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Alhambra. Architctural masterpiece of the Islamic West and a testament to the vitality and complexity of the Mediterranean society

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Alhambra
Alhambra

  • Architctural masterpiece of the Islamic West and a testament to the vitality and complexity of the Mediterranean society

  • The Alhambra (qalèat al-hambra) sits on a plateau in the Sierra Nevada Mountains just ouside Granada, Spain. It is the best-preserved Isalmic palace complex and is a ture masterpiece of world architecture (and landscape architecture).

  • The earliest structure on the site dated from the ninth century, although traces of Roman and Iberian ruins are present as well. Numerous building campaigns followed, from the works of the Viser Jehoseph bar Nahjralla in the 11th century on to that of Muhammad V (1238) and his successors. MuhammadV (1361-91) was the principa; patron of the complex as we know it today. Although Yusuf 1 (1333-54) established the current layout and decorative tone.

  • Elaborate use of light, water and garden spaces

  • Expresses Arabic poetic tradition and Qurèanic imagery of paradise

  • Numerous inscriptions, mostly verses of Ibn Zamrak-Muhammadès Vès court poet.



Medieval european art c 500 1500 during byzantine romanesque gothic periods
Medieval European Art c. 500-1500http://www.mcah.columbia.edu/alhambra/flash/palace_qtvr3.html(DURING BYZANTINE, ROMANESQUE, GOTHIC PERIODS)

  • Medieval art took place over a long period of time, shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire and lasted until the end of the fifteenth century just prior to the Renaissance.

  • BYZANTINE (300 A.D to the 1400s )

  • ROMANESQUE (Western Europe was popular from about 1000 A.D. to the 1150)

  • GOTHIC (1150 A.D. to 1400 Century)


What was happening in what is now modern day europe
What was happening in what is now Modern day Europehttp://www.mcah.columbia.edu/alhambra/flash/palace_qtvr3.html

  • As long as the Byzantine (Eastern) Empire, with its seat in Constantinople, dominated the Christian Church, it maintained the balance of power between the bishop of Constantinople and the bishop of Rome. But when it began to crumble, Rome began to assert itself.

  • Ever since the 4th century, the Western (Rome-based) Empire had been shrinking considerably, thanks to the Goths and Franks. It finally disappeared altogether in 476.

  • Today we remember the period of time when the Church ruled Western Europe with an iron hand as the "Dark Ages," although more charitable historians will call it the "Middle Ages.“


Key points
Key pointshttp://www.mcah.columbia.edu/alhambra/flash/palace_qtvr3.html

Spanned over 1000 years, Roman empire has collapsed having been overran by the Visigoths, Huns and Vandals

  • times of unrest as tribes moved through Europe

  • strong hold of The Church over the people

  • most tribes were Christian with pagan traditions therefore there was such symbols as dragons and monsters

  • 400-600 CE few paintings or large buildings were produced

  • Time of the Crusades (1000 CE)

  • most art was portable –(ornaments, weapons, objects for daily use)

  • geometric designs and animal motifs were favoured as decorative elements

  • manuscript illumination became an important art form and reached a high point in its development


Why the crusades came into being
Why the Crusades came into beinghttp://www.mcah.columbia.edu/alhambra/flash/palace_qtvr3.html

  • Feudalism has its roots in all the warring that was going on in this period of time. To support the cavalry, the kings gave their soldiers estates of land farmed by dependent laborers. It was a huge pyramid with the majority of the population at the bottom, working as serfs or virtual slaves for somebody else.

  • The Church supported the inequality of the feudal system through its various dogmatic formulations, which strongly implied that God Himself wants things this way, that poverty has great spiritual value, and that the king is a divinely ordained human being whose authority cannot be questioned.


  • Early in its history, the Church started to acquire land. At first, the Church took over the properties of pagan temples and temple priests. But it continued to expand it holdings, until it became by far the biggest landowner in Europe, collecting huge amounts of taxes from the hapless peasants.

  • As the Church's empire grew in size so did its need for more money to support it. While the Crusades were launched in part to curb the growth of the Islam Empire, another motivation was to gain new lands and wealth for the growing population of Europe. They offered an outlet for the ambitions of land-hungry knights and noblemen.

  • The main reason given at the time, however, was the reclamation of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem from the Muslims. This church had been originally built on the site identified in the 4th century by Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine, as the site where Jesus was buried following his crucifixion.(This church still stands today, after being rebuilt by the Crusaders; it is a focal point of Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem)


  • The Crusades turned into campaigns of slaughter, rape, and pillage,. The primary victims of the Crusaders, were the Muslims (with 30-50 % the Jewish population of Europe along the way).

  • There were altogether ten Crusades covering a swath of time between the 11th through the 13th centuries:

  • Pope Urban II mounted the first campaign, in part in response to a plea for help from Christians in Constantinople who were besieged by the Muslims. Its aim was to beat back the "infidels" (as Christians called their fellow monotheists) and to recapture the Holy Land.

  • Pope promised those that signed up had the spiritual benefit of having all your sins forgiven by God (not too mention all the spoils of war)

  • An armed force of 15,000 -- including 5,000 knights and the rest infantry, as well as a peasant force.

  • The First Crusade, 1095-1099, saw the taking of Jerusalem, the slaughter of both the Muslim and Jewish populations of the city, and the establishment of the Crusader-run Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (which lasted only until 1187). The Crusaders, once they conquered Jerusalem, embarked on a vast building effort all over Israel. The Crusaders established special orders of knights to look after this kingdom. Those that interest us in particular are the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitalers.


  • The Second Crusade, 1147-1149, was organized to help the Christians to recover lands which they lost to the Turks, but it ended in dismal failure.

  • The Third Crusade 1189-1192 was organized after Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt, recaptured Jerusalem. This is the Crusade in which King Richard the Lionhearted figured. It was a failure.

  • The reign of the Crusaders over the Holy Land was short lived. In less than one hundred years, in fact in 1187, the Crusaders are conquered by Sultan Saladin of Egypt

  • Sultan Saladin beat the Crusaders at what was one of the most important battles in the medieval history of the Middle East -- at the Horns of Hattin, which is northwest of the Sea of Galilee. There Saladin very skillfully managed to lure the Crusaders out into the open. In the middle of the summer and burning heat, they found themselves vastly outmaneuvered and outnumbered, and this is how Saladin destroyed them.

  • Even though they lost Jerusalem, the Crusaders didn't give up. They mounted campaign after campaign to recoup the Holy Land. They never did get Jerusalem back, (although the Moslems did grant them access to Christian holy sites there). Finally, in 1291, the last Crusader stronghold -- in Acco (also known as Acre) -- fell.

  • The Fourth Crusade, 1202-1204, saw the capture of Constantinople, which at the time was occupied by Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox Christians, who did not recognize the authority of the Roman Pope.

  • The Children's Crusade, 1212, sent thousands of children for the Holy Land, where they were never heard from again..

  • The Fifth Crusade, 1217-21, was aimed at Egypt, but failed.

  • Four more Crusades mounted in the 13th century failed to reverse the Muslim gains. In 1291 the last Crusader stronghold at Acco fell.


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