the Camposanto (Holy Field) at the Cathedral of Pisa.
Early church architecture did not draw its form from Roman temples, as the latter did not have large internal spaces where worshipping congregations could meet. It was the Roman basilica, used for meetings, markets and courts of law that provided a model for the large Christian church and that gave its name to the Christian basilica. Both Roman basilicas and Roman bath houses had at their core a large vaulted building with a high roof, braced on either side by a series of lower chambers or a wide arcaded passage. An important feature of the Roman basilica was that at either end it had a projecting exedra, or apse, a semicircular space roofed with a half-dome. This was where the magistrates sat to hold court. It passed into the church architecture of the Roman world and was adapted in different ways as a feature of cathedral architecture.
The earliest large churches, such as the Cathedral of San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, consisted of a single-ended basilica with one aspidal end and a courtyard, or atrium, at the other end. As Christian liturgy developed, processions became part of the proceedings. The processional door was that which led from the furthest end of the building, while the door most used by the public might be that central to one side of the building, as in a basilica of law. This is the case in many cathedrals and churches.
The interior of Sant’Apollinare in Classe
As numbers of clergy increased, the small apse which contained the altar, or table upon which the sacramental bread and wine were offered in the rite of Holy Communion, was not sufficient to accommodate them. A raised dais called a bema formed part of many large basilican churches. In the case of St. Peter’s Basilica and San Paolo fuori le Mura (St Paul’s outside the Walls) in Rome, this bema extended laterally beyond the main meeting hall, forming two arms so that the building took on the shape of a T with a projecting apse. From this beginning, the plan of the church developed into the so-called Latin Cross which is the shape of most Western Cathedrals and large churches. The arms of the cross are called the transept.
One of the influences on church architecture was the mausoleum. The mausoleum of a noble Roman was a square or circular domed structure which housed a sarcophagus. Constantine the Great built for his daughter Constantina a mausoleum which has a circular central space surrounded by a lower ambulatory or passageway separated by a colonnade.
This burial place became a place of worship, Santa Costanza, as well as a tomb. It is one of the earliest church buildings that was centrally, rather than longitudinally planned. Constantine was also responsible for the building of the circular, mausoleum-like Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which in turn influenced the plan of a number of buildings, including that constructed in Rome to house the remains of the proto-martyr Saint Stephen, San Stefano Rotondo and the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna.
Ancient circular or polygonal churches are comparatively rare. A small number, such as the Temple Church, London were built during the Crusades in imitation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as isolated examples in England, France and Spain. In Denmark such churches in the Romanesque style are much more numerous. In parts of Eastern Europe there are also round tower-like churches of the Romanesque period but they are generally vernacular architecture and of small scale. Others, like St Martin’s Rotunda at Vishegrad, in the Czech Republic, are finely detailed.
The circular or polygonal form lent itself to those buildings within church complexes that perform a function in which it is desirable for people to stand, or sit around, with a centralised focus, rather than an axial one. In Italy the circular or polygonal form was used throughout the medieval period for baptisteries, while in England it was adapted for chapter houses. In France the aisled polygonal plan was adapted as the eastern terminal and in Spain the same form is often used as a chapel.
Other than Santa Costanza and San Stefano, there was another significant place of worship in Rome that was also circular, the vast Ancient Roman Pantheon, with its numerous statue-filled niches. This too was to become a Christian church and lend its style to the development of Cathedral architecture.
Bjernede Kirke is one of several circular Romanesque churches in Denmark.
Most cathedrals and great churches have a cruciform groundplan. In churches of Western European tradition, the plan is usually longitudinal, in the form of the so-called Latin Cross with a long nave crossed by a transept. The transept may be as strongly projecting as at York Minster or not project beyond the aisles as at Amiens Cathedral.
