Published on March 10, 2014
BYZANTINE EMPIRE/ EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE 330 AD/CE – 1453 AD/CE
• Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. • The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from the Roman Empire after AD 330, when the Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire east from Rome to Byzantium. • Byzantium, “The new Rome", was later renamed Constantinople after Emperor Constantine and is now called Istanbul.
DOMES AND DOMES ON PENDENTIVES • The pendentive dome or the dome on pendentives provided the Byzantine architects with a unique way of adjusting the circular form of a domed roof to a square or polygonal plan. • They used it to create dramatic interiors and transform a square/rectangle into a circle. • In the Pantheon in Rome, the Domed roof had to be supported by a circular plan and thicker walls.
• The pendentive dome is derived by trimming the sides of a regular dome over a square plan as shown in A. • It enables the transfer of total load of the dome to the four corners of a building, meaning that only the four corners need to be reinforced rather the whole wall as was the case with Pantheon. • Windows can then be introduced in the cylinder enabling architects to creating dazzling interior light effects
HAGIA SOPHIA • Hagia Sophia or the church of the holy wisdom is the one of the most accomplished master piece in the history of architecture. • The church was constructed in 532 A.D. by Emperor Justinian in Constantinople . • Hagia Sophia was the greatest vaulted space without intermediate supports that has ever been built and it remained so throughout the history of the Byzantine Empire
• Its architects were Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, professors of geometry at the University of Constantinople • The church provides an expert solution to the problem of how to place a dome on a square base • The solution was to use pendantives • Hagia Sophia is covered by a central dome 102 feet (31 m) across, slightly smaller than the Pantheon's • The dome seems rendered weightless by the unbroken arcade of arched windows under it, which help flood the colorful interior with light
• The dome is carried on pendentives. • The weight of the dome passes through the pendentives to four massive piers at the corners. • Thus a hierarchy of dome-headed elements build up to create a vast oblong interior crowned by the main dome, a sequence never seen before in antiquity. • Of great artistic importance was its decorated interior with mosaics and marble pillars. • The combination of interior decoration with lights flooding from its domes creates a glittering internal environment.
Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque after the Fall of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Its rich figurative mosaics were covered with plaster and replaced by Islamic motifs. After continuing as a mosque for many years, it was in 1934 turned by Turkish authorities into the Hagia Sophia Museum.
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