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Byzantium. Chapter 7: Outline The Decline of Rome Literature and Philosophy Augustine of Hippo Boethius The Ascendancy of Byzantium Church of Hagia Sophia: Monument and Symbol Ravenna Art and Architecture

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outline chapter 07

Chapter 7: Outline

The Decline of Rome Literature and Philosophy

Augustine of Hippo Boethius

The Ascendancy of Byzantium

Church of Hagia Sophia: Monument and Symbol


Art and Architecture

St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai The Persistence of Byzantine Culture

Outline: Chapter 07
timeline byzantium
Timeline : Byzantium

250 AC - Persecution of Christians under Decius

286 AD - Diocletian divides Roman Empire into East and West parts ruled by himself

and Maximian

c. 326 AD - Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

330 AD - Constantine dedicates new capital of Roman Empire on site of Byzantium,

naming it Constantinople

c. 333 AD - Old Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican

386 AD - Saint Jerome translates Bible into Latin

386 AD - Saint Ambrose of Milan begins use of vernacular hymns in church

397 AD - Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions

410 AD - Visigoths sack Rome

413-426 AD - Augustine of Hippo, The City of God

c. 450 AD - Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Neonian; Arian Baptisteries, Ravenna

522-524 AD - Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, allegorical treatise

526-547 AD - San Vitale, Ravenna

527-565 AD - Reign of Justinian as Eastern Roman emperor in Constantinople

532-537AD - Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, rebuilt, combining basilica plan and

central plan with dome

590-602 AD - Gregorian Chant established at Rome during papacy of

Gregory the Great

1054 AD - Eastern and Western Church formally split

1063 AD - Saint Mark's, Venice begun

the decline of rome

This chapter traces briefly the slow waning of Roman power in the West

by focusing on the impact of two late Roman writers who are both Christians:

Boethius, who wrote in provincial Ravenna,

and Augustine,who lived in Roman North Africa.

The Decline of Rome
  • Unwieldy bureaucratic machine
  • Too many mercenary troops that were disloyal
  • Power shift from Rome to Constantinople
  • Invasion of barbarians from north
  • 330 A.D. Emperor Constantine moved capital to Constantinople
  • Final barbarian assault – end of empire, 476 A.D.
  • …………………………………………………………………………………………….
  • By the early fourth century, The Roman Empire already had severe
  • economic, political, and social problems. In 330 Emperor Constantine
  • dedicated the Greek Commercial center of Byzantium as his
  • eastern capital.
  • He renamed the city Constantinople.
early christian iconography
Early Christian Iconography
  • Simplified Forms
  • Stylized Figures
  • Pure High-Key Color
  • Frontal Presentation
  • Rigid Postures
  • Decorative Design
  • Elements
  • Symmetrical Composition
  • Spiritual Quality
  • “God’s Eye View”
  • Biblical – The Word of God
  • Imbued with Holy Spirit
  • Didactic – Used for Purposes
  • of Religious Instruction
  • Evangelical – Used to
  • Spread the Faith

Page with The Crucifixion,

from the Rabbula Gospels,

from Beth Zagba, Syria. 586

saint augustine
Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine of Hippo

(354-430 AD)

“So long, therefore, as his philosophy

agrees with his religious doctrines,

St. Augustine is frankly neo-Platonist; as

soon as a contradiction arises, he

never hesitates to subordinate his

philosophy to religion, reason to faith.

He was, first of all, a Christian; the

philosophical questions that occupied

his mind constantly found themselves

more and more relegated to the background.”

-Catholic Encyclopedia

This is the oldest surviving portrait

of Augustine, from the Lateran in

Rome in the sixth century.


Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, 480 – 525 AD

  • Roman statesman and philosopher, often styled
  • "the last of the Romans", regarded by tradition
  • as a Christian martyr
  • Translated works of Aristotle
  • Created many original philosophical texts
  • Extended the groundwork of Christian Philosophy

Boethius takes up many problems of metaphysics as well as ethics

and of the Being and Nature of God, of providence and fate,

of the origin of the universe, and of the freedom of the will.

the roman empire christianity and the ascent of the byzantine empire

As the wheel of fortune turned downward for Rome, Byzantium began

its ascent as the center of culture. Our focus is on the great builder and

patron of Byzantine culture, Emperor Justinian and his consort,

Theodora. The central feature of their reign is its blending of their

political power with the Christian Church so that church and state

became a seamless whole. Christianity, which had been a despised

and persecuted sect, now became the official religion of the state

The Roman Empire, Christianity, and the ascent of the ByzantineEmpire

Church of Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, 6th century AD

byzantine art and architecture

Byzantine Christianity had a readily recognizable look to it, a look most

apparent in its art and architecture. It was an art that was otherworldly,

formal, and profoundly sacred. A contemporary Orthodox theologian has

said that the proper attitude of a Byzantine worshiper is gazing. The

mosaics and icons of this tradition were meant to be seen as windows

through which the devout might view the eternal mysteries of religion.

