MAIASP. 2023. No. 15

Svetlana Tarkhanova (Beth Shemesh, Israel)

Early Byzantine ‘medallion’ capitals in the Holy Land: their context, stylistic evolution, and geographical distribution

DOI: 10.53737/5092.2023.68.87.014

Access this article (PDF File)

<< Previous page

Pages: 479—508

In this paper, twelve marble “medallion” capitals of the Holy Land are collected together, stylistically analyzed, and dated for the first time. For a better understanding of their geographical distribution, the places of recovery were marked on the map. In the recent article of C. Barsanti (2017), only 40 capitals of this type were collected throughout the whole Mediterranean region, so the number of local artifacts is rather considerable. None of the local capitals was revealed in situ but only in secondary use in the Early Islamic context or scattered at the sites. In all cases, Early-Byzantine churches dated to the 5th 6th centuries CE were located in close vicinity. The paper consistently provides them as apparent sources from which the capitals might be hypothetically generated. Stylistic analysis showed the process of order alteration: the recognizable morphological basis of the type was followed (though not strictly) in all specimens. At the same time, ancillary details might vary considerably from one capital to the other. This process implies gradual order decline moves from more complete and detailed to more laconic variations of the “medallion” type.

Key words: “Medallion” capitals, Early-Byzantine churches, Holy Land, marble imports, Constantinople workshops, order morphology.

Received July16, 2023.

Accepted for publication July 30, 2023.

About the author:

Tarkhanova Svetlana (Beth Shemesh, Israel). PhD (Cultural Studies), National Treasures Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority