Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pictures of the Elgin Marbles of The Parthenon in The British Museum

Pictures, Images & Photos of The Elgin Marbles.

Pictures, images & photos of The Parthenon Marbles, known as The Elgin Marbles exhibited in the British Museum, London. Dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, the construction of the Parthenon Temple began in 447 BC with its decorations being completed in 432 BC. The Parthenon has become the great iconic symbol of Ancient Greece and the Athenian democracy being the high point in the development of the Doric Order. The friezes, Metopes and sculptures of the Parthenon are also considered to be one of the high points of Greek art.

Between 1801 and 1812 Lord Elgin, British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, paid for the removal and shipping to London of 75 m of the original frieze, 15 of the Metope panels and 17 of the pediment figures. These were bought by the British Government and a purpose built gallery was built in the British Museum.

The pediment is the triangular end of the Parthenon in which sculptures were set. Below the ledge of the pediment is a lintel that runs over the top of the Doric columns on which were placed sculpted marble panels known as Metopes. The Parthenon had a double row of columns and on the lintel above the inner row of columns was a sculpted frieze.

The Pediment sculptures in the British Museum show scenes from the life, including her birth, of the goddess Athena accompanied by her father Zeus and her brother Hephaistos. Athena was the goddess of goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilisation, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill.

The metope panels of the Parthenon in the British Museum show scenes of the Lapiths, a pre-Hellenic mythological people from Thessaly, battling with the Centaurs, a mythological creature half man half horse. The scene is probably from the wedding of the king of the Lapiths, Perithoos. The story tells that the Centaurs, who were guests at the wedding, became drunk and a fight broke out during which they tried to carry off the Lapith women. The Centaurs would have represented the Persians to the Athenian viewer of the time. Athens had a long and bitter struggle against the Persian Empire and the Parthenon was built on an earlier unfinished temple that had been destroyed when the Persian sacked Athens in 480 BC.

The Parthenon Ionic frieze sculptures show bas-relief carvings of the Panathenaic procession. This annual procession of Athenians and foreigners ended in the ritual sacrifice of cattle at the Parthenon to honour the goddess Athena. The north and south frieze both show a procession of sixty riders in ranks of 10 men. The south frieze also shows cattle being led to be sacrificed and the east frieze shows Athena watching the procession with her father Zeus. The West frieze shows the preparation of the riders for the procession and, apart from two blocks, these are moulds made for Lord Elgin in 1802 of the blocks that would remain in Athens.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Photos of Mosaics & Frescoes of Jesus Christ

Pictures, Images & Photos of Jesus Christ.

Pictures & Images of the Religious Depictions of Jesus Christ. One of the great world iconic symbols is Christ Pantocrator, "The Almighty" or "All-powerful". Christianity if the only one of the 3 faiths of "The Book", the others being Islam & Judaism, that allows the depiction of religious figures to be venerated. Even within Christianity the practice of allowing Icons ( Greek for "image") differs between the Christian Sects. Jews forbid Iconography under the commandment "Thou shalt not worship false idols". Eastern Orthodoxy after much debate and schisms allow Icons but do not allow three diminutional representations of religious figure. This can be seen in the flat painted crosses of the Orthodox Church and the rigid rules in Orthodox Icons that create more symbolic images that the humanist Christian Images of the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholicism allows statues & images of religious figures but this is not allowed by more puritan christians.

The depiction of Jesus Christ is not therefore to be found in all churches but one of the most powerful is Christ Pantocrator which has come to suggest Christ as a mild but stern, all-powerful judge of humanity. The icon of Christ Pantokrator is one of the most widely used religious images of Orthodox Christianity. Generally speaking, in Byzantine church art and architecture, an iconic mosaic or fresco of Christ Pantokrator occupies the space in the central dome of the church, in the half-dome of the apse or on the nave vault. Christ is always making the Orthodox blessing with his right hand with his thumb touching his second finger making the symbolic shape of I C & X C which in Greek spell "Jesus Christ".

Roman Catholic representations depict Christ as man. This is due to another Schism between the Churches that argue about whether Christ is of the same substance as God or if he was created by God and is human as well as divine.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pictures of The Sidon Necropolis Sarcophagus of The Istanbul Archaeological Museum

Pictures of The Sacophagus of Alexander The Great.

Pictures, images & photos of the Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon now in the Istanbul Archaeological museum. On March 2 1887 workers quarrying north east of Sidon in Lebanon discovered a tomb shaft fifty feet deep. Luckily for history they were so frightened they rushed to bring the Reverend William King Eddy, an American missionary born in Sidon, to the site. Eddy realised immediately that the workers had uncovered an archaeological site and suspected that it was the lost ancient Royal Necropolis of Sidon. He was lowered down the shaft and by the light of flickering candles was confronted with the Sarcophagus of the Lycian, the dazzling Sarcophagus of Alexander and the Sarcophagus of the weeping women.

News travelled of the great find to Istanbul and Osman Hamdi Bey who had been appointed the curator of the new Istanbul Archaeological museum left immediately for the Lebanon and took over the excavation and removal of the sarcophagi returning with them to Istanbul.

The finds at Sidon put the museum on the world map and the facade of the new museum was inspired by the Alexander Sarcophagus and Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women which the museum houses today. It is incredible how perfectly preserved the Sarcophagi are. The Sarcophagus of the Lycian is a pristine grey marble from Paros with hunting scenes and 2 sphinxes adorning its gothic stele pitched roof.

The Alexander Sarcophagus is a monumental work of art befitting one of the great leaders of antiquity. 11 feet long (4 Mts) it weighs fifty tons and is made of Pentelic marble. The freezes on each side show Alexander in the midst of battles and in hunting scenes, These relief sculptures were originally painted in bright colours and some of the paint is still visible today.

Finally but not least the Royal Necropolis held the "Sarcophagus of the Satrap".

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Photos of the Historic Orthodox Churches of Santorini, Greece

Selective Colour "Blue Domes" Gallery.

Blue Domes selective colour picture gallery with photos of The Blue Domed churches of Santorini to download on line or buy as prints


Monday, April 23, 2012

Photos of the Gothic Monastery of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

Pictures, Images & Photos of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire.

Pictures & Images of Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Park Water Gardens. Founded in 1132, the abbey operated for over 400 years until it was closed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Abbey is part of It is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England and was the second Cistercian monastery to be built after Rievaulx Abbey just 20 (32km) or so miles away. After its closure like all monasteries in England it was abandoned and became a ruin.

In 1718 John Aislabie the owner of the Studley Estate & Chancellor of the Exchequer decided to build a water Garden in his park. The style of the day was for picturesque landscaping and the ruins of Fountains Abbey were incorporated into the design at the end of a sweeping curved lake that follows a narrow wooded valley. This has created the famous vista of Fountains Abbey making Studley Royal one of the best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden in England. Studley Royal Park including the ruins of Fountains Abbey owes its originality and striking beauty to the fact that a humanised landscape was created around the largest medieval ruins in the United Kingdom. The use of these features, combined with the planning of the water garden itself, is a true masterpiece of human creative genius that influenced the rest of Europe.

Studley Royal & Fountains Abbey are a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Cappadocia the Home of Early Christian Rock Churches

Pictures of Cappadocia, Turkey.

Pictures, photos & images of Cappadocia ( Capadocia, Kapadokya, ) Anatolia, Turkey. Cappadocia is an area of spectacular rock formations that have been used as rock houses for thousands of years. The whole area has been covered with hundreds of meters of volcanic ash that has compressed into Tufa rock. Water has eroded into the landscape leaving valleys with steep cliffs and towers of rock known as fairy chimneys. Tufa is soft and since prehistoric times people have made cave dwellings which are linked from small doorways via internal stairs that run up inside the fairy chimneys or cliff faces. This created easy to defend rock castles that could house towns of several thousand people like that at Uchisar, where the rock houses run the full height of a towering rock face..

Cappadocia is on a high plateau in the centre of Anatolia and its remote position and hidden rock towns made it a perfect location for early Christians who had to hide from the persecuting Romans. Many rock churches are spread across Capadocia with religious frescos painted on their walls. Some valleys like Zelve have the remains of huge rock monasteries. At Goreme is a UNESCO World Heritage site with rock churches with spectacular frescoes.

Capadocia is a truly unique part of the world. Its rock formations and rock houses create an incredible place to explore which is why it is high on travellers to Turkey's list.


Photos of Lycian Archaeological Sites & Objects

Pictures, Images & Photos of Lycian Archaeology.

Pictures & images of ancient Lycian cities in western Anatolia, Turkey. Ancient Egyptian records describe the Lycians as allies of the Hittites but it is also thought that the Lycians were one of the 'Sea Peoples' who invaded the Hittite Empire around 1200 BC .By 1300 B.C, Lycia emerged as a confederation of fiercely independent city states along the high mountains of Agean coast between Fethiye and Antalya. Homer mentions Lycia as being an ally of Troy, its northern neighbour, and Heroditus says that Lycia is named after Lycus, son of Pandion II of Athens and the Lycians came from Crete to fight in the Trojan Wars. Lycia maintained its language & culture until its fall to Arab invaders of the 8th century.

Wealthy Lycian families would built Pillar and rock tombs which were cut into cliffs and fronted with temple fronts. These would have been family tombs and one still has a relief sculpture of its owner, a gladiator in full Roman armour, cut into the rock above the tomb entrance. Lycians also built tombs onto of pillars often with a characteristic pointed curved roof or in the shape of small Greek Temples. The largest known Lycian tomb is the Neireid Monument of Xanthos, one of the first Temple Tombs now in the British Museum.

In 43AD Lycia was annexed by emperor Claudius as a province into the Roman Empire. The two adopted sons and heirs to Emperor Augustus, Lucius & Gaius Caesar died in Lycia in AD 2 & AD 4 respectively forcing Augustus to adopt Tiberius as his heir.

Linking the Lycian towns is the Lycian Way which runs through the spectacular coastal mountains along the Aegean Sea. The ancient road is today a popular walkers footpath 500km long stretching from Olu Deniz near Fethiye to Hisarcandir, 20km from Antalya. The route has been listed as one of the world top ten walks and at its highest point is 1811 meters above the sea.

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Images of The Incredible Hagia Sophia Basilica, Istanbul

Pictures, Images & Photos of Hagia Sophia Istanbul.

Pictures & images of Hagia Sophia ( Aya Sophia ) Basilica Istanbul. Completed in 537 under Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia is a major Roman Byzantine work of architecture with a massive dome that would not be surpassed in size for 1000 years.

The present Hagia Sophia or church os the Holy Wisdom, is the third Basilica to stand on this site. The previous Basilica was burnt to the ground during the Nika Revolt of 13th Jan 532 when thousands of rampaging fans at the Hippodrome were slaughtered by Emperor Justinians's soldiers after they rioted & sacked the city.

The size of Hagia Sophia is awe inspiring even by modern standards and the mathematics used to create such a vast dome demonstrate how sophisticated ancient mathematicians & engineers were. Justinian chose physicist Isidore of Miletus and mathematician Anthemius of Tralles as architects to complete the task but the dome structure was too massive and the main dome collapsed completely during an earthquake on 7 May 558. It was rebuilt with lighter materials and 30 feet higher by Isidorus the Younger, nephew of Isidore of Miletus and today stands at 55.6 metres (182 ft). Hagia Sophia has withstood many earthquakes over time being repaired and buttressed to give it strength.

Hagia Sophia was the Church of the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople and was decorated inside with Roman Byzantine mosaics with gold backgrounds that would have made for a spectacular interior. The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) took and sacked Constantinople and most of the treasures and relics from Hagia Sophia were looted by the Venetians who used took them back to Venice to adorn the Basilica of Saint Marks.

In 1453 Sultan Mehmed took Constantinople and the treasures of Hagia Sophia were again pillaged. The Basilica became a mosque and its design was the benchmark for all the great mosques that were subsequently built. Over time the Christian mosaics, that were seen to idolatrous by Muslims who do not allow depictions of Saints or God, were replaced with Islamic designs. Aya Sophia became first imperial mosque of Istanbul and has the mausoleum's ( Türbe ) of the early sultan rulers of Istanbul.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of an independent Turkish state, in 1935, the first Turkish President and founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, transformed the building into a museum and any religious worship in the building was forbidden. It was repaired and plaster removed to reveal some of the Roman Byzantine mosaics that survived underneath. Today it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that incorporated Ancient Istanbul.

