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Author Topic: How did the East view Architecture? (That is, the Eastern Roman Empire's area)  (Read 955 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: September 25, 2008, 09:22:36 AM »

I have been wondering, how did architecture develop, and how was it viewed in the past by the area that was controlled by the Eastern Roman Empire? I'm not just specifically talking about the Empire, but rather the countries that laid within it, those that might be considered Orthodox Countries. (at one point in history)

I've had plenty of art history, mainly on western art and architecture. (That is, ancient greece and rome, then skipping to the renaissance) However, I've been wondering, how did the "East" view architecture from well before Christ to up until the fall of Constantinople?

We know in "western" architecture, that it became much more expressive of the person and what they wanted, much more "free" and artistic. Gradually, one generation rebelled a bit more until technology finally broke the back of "traditional" and "Classical" architecture.

In the East, was the same thing occurring? Or did architecture remain traditional, beautiful and vernacular?

Simply saying, I'm interested because I'm trying to see which way I should go. I see architecture in the "west" as reflecting and effecting religion (as well as vice versa), everything became your own interpretation, your own architecture, your own personal "Christ", your own theology.
I'd like to know if architecture in the "east" went in this direction as well, or if the architecture stayed more traditional and less along the lines of having "artistic/creative freedom".
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Αριστοκλής
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2008, 09:53:31 AM »

That's a pretty broad question and one not constrained by a time period beyond the clue of "Eastern Roman Empire".
For a start of the "Roman" aspect see: http://www.byzantium1200.com/

For individual "areas" I guess you must research each separately, such as Egypt and "Palestine" (which are the only ones which spring to my mind as having a distinct architecture worthy the name in the region you wish to consider).
« Last Edit: September 25, 2008, 09:54:46 AM by Αριστοκλής » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2008, 10:45:59 AM »

We know in "western" architecture, that it became much more expressive of the person and what they wanted, much more "free" and artistic. Gradually, one generation rebelled a bit more until technology finally broke the back of "traditional" and "Classical" architecture.

Can you give some examples of what you mean here, please?

Quote
In the East, was the same thing occurring? Or did architecture remain traditional, beautiful and vernacular?

Things that are "traditional" were once new when they were first done.  Smiley

Ebor
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88Devin12
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2008, 12:18:11 PM »

I'm meaning that over time, western art and architecture was becoming more and more focused on creative freedom rather than continuing what has been done. It also has become focused on the principle of "form follows function".

Also as for time period, I'm referring to the time from the Ancient Greeks to the fall of Constantinople... Geographically i'm referring to the area of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Russia. (while also including Egypt and the area around it)

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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2008, 12:30:52 PM »

In Egyptian architecture there was a well-integrated mix of functionality and religion. This led early on to basic formulas in construction, as well as art, as well as religion- in fact one is hard pressed to find a seperation of those three things- which became semi-rigid and also traditional. Few were the dramatic changes, and even then there is some connection with tradition. Pyramid building was envouge during the Old Kingdom of Egypt, but it lingered on into the Middle Kingdom. By the empire age Pyramids were seen to be impressive, but insecure monuments; as far as the ancients could tell none had escaped robbery (and there are some interesting trial transcipts involving tomb-robbery- nothing short of iconoclasm to an Egyptian).

Thus in a dramatic departure the Royal tombs were moved to the Valley of the Kings (much later to be the home of a few venerable Orthodox hermits), the seplechres being hewn deep into living rock. Yet even then tradition was still to be found- often the layout of the tombs mimiced the layout of the Pyramid chambers, the religious rites stayed basically the same; and staring over the Valley is a great rock formation in the shape of a Pryamid.

Temples stayed basically the same, with some deviations; the trend seemed to elaborate only on already established tradition, basically bigger, better, and flashier; yet all for the purpose of communing life and religion, the now and hereafter.

So for the Ancient Egyptian it was vital to maintain balance, stability, and harmony. Thus their Architecture thrived on tradition, and while not devoid of individual expression now and then, it definitely had strict guidelines- which in fact included making sure the finished work was beautiful, symetrical, and durable. This mindset seems to be pervasive from Egypt's archaic period until the later days of Roman rule.

Hope this helps some.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2008, 12:31:33 PM by ironsiderodger » Logged
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