Many of the earliest churches of Byzantium have a longitudinal plan. At Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, there is a central dome, framed on one axis by two high semi-domes and on the other by low rectangular transept arms, the overall plan being square. This large church was to influence the building of many later churches, even into the 21st century. A square plan in which the nave, chancel and transept arms are of equal length forming a Greek cross, the crossing generally surmounted by a dome became the common form in the Orthodox Church, with many churches throughout Eastern Europe and Russia being built in this way. Churches of the Greek Cross form often have a narthex or vestibule which stretches across the front of the church. This type of plan was also to later play a part in the development of church architecture in Western Europe, most notably in Bramante‘s plan for St. Peter’s Basilica.
As described above, the majority of cathedrals and great churches are cruciform in shape with the church having a defined axis. The axis is generally east/west with external emphasis upon the west front, normally the main entrance, and internal emphasis upon the eastern end so that the congregation faces the direction of the coming of Christ. Because it is also the direction of the rising sun, the architectural features of the east end often focus on enhancing interior illumination by the sun. Not every church or cathedral maintains a strict east/west axis, but even in those that do not, the terms East End and West Front are used. Many churches of Rome, notably St Peter’s Basilica, face the opposite direction.
The majority of cathedrals and large churches of the Western European tradition have a high wide nave with a lower aisle separated by an arcade on either side. Occasionally the aisles are as high as the nave, forming a hall church. Many cathedrals have two aisles on either side. Notre Dame de Paris has two aisles and a row of chapels.
In the case of a centrally planned church, the major axis is that between the main door and the altar.
The transept forms the arms of the church building. In English cathedrals of monastic foundation there are often two transepts. The intersection where the nave and transept meet is called the crossing and is often surmounted by a small spire called a flèche, a dome or, particularly in England, a large tower with or without a spire.
There is generally a prominent external feature that rises upwards. It may be a dome, a central tower, two western towers or towers at both ends as at Speyer Cathedral. The towers may be finished with pinnacles or spires or a small dome.
The façade or “west front” is the most ornate part of the exterior with the processional doors, often three in number, and often richly decorated with sculpture, marble or stone tracery. The façade often has a large window, sometimes a rose window or an impressive sculptural group as its central feature.
In the Western European tradition, there are frequently paired towers framing the façade. These towers have their origin in a tradition practised at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. During Holy Week the faithful would process along the Way of the Cross, leading to the Basilica, which in Early Christian times consisted of a domed shrine over the site of the tomb, and a “porch” which had a staircase on either side, supported by a small tower, by which the procession entered and exited. These towers were adopted symbolically, particularly in Romanesque architecture, as corner turrets and flourished in Norman and Gothic architecture as large towers, reaching their height of magnificence at Cologne Cathedral, where they were not completed until the late 19th century.
Notre Dame de Paris, has a Gothic west front in which verticals and horizontals are balanced.
The Spanish Baroque west front of the Romanesque Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
The Gothic west front of Cologne Cathedral was not completed until the 19th century.
The east end is the part of the building which shows the greatest diversity of architectural form. At the eastern end, internally, lies the sanctuary where the altar of the cathedral is located.
The Little Mermaid is a fairy tale by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid who is willing to give up everything to gain the love of a prince and an eternal soul. The story has been adapted into numerous films, TV series, an opera, and a ballet. Who served as the model for the famed Little Mermaid statue that sits on a rock in the Copenhagen harbor? More… Discuss
A pioneer of modern architecture and one of its most influential figures, German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was famous for his use of the minimalist architectural dictum “less is more.” As a young architect in Berlin, he foreshadowed modern architecture with innovative designs for tubular-steel furniture and steel-and-glass skyscrapers, and countless modernist steel-and-glass structures have been influenced by his work. Mies was also known for using what other famous aphorism? More… Discuss
In 1905, photographer Gertrude K?sebier captures the profile of artist and sculputer Auguste Rodin in Meudon, France.
