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The Collapse of Basilica B at Philippi, and the development of vaulted architecture in Early Byzantine Greece

Karydis, Nikolaos (2013) The Collapse of Basilica B at Philippi, and the development of vaulted architecture in Early Byzantine Greece. In: 46th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Byzantine Greece: Microcosm of Empire?, 23-25 March 2013, Birmingham, UK. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:59655)

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The massive Early Byzantine church known as 'Basilica B' at Philippi constitutes one of the rare Greek manifestations of the architectural type of the ‘domed basilica’, a type that plays a major role in the development of Byzantine church architecture. Considered to have started in the first half of the sixth century, the building was never completed: as Paul Lemerle showed in 1945, a collapse of the vaults during construction brought a premature end to the history of the domed basilica. Lemerle attributed this collapse to a defective structure. Indeed, one can easily tell that the walls and supports of the monument do not provide sufficient support for the vaults. The reasons why the architects of such an ambitious building programme committed such childish errors remain obscure.

The present paper fills this lacuna. Investigating overlooked construction details, it provides new evidence for a previously unknown building phase. Challenging Lemerle’s perception of Basilica B as a static architectural form, this study reveals older constructional layers indicative of a more complex building history. Our new knowledge of this history helps to find the reasons why the architects of Basilica B failed to come up with a robust structure. Understanding the building history of this singular church also sheds light on the conditions of the emergence of a new architectural type in Early Byzantine Greece. Comparing the phases of Building B at Philippi with the ones of contemporary monuments, this paper illuminates a the development of vaulted church architecture in Greece.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: Basilica B, Philippi, Macedonia, Greece, Early Byzantine Architecture, Vaulted Church
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Nikolaos Karydis
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2016 21:14 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:24 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Karydis, Nikolaos:
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