Estudios bizantinos, 2 (2014)
El incensario bizantino “de Almería”. Consideraciones acerca de la importación de bronces “coptos” en la Hispania meridional durante la Antigüedad Tardía
Jaime Vizcaíno Sánchez
This paper studies an incense burner (thuribulum) preserved at the Museo Arqueológico Nacional of Madrid (MAN). This bronze censer joined the collection in the sixties of the 20th century, being its archaeological context unknown. The spanish archaeologist M. Almagro Gorbea published a complete study of this object, suggesting that it might have been discovered in the western part of Andalusia, probably in Almería, and proposing its Coptic origin (6th-7th centuries). The contribution explores the origin, date and cultural adscription of this important element of the Christian church furnishing (instrumenta liturgica or utensilia ecclesiae, following the texts). Moreover, it compares and contrasts the Madrid censer and other similar objects produced in Early Byzantium. It also analyses its liturgical function and reviews some methodological aspects regarding its role as archaeological prototype. It finally highlights the need to discuss further wrong certainties built up according to frequent uncritical repetitions.
El monasterio de Apa Sabino en Antinópolis: su organización administrativa interna
María Jesús Albarrán Martínez
The Monastery of Apa Sabinos, situated in Antinopolis, in Middle Egypt, offers a bilingual archive containing more than thirty Greek and Coptic papyri, mostly unpublished. The study of these papyri as a whole sheds light on various aspects of the administrative apparatus of this monastic centre, from the end of the 5th up to the 7th century AD. This article focuses on the administrative internal organization of the monastery, based on a hierarchy leaded by the superior, seconded by one or several assistants and a steward. Over the time, an increasingly diversified documentation reveals that the monastery developed an ever more complex administrative structure and acquired a legal personality.
L'immagine della città di Roma nel mondo arabo-islamico: tradizione del classico e periferie della memoria
The Rome of the Arabs is, in part, the result of a literary misunderstanding, a city imagined as real but in fact imaginary; such a representation did not come from the “wilder imaginations” of the Arabs, nor from a philological misunderstanding, that is, a presumed Arabic confluence of the names of the two great capitals – Rome and Constantinople – whose names and representations always remain, in any case, entirely distinct and separate. Arabic Rome is a real city that buried its historical, topographical and cultural meaning with a single idea, the renovatio or rather translatio Romae, in other words, the political ideology that wanted Constantinople as the New, and sometimes only, Rome. The present study analyses the use of the lemma “Rome” in the Awḍaḥ al-masālik ilà ma‘rifat al-buldān wa-l-mamālik (The clearer itinerary for the understanding of places and countries), a geographical dictionary compiled by Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī al-Būrsawī, better known as Ibn Sibāhī-zāde (m. 997 H./1589 A.D.). The analysis of this later description allows for unknown details to be retreived and moreover permits one to see how, in the specific field of Arabo-Islamic geography, the authority of tradition is passed down through the centuries, prevailing over every possible direct knowledge.
Tres piezas bizantinas con funciones apotropaicas conservadas en el Museo Arqueológico Nacional: dos enkolpia y un “sello” bivalvo inédito
Sergio Vidal Álvarez
This paper focuses on two byzantine enkolpia and an unpublished byzantine “seal” from the Numismatics Department of the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid. Both enkolpia (n.º inv. 61742 and 1973/84/1-3) and the bivalbe “seal” (n.º inv. 55152) seem to have been produced in Constantinople and Eastern Anatolia in the Macedonian period. All of them show interesting Greek inscriptions and in the case of the enkolpia the usual representations of the Crucifixion.