Photo: Library of Congress
The term once characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages, or roughly the 6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness between extinguishing the “light of Rome” after the end of Late Antiquity, and the rise of the Italian Renaissance in the 14th century. This definition is still found in popular use, but increased recognition of the accomplishments of the Middle Ages has led to the label being restricted in application. Since the 20th century, it is frequently applied to the earlier part of the era, the Early Middle Ages (c. 5th–10th century). However, many modern scholars who study the era tend to avoid the term altogether for its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate for any part of the Middle Ages.
The concept of a Dark Age originated with the Italian scholar Petrarch (Francesco Petrarca) in the 1330s, and was originally intended as a sweeping criticism of the character of Late Latin literature. Petrarch regarded the post-Roman centuries as “dark” compared to the light of classical antiquity. Later historians expanded the term to refer to the transitional period between Roman times and the High Middle Ages (c. 11th–13th century), including the lack of Latin literature, and a lack of contemporary written history, general demographic decline, limited building activity and material cultural achievements in general. Later historians and writers picked up the concept, and popular culture has further expanded on it as a vehicle to depict the early Middle Ages as a time of backwardness, extending its pejorative use and expanding its scope.
The term “Dark Ages” originally was intended to denote the entire period between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance; the term “Middle Ages” has a similar motivation, implying an intermediate period between Classical Antiquity and the Modern era. In the 19th century scholars began to recognize the accomplishments made during the period, thereby challenging the image of the Middle Ages as a time of darkness and decay. Now the term is not used by scholars to refer to the entire medieval period; when used, it is generally restricted to the Early Middle Ages.
The rise of archaeology and other specialties in the 20th century has shed much light on the period and offered a more nuanced understanding of its positive developments. Other terms of periodization have come to the fore: Late Antiquity, the Early Middle Ages, and the Great Migrations, depending on which aspects of culture are being emphasized. When modern scholarly study of the Middle Ages arose in the 19th century, the term “Dark Ages” was at first kept, with all its critical overtones. On the rare occasions when the term “Dark Ages” is used by historians today, it is intended to be neutral, namely, to express the idea that the events of the period often seem “dark” because of the scarcity of artistic and cultural output, including historical records, when compared with both earlier and later times.
As an Italian, Petrarch saw the Roman Empire and the classical period as expressions of Italian greatness. He spent much of his time travelling through Europe rediscovering and republishing classic Latin and Greek texts. He wanted to restore the classical Latin language to its former purity. Humanists saw the preceding 900-year period as a time of stagnation. They saw history unfolding, not along the religious outline of Saint Augustine‘s Six Ages of the World, but in cultural (or secular) terms through the progressive developments of classical ideals, literature, and art.
Petrarch wrote that history had two periods: the classic period of the Greeks and Romans, followed by a time of darkness, in which he saw himself as still living. In around 1343, in the conclusion to his epic Africa, he wrote: “My fate is to live among varied and confusing storms. But for you perhaps, if as I hope and wish you will live long after me, there will follow a better age. This sleep of forgetfulness will not last for ever. When the darkness has been dispersed, our descendants can come again in the former pure radiance.” In the 15th century, historians Leonardo Bruni and Flavio Biondo developed a three tier outline of history. They used Petrarch’s two ages, plus a modern, “better age”, which they believed the world had entered. The term “Middle Ages,” in Latin media tempestas (1469) or medium aevum (1604), was later used to describe the period of supposed decline.
During the Protestant Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries, Protestants wrote of the Middle Ages as a period of Catholic corruption. Just as Petrarch’s writing was not an attack on Christianity per se — along with his humanism, he was deeply occupied with the search for God — neither was this an attack on Christianity: it was a drive to restore what Protestants saw as biblical Christianity.
The Magdeburg Centuries was a work of ecclesiastical history compiled by Lutheran scholars and published between 1559 and 1574. Devoting a volume to each century, it covered the first thirteen centuries of Christianity up to 1298. The work was virulently anti-Catholic. Identifying the Papacy as the Antichrist, it painted a “dark” picture of church history after the 5th century, characterizing it as “increments of errors and their corrupting influences”.
