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FAH215 - October 28, 2013 - The 7th Century

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Paul Cohen

1 FAH215 – October 28 – The 7 Century th th FAH215 – October 28 – The 7 Century 410AD *Rome sacked by Visigoths *Romans leave Britain 455AD *Rome sacked by Vandals -Overall impression of the 4 -7 centuries: lots of groups are moving around “Barbarians” -Greek for people who speak like bababa… not Greek -Idioti  Latin for non-Latin speakers -Politically correct term we will use is Migration period. Non-Latin speakers aren‟t necessarily barbaric… -These groups did not particularly express themselves via architecture or literature. They relied on oral tradition. It didn‟t make sense to built architecture in the Roman sense because they moved around a lot Relationship between these groups & late Roman Empire -During the late 4 century, emphasis shifted to Constantinople -Romans tried to reach an accommodation and make them “clients” – there was a very uneasy shifting of alliances -For a while people from these groups could actually be successful in the Roman Empire ex. A man named Stilicho, who was a Vandal chieftain, rose to the position of commander in chief in the Western Roman armies. He married Constantine‟s niece, so their resulting son could technically aspire to be emperor. *Diptych of Stilicho and Serena, c.400, Ivory -His cloak is held up by… Fibula/Fibulae 2 th FAH215 – October 28 – The 7 Century -A fibula is a type of clasp that helps to keep the draping cloak up on the shoulder *Pair of bow Fibulae, Austria, unknown, early 5 C; Gold, colored glass and semi-precious stones -A fibula is not only practical, but it is also a status symbol. It keeps your clothes up but not just in any old way. -It is an object shared by both Roman and migratory aristocracy *Eagle Fibulae 6 Cth --Eagle has a strong meaning to both cultures -Ornamental objects would sometimes allude to mythology. -What was the theology of Visigoths/Ostrogoths? We will never know since they didn‟t write anything down. -These cultures were different from each other, but these categories were not as black and white -Luxury art for migratory people who communicated their status through such objects, which we discover usually from a funerary context. *Bow fibula from wealthy female grave, Wittislingen, unknown, Late 6 – early 7 C th --exceptional feature is that is has an inscription on it --shares basic characteristics of other fibulae --Delicate gold, lace framework into which colored glass is poured and fired --Cloisonne technique and gold relief --very sophisticated --Admiration of the piece shown in inscription: “May Uthula live happily in God, Wigering made this.” Both patron and the artist mentioned! --Wigering was probably an artist of some repute since they bothered to write the name -Usually we have no idea who the wearer is -The iconography here is very abstract. Hard to tell if it is a wing, a beak or a talon… Abstractness is common among migratory groups Meanwhile… Theodoric -An Ostrogoth leader who settled down in Northeast Italy -Ravenna already had a Roman aura -The first things he did was to (a) convert to Christianity and (b) begin emulating the Roman lifestyle *Mausoleum of Theodoric ca.520 – built his own Mausoleum *San Apollinaire Nuovo, c.500 --basilica-formatted church with spolia columns and mosaics San Vitale *San Vitale, 546-548 (floor plan) -Round plan rather than a basilica -Chose this plan because it was the burial place of Saint Vitalis -The outside isn‟t spectacular but the inside is covered in colorful mosaics -Focus is on the apse 3 th FAH215 – October 28 – The 7 Century -2 of 4 evangelists depicted -----Panel with Justinian & a procession of ecclesiastical figures carrying bread for Eucharist --“Secular” figure is actively involved with the church --Justinian managed to reconquer Roman land – this was roughly the moment when San Vitale was being built --Bishop Maxentius labeled above his head -This is an idealized situation – Justinian was never actually in Ravenna --All looking out eerily at something. Perhaps the altar? --Hard to tell who is the most important – very ambiguous -No depth of perspective – what is important is the figures, what they are doing and their relationship -Subtly manipulated to suggest greater ideas -----Panel with Theadora (his wife) located on the opposite wall within the apse --If you look carefully at her cloak, she has the 3 magi decorated on it. They are bringing a gift to Jesus, just as she is bringing the chalice as a royal gift to mass. Therefore, her action is more meaningful. --Imitation of the Magi, principle of modeling your action on the gospels Moving away from Northern Italy –The Art of the Migratory People -Various migratory people, over the course of 5 , 6 , 7 , centuries begin to come together in larger, political entities that we can now call kingdoms, (territory-wise.. the concept of France was non-existent until, at least, the 12 C.) They stop moving around so much and established themselves as stable political entities. -Slowly adopted Christianity -Council of Ephesus - As the Christian church became stronger, there was a need for councils to figure out the theology. Ex, what does it mean to sa
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