No conscious attempt was made to be innovative in this art. The

emphasis was always on deepening the experience of sacred mystery.

Byzantine Art and Architecture

lunette over the south doorway,

Curch of Hagia Sophia

Virgin and Child flamked by

Emporer Justinian I and Constantine I

Church of Hagia Sophia, interior,

Constantinople, 6th century AD

church of hagia sophia constantinople
Church of Hagia Sophia, Constantinople

Church of Hagia Sophia, interior, Constantinople, 6th century AD


San Vitale and Sant'Apollinare in Classe, in Ravenna, Italy

(6th century AD.) are two of the most illustrious expressions of Byzantine artistry in the world.

Basilica of San Vitale

Sant'Apollinare in Classe

(Tower is a medieval addition)

church of san vitale ravenna italy
Church of San Vitale,Ravenna, Italy

Church of San Vitale, view across the central space toward the sanctuary apse ,

Ravenna, Italy. 526-47

church of san vitale theodora mosaic
Church of San Vitale, Theodora Mosaic

Empress Theodora and Her Attendants, mosaic on south wall of the apse,

Church of San Vitale, Ravenna(Dodati) 547 AD

church of san vitale ravenna theodora mosaic
Church of San Vitale,Ravenna,TheodoraMosaic

Empress Theodora and Her Attendants, detail; mosaic on south wall of the apse,

Church of San Vitale, Ravenna(Dodati) 547

church of san vitale ravenna justinian mosaic

Justinian I- Roman Emperor (527-65)

Flavius Anicius Julianus Justinianus was born about 483 at Tauresium. In 521

Justinian was proclaimed ruler. The thirty-eight years of Justinian's reign are the

most brilliant period of the later empire. Full of enthusiasm for the memories of Rome,

he set himself, and achieved, the task of reviving their glory. The many-sided activity

of this wonderful man may be summed up under the headings: military triumphs, l

egal work, ecclesiastical polity, and architectural activity. Dominating all is the policy

of restoring the empire, great, powerful, and united.

Church of San Vitale,Ravenna,JustinianMosaic

Emeror Justinian and His Attendants, detail;

mosaic on the north wall of the apse, Church of San Vitale. 547

mausoleum of gala placida mosaic
Mausoleum of Gala Placida,Mosaic

Good Shepherd, mosaic in the Lunette over the west entrance,

Mausoleum of Gala Placidia, Ravenna, Italy. 425-26

church of saint apollinare
Church of Saint'Apollinare

The Transfiguration of Christ with Saint Apollinaris,

First Bishop of Ravenna, mosaic in the apse,

Church of Saint'Apollinare in Classe, Italy. 533-49

byzantine architecture

Byzantine Architecture

Byzantine Architecture

Early Byzantine architecture is essentially a continuation of Roman

architecture. Gradually, a style emerged which was influenced more

by the architecture of the near east, and used the Greek cross plan for

the church architecture which mostly stands today. Brick replaced stone,

classical orders were used more freely, mosaics replaced carved

decoration, and complex domes were erected.

old st peters basilica rome
Old St. PetersBasilica, Rome

Old Saint Peter's, Rome, 320-27; atrium added in later 4th century

what byzantine art reveals about byzantine civilization

What Byzantine Art Reveals about Byzantine Civilization

  • The power and expressiveness of the figures portrayed in the art suggest
  • the vitality and strength of Byzantine traditions, which have outlasted the fall
  • of the empire.
  • The richness of the materials, especially the lavish use of gold,
  • indicates wealth.
  • The great variety in the subject matter, media, and types of art attests to
  • the taste and sophistication of the society that commissioned it and to the
  • remarkable artistic skill of the craftsmen who created it.
  • The continuing portrayal of classical themes and idealized human figures
  • are visual reminders of the importance of the Greco-Roman heritage
  • in Byzantine thought.
  • In style and subject matter the arts of peoples as near as Russia, Georgia,
  • Armenia, and Bulgaria, and as far away as western Europe and the middle
  • East show the vast expanse of Byzantine cultural and artistic contacts.
What ByzantineArt Reveals About Byzantine Civilization

Because Byzantium was Greek-speaking, the culture

of ancient Greece was kept alive until the middle of the

15th century, when the city fell to the Ottoman Turks.

The removal of much of that culture to the West was a

strong influence on the development of the Renaissance.

persistence of byzantine culture

The influence of this art was far-reaching. Italo-Byzantine styles of art

persisted in the West up to the beginnings of the Italian Renaissance.

These same styles entered Russia at the end of the tenth century and

still persist. Today, students can visit Greek or Russian churches and

see these art forms alive as part of traditional Christian Orthodox

worship and practice.

Persistence of ByzantineCulture

Extent of Byzantine Empire c 565 AD.