In response to the Protestants, Roman Catholics developed a counter-image, depicting the High Middle Ages in particular as a period of social and religious harmony, and not “dark” at all. The most important Catholic reply to the Magdeburg Centuries was the Annales Ecclesiastici by Cardinal Caesar Baronius. Baronius was a trained historian who kept theology in the background and produced a work that the Encyclopædia Britannica in 1911 described as “far surpassing anything before his day” and that Acton regarded as “the greatest history of the Church ever written”. The Annales, covering the first twelve centuries of Christianity up to 1198, was published in twelve volumes between 1588 and 1607. It was in Volume X that Baronius coined the term “dark age” for the period between the end of the Carolingian Empire in 888 and the first inklings of the Gregorian Reform under Pope Clement II in 1046:
The new age (saeculum) which was beginning, for its harshness and barrenness of good could well be called iron, for its baseness and abounding evil leaden, and moreover for its lack of writers (inopia scriptorum) dark (obscurum).
Significantly, Baronius termed the age “dark” because of the paucity of written records capable of throwing light on it for the historian. The “lack of writers” he referred to may be illustrated by comparing the number of volumes in Migne‘s Patrologia Latina containing the work of Latin writers from the 10th century (the heart of the age he called “dark”) with the number of volumes containing the work of writers from the preceding and succeeding centuries. A minority of these writers were historians.
|Century||Migne Volume Nos||Volumes|
Baronius’s “dark age” seems to have struck historians as something they could use, for it was in the 17th century that the terms “dark age” and “dark ages” started to proliferate in the various European languages, with his original Latin term, “saeculum obscurum”, being reserved for the period he had applied it to. But while some historians, following Baronius’s lead, used “dark age” neutrally to refer to a dearth of written records, others, in the manner of the early humanists and Protestants (and later the Enlightenment writers and their successors right up to the present day) used it pejoratively, lapsing into that lack of neutrality and objectivity that has quite spoilt the term for many modern historians.
The first British historian to use the term was most likely Gilbert Burnet, in the form “darker ages”, which appears several times in his work in the last quarter of the 17th century. His earliest use of it seems to have been in 1679 in the “Epistle Dedicatory” to Volume I of The History of the Reformation of the Church of England, where he writes: “The design of the reformation was to restore Christianity to what it was at first, and to purge it of those corruptions, with which it was overrun in the later and darker ages.” He uses it again in 1682 in Volume II of the History, where he dismisses the story of “St George’s fighting with the dragon” as “a legend formed in the darker ages to support the humour of chivalry”. Burnet was a Protestant bishop chronicling how England became Protestant and his use of the term is invariably pejorative.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, in the Age of Enlightenment, many critical thinkers saw religion as antithetical to reason. For them the Middle Ages, or “Age of Faith”, was therefore the polar opposite of the Age of Reason. Kant and Voltaire, among others, were vocal in attacking the religiously dominated Middle Ages as a period of social regress, while Gibbon in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire expressed contempt for the “rubbish of the Dark Ages”. Yet just as Petrarch, seeing himself on the threshold of a “new age”, was criticizing the centuries until his own time, so too were the Enlightenment writers criticizing the centuries until their own. These extended well after Petrarch’s time, since religious domination and conflict were still common into the 17th century and beyond, albeit diminished in scope.
Consequently, an evolution had occurred in at least three ways. Petrarch’s original metaphor of light versus dark had been expanded in time, implicitly at least. Even if the early humanists after him no longer saw themselves living in a dark age, their times were still not light enough for 18th-century writers who saw themselves as living in the real Age of Enlightenment, while the period covered by their own condemnation had been stretched to include what we now call Early Modern times. Additionally, Petrarch’s metaphor of darkness, which he used mainly to deplore what he saw as a lack of secular achievements, was sharpened to take on a more explicitly anti-religious and anti-clerical meaning.
