Dr. Nikolaos Karydis is giving a lecture on Thursday 5th March at 11am-1pm in the Cornwallis Octagon, Lecture Theatre 3. Refreshments will be provided and everyone is welcome to attend.
Architectural Encounters between Byzantium and Islam from the 10th to the 13th Century
Dr. Nikolaos Karydis, University of Kent
The artistic relations between Byzantium and Islam from the 10th to the 13th century transcended the cultural and religious boundaries between the two cultures. Our awareness of these relations is essential to understand the development of monumental architecture in Southern Europe during this period. A comparative analysis of a wide range of monuments reflects a stream of architectural influences between Byzantium and Islam that flowed in both directions. Indeed, combinations of Islamic and Byzantine themes occur in cultures as different and distant as the ones of Moorish Andalusia and Byzantine Greece. But, such architectural fusions are not only encountered in Islamic and Byzantine territories. They also occur in the architecture of the Venetian Republic and the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. The rise of these two powers is marked by the development of hybrid, and highly inventive architectural languages that incorporate the best elements of Byzantine and Islamic architecture, confirming the aesthetic compatibility between them.
This lecture revisits some of the key monuments of Andalusia, Italy and Greece in order to identify those architectural motifs and construction techniques that the one culture borrowed from the other. Particular emphasis is put on the design and constructional methods used to combine Islamic and Byzantine architectural elements in different contexts and on the modifications which the two cultures introduced into the elements they borrowed. The architectural forms studied in the lecture show that the exchange of ideas between Byzantium and Islam was extremely fertile, producing unique architectural forms. Cross-cultural interaction seems to have renewed previous architectural traditions, infusing new life and symbolic content in them.