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Different Approaches to an Early Byzantine Monument: Procopius and Ibn Battuta on the Church of St. John at Ephesus

Karydis, Nikolaos (2013) Different Approaches to an Early Byzantine Monument: Procopius and Ibn Battuta on the Church of St. John at Ephesus. In: Experiencing Byzantium. Ashgate, Farnham, UK, pp. 89-110. ISBN 978-1-4724-1229-4. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:59400)

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Written records on the 6th century church of St. John at Ephesos echo the role of the monument as the “heart” of medieval Ephesos, and one of the most important pilgrimage churches in Asia Minor. Starting with the 6th century report by Procopius and ending with the 14th century account by the Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta, this series of documents spans the greater part of Byzantine history. However, their use in the visualization of the church, which now lies in ruins, has long been problematic (H. Hörmann, 1951). Indeed, the puzzling inconsistencies and enormous differences between the few descriptions included in these records have hindered their use as evidence for reconstruction. What Procopius described as the Ephesian counterpart to Justinian’s church of the holy Apostles in Costantinople, was viewed by Ibn Battuta as a building including elements typical of Moorish Andalusia and Morocco. The recent graphic reconstructions of the monument (A. Thiel 2005, N. Karydis 2010) offer the opportunity to revisit historic descriptions in a new light, establishing what is real and what is distorted in them. The interpretation of the erratic parts of these descriptions is not only essential for the visualization of the monument but also for our understanding of their authors themselves. It reveals the influence of different cultural backgrounds in the perception of the great pilgrimage church, and reflects the changes in the ways in which Byzantine architectural heritage was understood during the Middle Ages.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Ibn Battuta, Procopius (Prokopios), Church of St. John at Ephesos, Ephesos, Byzantine Architecture
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Nikolaos Karydis
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2016 23:17 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:40 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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