In spite of this, the term “Middle Ages”, used by Biondo and other early humanists after Petrarch, was the name in general use before the 18th century to denote the period until the Renaissance. The earliest recorded use of the English word “medieval” was in 1827. The concept of the Dark Ages was also in use, but by the 18th century, it tended to be confined to the earlier part of this medieval period. The earliest entry for a capitalised “Dark Ages” in the Oxford English Dictionary is a reference in Henry Thomas Buckle‘s History of Civilization in England in 1857. Starting and ending dates varied: the Dark Ages were considered by some to start in 410, by others in 476 when there was no longer an emperor in Rome, and to end about 800, at the time of the Carolingian Renaissance under Charlemagne, or to extend through the rest of the 1st millennium.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Romantics reversed the negative assessment of Enlightenment critics and launched a vogue for medievalism. The word “Gothic” had been a term of opprobrium akin to “Vandal” until a few self-confident mid-18th-century English “Goths” like Horace Walpole initiated the Gothic Revival in the arts. This sparked off an interest in the Middle Ages, which for the following Romantic generation began to take on an idyllic image of the “Age of Faith”. This image, in reaction to a world dominated by Enlightenment rationalism in which reason trumped emotion, expressed a romantic view of a Golden Age of chivalry. The Middle Ages were seen with romantic nostalgia as a period of social and environmental harmony and spiritual inspiration, in contrast to the excesses of the French Revolution and, most of all, to the environmental and social upheavals and sterile utilitarianism of the emerging industrial revolution. The Romantics’ view of these earlier centuries can still be seen in modern-day fairs and festivals celebrating the period with costumes and events.
Just as Petrarch had turned the meaning of light versus darkness, so had the Romantics turned the judgment of Enlightenment critics. However, the period idealized by the Romantics focused largely on what is now known as the High Middle Ages, extending into Early Modern times. In one respect, this was a reversal of the religious aspect of Petrarch’s judgment, since these later centuries were those when the universal power and prestige of the Church was at its height. To many users of the term, the scope of the Dark Ages was becoming divorced from this period, denoting mainly the earlier centuries after the fall of Rome.
Is this the king who made Assyria into a great empire?
This sandstone statue of King Ashurnasirpal II is from the ninth century BC. The eight lines of cuneiform text on his chest reveal his name, titles, and exploits.
The statue was placed in the Temple of Ishtar to remind the goddess Ishtar of the king’s piety. It was actually made of magnesite, and stands on a pedestal of a reddish stone. These unusual stones were probably brought back from a foreign campaign. Kings often boasted of the exotic things they acquired from abroad, not only raw materials and finished goods but also plants and animals.
The king’s hair and beard are shown worn long in the fashion of the Assyrian court at this time. It has been suggested that the Assyrians used false hair and beards, as the Egyptians sometimes did, but there is no evidence for this.
Ashurnasirpal with his long hair and beard holds a sickle in his right hand. The mace in his left hand shows his authority as vice-regent of the supreme god Ashur. The carved cuneiform inscription across his chest proclaims the king’s titles and genealogy, and mentions his expedition westward to the Mediterranean Sea.
In 612 BC the Babylonians and Medes came and destroyed proud Assyria and the Assyrian Empire passed into history. The statue of King Ashurnasirpal II discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology.
“Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations. For he says, “Are not my princes altogether kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, Whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria, As I have done to Samaria and her idols, Shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?”‘ Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.” For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, And by my wisdom, for I am prudent; Also I have removed the boundaries of the people, And have robbed their treasuries; So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.” Isaiah 10:5-13
Detailed Description of the Statue of Ashurnasirpal II
Material – Magnesite
Date: 883-859 BC
Height: 113 cm
Width: 32 cm
Depth: 15 cm
Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), Northern Iraq
Excavated by: Excavated by A.H. Layard
Location: British Museum, London
Item: ANE 118871
Room 6, Assyrian Sculpture
British Museum Excerpt
Statue of Ashurnasirpal II
A rare example of an Assyrian statue in the round
This statue of King Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) was placed in the Temple of Ishtar Sharrat-niphi. It was designed to remind the goddess Ishtar of the king’s piety. It is made of magnesite, and stands on a pedestal of a reddish stone. These unusual stones were probably brought back from a foreign campaign. Kings often boasted of the exotic things they acquired from abroad, not only raw materials and finished goods but also plants and animals.