Byzantium and the First Crusade: Three Avenues of Approach
A recurring theme in the historiography of the First Crusade is that of the Byzantine emperor asking Pope Urban to send a small contingent against the Turks and receiving instead vast armies over which he had no control. The crusade was thus completely unexpected and the emperor played no part in its genesis. Recent work has challenged that thesis and further approaches have emerged. A second theory argues that this was a novel departure in foreign policy. The emperor was in fact deeply involved in the origins of the First Crusade and played a leading role in shaping its ideals and goals. The third approach is more modest in scope: it argues that he was certainly involved but this was no unprecedented innovation, simply the extension of a tried and tested response to crisis. This response involved seeking outside allies, providing them with a financial incentive and even bringing a spiritual element into the agreement. It was the use of the last of these standard tactics that was to lead to misunderstandings between the Byzantine emperor and the crusaders.
Anna Komnene and her Sources for Military Affairs in the Alexiad
With the intensive focus on military affairs in the Alexiad provoking contentious theories and much debate, this article investigates more closely the sources of information available to Anna Komnene for her coverage of war during the reign of Alexios Komnenos. Though Anna discloses more about her sources than most Byzantine historians, it is argued that some of these claims, particularly those regarding her own capacity to witness events and converse with veteran participants, are somewhat disingenuous, intended to illustrate her adherence to traditional modes of inquiry and thus gain credence for her history. Without discounting the contribution of oral traditions of storytelling to the Alexiad, the study favours the growing consensus that Anna was more reliant on written material, especially campaign dispatches and military memoirs.
‘A living portrait of Cato’: Self-fashioning and the classical past in John Tzetzes’ Chiliads
The aim of this article is to examine the creative ways in which John Tzetzes (c.1110 – after 1160) uses the figure of Cato the Elder within his Chiliads. In appropriating Cato’s care for his son’s education to his own pedagogical relationship with his father, Tzetzes departs significantly from Plutarch’s original (Life of Cato Maior). This recreation leads him, as I argue, to engage with notions of Hellenism in twelfth-century Byzantium, to uncover his anxieties stemming from the oppressive feeling of poverty, and to castigate current social conditions that irritated him, for instance the corruption of the ecclesiastical establishment. I additionally cast light on Tzetzes’ scholarly inventiveness; that is manifested in the way he infuses his own self-portrait with Cato’s qualities in an attempt to exonerate it from public censure.
De Oriente a Occidente. La leyenda bizantina de la Passio Imaginis en el siglo XV en la Corona de Aragón
Carlos Espí Forcén
The Passio Imaginis legend played an important role during the II Council of Nicaea in 787 to defend the miraculous status of images against iconoclasts. The conclusions of Nicaea were rejected by pope Hadrian I and by the intellectuals of the Carolingian court. Nonetheless, by the 12th century the work of John of Damascus was translated in Western Europe and Christian images gradually assumed the theory of transitus, i. e. an image could be invaded by its prototype and behave like if it were the person depicted on it. The assumption of this concept caused a renewed interest in the Passio Imaginis legend and it was therefore represented on some 15th-century altarpieces in the Crown of Aragon. On the one hand, it helped to reinforce the status of the crucifix as a container of the real presence of Jesus similarly to the Eucharist; but, on the other hand, it had fatal consequences for the communities of conversos in 15th century Spain.
La Geografía de Tolomeo en un impreso anotado por Nicolás Múrmuris propiedad de Diego Hurtado de Mendoza
Paula Caballero Sánchez
Among other volumes of the same work, the Spanish humanist Diego Hurtado de Mendoza possessed the editio princeps of Ptolemy’s Geography, printed in Basilea by Froben (1533) and now preserved with the rest of his library at the Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de El Escorial with the signature 117.VII.19. This printed book is singular for containing many scholia and corrections on the text added by Nikolaos Murmuris, a Greek scribe that copied completely or partially twelve manuscripts for Mendoza between 1451 and 1453. The analysis and the collatio of the scholia and the corrections added by Murmuris to the printed volume have allowed to identify its source: a Vatican codex (Vat. gr. 176) containing the commentary composed by Nikephoros Gregoras and Isaak Argyros on Ptolemy’s Geography.