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Photos of The Byzantine Roman Mosaics of The Great Palace Istanbul

Pictures, Images & Photos of Great Palace Roman Mosaics.

Pictures & images of Great Palace Mosaics, Istanbul, Turkey. The Roman Byzantine mosaics used to decorate the pavement of a peristyle court, dating possibly to the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I ( 527-565 ). The area formed part of the south-western Great Palace, and the excavations discovered a large peristyle courtyard, with a surface of 1872 m², entirely decorated with mosaics.

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Pictures of the Roman Library of Celsus, Ephesus

Pictures of The Great Library of Celsus at Ephasus.
Ephesus pictures, photos of the library of Celsus & Images of the Roman ruins. See & buy Ephesus stock photos or Ephesus photo art prints & cards. Ephesus ( Ephesos; Turkish Efes) was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the second largest city of the Roman Empire; ranking behind Rome, the empire's capital.
One of the landmark buildings of Ephesus is the library of Celsus. Completed in 135 AD by Celsus, son of Gaius Julius Aquila, the library of Celsus stored over 12,000 scrolls and was one of the great libraries of the ancient world. The library also served as a mausoleum for Celsus whose sarcophagus was buried below the library floor. The library of Celsus has become one of the iconic examples of Roman architecture.
Ephesus is also linked with St Paul who lived in the city fro some time and wrote the Epistle to Ephesians while he was in prison in Rome (around 62 AD). Although St Paul was driven from Ephesus by its population who preferred their Pagan traditions to the new monotheistic Christian religion, Ephesus was probably an early strong hold of Christianity and St John may well have written his Gospel in Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the seven cities addressed in Revelation (Revelation 2:1–7), indicating that the church at Ephesus was strong.
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Photos of the Spectacular Byzantine Mosaics of The Chora Istanbul

Pictures, Images & Photos of The Chora or Kariye Museum.

Pictures images and photos of the late Roman Byzantine Chora Church, Holy Saviour, mosaics 1315-1321 ( now Kariye Museum ). Originally outside the original city walls built by Emperor Constantine The Chora Monastery derives its name from the Greek Kariye meaning country or suburban area. In 413 AD Emperor Theodosius built new land walls and the Chora monastery lies just inside these. Devastated by an earthquake on October 6 557 a new basilica was built for the monastery by Emperor Justinian. The occupation and sacking of Constantinople by the notorious Forth Crusade in 1204 lucky left the Chora untouched but due to neglect under the Latin occupiers it fell into poor repair.

Theodore Metochites ( 1270–1332 ) was a poet and humanist scholar during the reign of Andronicus II. Son of the archdeacon George Metochites who was condemned to exile for his fervent support of the union of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic church. Theodore Metochites was an academic being versed in literature & science, writing poetry in high Greek that is still difficult for academics to translate. Metochites' political career culminated in 1321, when he was invested as Grand Logothete. He was then at the summit of his power, and also one of the richest men of his age.

Metochites restored the Chora adding an outer Narthex and adorning the ceilings with sumptuous mosaics and frescos between 1315-1321. Being an early Humanist the style of the frescos introduces Human emotions and depictions of "real" people over the purely spiritual rules of depiction adhered to by the Orthodox Icon painters of the time. In 1332 in the west Giotto was still painting static unemotional frescos at the same time as the Anastasis ( resurrection) fresco of the Parecclesion chapel in the Chora was being painted. It depicts Christ saving Adam and Eve by resurrecting them from their sarcophagi. The fresco is full of movement with Christ all powerful in a pool of light at its centre. It has often been asked how western art went from the two dimensional lifeless paintings of Giotto to the full glory of Renaissance painting and sculpture in such a short time. The art of the Chora shows the conduit that saw Byzantine academics reveal Humanist ideas and the sciences of the old Greek Classical world to a Western Europe that had forgotten them after the fall of the Roman Empire and a period when academic pursuits stopped. The art of the Chora still has to conform to Orthodox beliefs of iconography of the time so could not go as far as later western Renaissance religious painting. How far the Byzantines would have gone will never be known because Constantinople fell and the Empire was extinguished in 1453. Under the rule of Andronicus III Metochites fell out of favour and spent the last years of his life as a monk in his beloved Chora Monastery.