The king’s hair and beard are shown worn long in the fashion of the Assyrian court at this time. It has been suggested that the Assyrians used false hair and beards, as the Egyptians sometimes did, but there is no evidence for this.
Ashurnasirpal holds a sickle in his right hand, of a kind which gods are sometimes depicted using to fight monsters. The mace in his left hand shows his authority as vice-regent of the supreme god Ashur. The carved cuneiform inscription across his chest proclaims the king’s titles and genealogy, and mentions his expedition westward to the Mediterranean Sea.
The statue was found in the nineteenth century by Henry Layard, the excavator of the temple.
(The British Museum)
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SEATTLE HAD BIG DREAMS.The famed Seattle Spirit provided the money, muscle and moxie for the city’s remarkable transformation from boomtown to metropolis; it also encouraged dreamers — mostly visionaries and a few schemers — who had even grander ideas for the future.
From building skyscrapers to drilling tunnels, cutting away hillsides or bridging the lakes, their great notions soon changed the entire cityscape.
Seattle was not alone in its ambitions, as colossal engineering projects like the Panama Canal gave the world notice of America’s tremendous technological capabilities and “can do” spirit. But on a regional scale, the city’s projects were equally grandiose, if not occasionally outrageous.
Why not dig a ship canal from Elliott Bay to Lake Washington, fill in the lower half of Lake Union for more industrial space or build a giant commuter tunnel under First Hill? And while we’re at it, why not even get rid of all those hills blocking the city’s growth?
As taxpayers and politicians fought over how much it would cost, planners and builders forged ahead to redesign the city. Leading the way was R.H. Thomson, the intense city engineer who oversaw all municipal construction — from sewers and sidewalks to bridges and public buildings. A technical man with a streak of imagination, he let no natural obstacle stand in the way of completing the infrastructure of a great city.
Among the world’s most celebrated artists, Michelangelo was one of the foremost figures of the Renaissance. The marble David, completed before his 30th birthday, is a sculptural masterpiece, and his paintings in the Sistine Chapel are among the most influential frescoes in the history of Western art. A true “Renaissance man,” he also was an architect and poet and wrote hundreds of sonnets and madrigals. Where in the Sistine Chapel is there a disguised self-portrait of Michelangelo? More… Discuss
When it comes to fresh food, there has long been a dividing line between Britain, the United States – or English-speaking countries – and much of the rest of the world. Early and rapid industrialisation in the former led to a divorce between great swathes of the population and the land they once farmed.
Refrigeration, railways, suburban growth and the car have given rise to the supermarket, with its shrink-wrapped food, sell-by dates, and the branding and advertising of what we eat. Driving to edge-of-town supermarkets has resulted in the closure of family shops, the de-valuing of high streets and a decline in interaction between buyers, growers and sellers of food.
The role of the supermarket was once played by covered markets in Britain and North America just as it is today in much of the world where people still want to look closely at the food they plan to buy, and to enjoy the incomparable buzz and the feast of all senses covered markets offer.
The Ajanta Caves, 30 spellbinding Buddhist prayer halls and monasteries carved, as if by sorcery, into a horseshoe-shaped rock face in a mountainous region of India’s Maharashtra state, 450km (280 miles) east of Mumbai, were ‘discovered’ by accident in 1819.
Unknown for more than 1,000 years except to wild animals, insects, flood waters, prodigious foliage and perhaps the local Bhil people, this magnificent work of art, architecture and contemplation, was abandoned by those who created it as long ago as AD 500. In 1983 it was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.
John Smith, a young British cavalry officer, was on a tiger hunt when he spotted the mouth of a cave high above the Waghora (Tiger) River that could only have been man made. Scrambling up with his party, Smith entered the cave and, branding a flaming grass torch, encountered a great vaulted and colonnaded hall, its walls covered in faded paintings. Beneath a dome, a timeless praying Buddha fronted a mound-like shrine, or stupa
Ad Deir (‘The Monastery’), Petra, Jordan pic.twitter.com/OuoElcsUKz
— AlluringArchitecture (@ArchitectureAce) February 28, 2015
-Pam Grier pic.twitter.com/gOJ0hWq70v
— Old Pics Archive (@oldpicsarchive) March 1, 2015
just a thought: “Pirates worst day at work: No matter how much they hammered at those statues…the gold was not hidden in there!”
Days after video emerged showing self-declared Islamic State extremists taking sledge hammers to pre-Islamic antiquities inside the Mosul museum, the Iraqi government has reopened the country’s national museum, shuttered since the 2003 U.S. invasion of the country that toppled Saddam Hussein.
The National Museum’s reopening was moved up as a retort to the move by ISIS in Mosul, which has been almost universally condemned as a most uncivilized act in a part of the world widely considered the cradle of civilization.
“The events in Mosul led us to speed up our work and we wanted to open it today as a response to what the gangs of Daesh did,” Iraq’s Deputy Tourism Minister Qais Hussein Rashid said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.
The National Museum, which displays artifacts from the Mesopotamian era, was looted and then closed after the U.S. invasion. Agence France-Presse quotes Rashid as saying that around 4,300 of the roughly 15,000 looted pieces have been recovered in the past 12 years. Authorities are still tracking down more than 10,000 items in markets and auctions.
Christopher Dickey, foreign editor for the Daily Beast, speaks to Melissa Block about the dangers facing antiquities in a museum and other archaeological sites in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I’m Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I’m Melissa Block. As Sunni insurgents have swept through Iraq seizing cities, they’ve also begun destroying ancient artifacts. Shrines, tombs and statues that the group ISIS believes are against Islam. Present day Iraq was once Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and considered the cradle of civilization. Now there’s great concern that antiquities and archaeological sites will be wiped out. As Christopher Dickey writes in the Daily Beast, it’s a virtual certainty that irreplaceable history will be annihilated or sold into the netherworld of corrupt and cynical collectors. Mr. Dickey joins me not from Paris. Thanks for being with us.
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY: Sure thing Melissa.
BLOCK: And you write of particular concern about the province of Nineveh and the city of Mosul, in particular the Mosul Museum. Describe what’s there and the significance of these artifacts.
DICKEY: Well, what’s at risk are some beautiful monumental sculptures, these winged figures, lions and bulls, with the faces of bearded men – Kings, that clearly were idols in the time of the Assyrians. But that are now part and parcel of the history of Western civilization and biblical history especially. And then we’ve also got gorgeous gold jewelry which certainly will go onto the black market and all kinds of smaller pieces of sculpture, earthenware, the kinds of things that give you the texture as well as the beauty of life in that period. So it’s a rich museum but all of that collection is now in the hands of ISIS.
Ziggurat of Ur Iraq is home to several ancient sites, such as the Ziggurat of Ur, a temple thought to be 4,000 years old
Straddling the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and stretching from the Gulf to the Anti-Taurus Mountains, modern Iraq occupies roughly what was once ancient Mesopotamia, one of the cradles of human civilisation.
In the early Middle Ages, Iraq was the heartland of the Islamic Empire, but a brutal Mongol invasion in the 13th century destroyed its importance. Part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th century, it came under British control after World War I, gaining independence in 1932.
The British-installed monarchy was toppled in 1958, and a coup in 1968 brought the Arab nationalist Ba’ath (Renaissance) party to power. Oil made the country rich and, when Saddam Hussein became president in 1979, petroleum made up 95% of its foreign exchange earnings.
But the 1980-88 war with Iran and the 1991 Gulf War, sparked by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, together with the subsequent imposition of international sanctions, had a devastating effect on its economy and society.