paradigm shifting architectures of closely related imperials


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2001.11.13 10:08
regarding Eutropia
[The following email was sent to me personally, but I feel it beneficial to post it and my reply at lt-antiq as well.]
I'm a bit puzzled as to why you regard Eutropia as one of C's "dearest friends." It is certainly true that C's letter to Macarius on the Construction of the Mamre church offers high praise for Eutropia and her advice on the Mamre site, but the letter is so larded with imperial rhetoric that it would be foolish to treat it as reflexive of Constantine's personal feelings.
Speaking against any true friendship is of course the fact that Constantine had worked the death of Eutropia's husband, son and daugther. Regardless of how she chose to patch up things with the emperor - and here she would have had little choice as long as she too wished to stay alive - this is hardly the sort of relationship one could characterize as "dear friendship."
Noel Lenski

2001.12.04 11:36
Piranesi Prison dates, etc.
I don't like having to do this (because it implies that some editor is not really doing their job), but it must be pointed out that Joseph Rykwert made (at least) one factual mistake within The Seduction of Place (2000). On page 150, Rykwert states:
"The attempt to provide a mimetic "condensation" of another place and time is not new. Centuries ago pilgrimages to remote and sacred places were replicated for those who could not afford to leave home. The fourteen [S]tations of the [C]ross, which you may find in any Roman Catholic church, are a miniturized and atrophied version of the pilgrimage around holy places in Jerusalem."
The above is complete disinformation. The Stations of the Cross do not represent a "pilgrimage around holy places in Jerusalem." The Stations of the Cross are a ritual reenactment of what Christ experienced on the day of His crucifixion.
Interestingly, the example that Rykwert should have put forth is that of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, the church in Rome built within the Sessorian Palace, the imperial home of Helena Augusta, which today houses Christianity's most valuable relics (of the "Stations of the Cross"). Additionally, Santa Croce (which means Holy Cross) is built upon ground brought back by Helena from Golgotha, site of Christ's crucifixion. Santa Croce is indeed one of Rome's primal pilgrimage churches.
"Virtual Gerusalemme" will be a major feature within "Theatrics Times Two."

2001.12.04 11:55
design of war?!?!
Today, 4 December, is the feast of St. Barbara.
The following is the last paragraph from "St. Barbara" in Butler's Lives of the Saints:
"So is told in Caxton's version of the Golden Legend the story of one of the most popular saints of the middle ages. There is, however, considerable doubt of the existence of a virgin martyr called Barbara and it is quite certain that her legend is spurious. There is no mention of her in the early martyrologies, her legend is not older than the seventh century, and her cultus did not spread till the ninth. Various versions differ both as to the time and place of her martyrdom: it is located in Tuscany, Rome, Antioch, Helispolis, and Nicomedia. St. Barbara is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and that she is invoked against lightening and fire and, by association, as patroness of gunners, military architects, and miners is attributed to the nature of the fate that overtook her father. The tower represented in her pictures and her directions to the builders of the bath-house have caused her to be regarded as a patroness of architects, builders, and stonemasons; and her prayer before her execution accounts for the belief that she is an especial protectress of those in danger of dying without the sacraments."
When I first read the above almost a year ago, I couldn't help but be struck by the many similarities of Barbara's "story" and some of the occurrences within the actual life of St. Helena. It makes me wonder if Helena's "story" at sometime and in some areas morphed into the legend of St. Barbara. For example, Helena was for many years in "exile" when she was divorced from Constantine's father, there was a great bath in Rome named Therme Heleniana, and St. Helena too is the patroness of miners. In any case, it is interesting how saints, especially those that are not believed to have actually existed, manage to manifest a true "double theater" of belief versus (accepted) reality.

2001.12.05 20:03
virtual Gerusalemme
Images derived from a 3d computer model of the Basilica Hierusalem, the original Santa Croce in Gerusalemme are now available. The model is based on a plan of the basilica as featured in the Corpus basilicarum Christianarum Romae, and on a schematic reconstruction featured in Krautheimer's Early Christian And Byzantine Architecture.
Seeing how Santa Croce is indeed a "mimetic 'condensation' of another place and time," I am now curious if there are other earlier examples of such "reenactionary" buildings/places. Or does the Basilica Hierusalem actually set the precedent for this type of building in Western civilizations? Any clarifications or suggestions would be most appreciated.
You will note that I have dated the Basilica Hierusalem as circa late 326. This indicates my contention that the basilca came into being after Helena's death (circa 1 August 326), and that the basilica was constructed (perhaps under the guidance of Eutropia) to both honor Helena as well as the relics she (Helena) had just brought to Rome. This thinking coincides with what happened at the "the house of Crispus" in Trier after his murder/death. The Imperial house at Trier was demolished, and an enormous double basilica was erected in its place (and there are still today two churches at Trier on the double basilica site).
In terms of design, the double columns of the Basilica Hierusalem seem to have been "reenacted" at the mausoleum of Constantina (today's Santa Costanza, Rome). Constantina was one of the daughters of Constantine, and the grand-daughter of both Helena and Eutropia. Continuing with the double theme, the typology of double basilicas in Christian architecture is extemely rare, and those that exist(ed) appear to have been first constructed within the decade or so before and after 326.

St. Ambrose, 8 December 2001
I went to the Free Library Central to record data on S. Croce in the Corpus B. I got all I needed; it is a very good documentation. Coincidentally found The Geometry of Love, which is all about St. Agnes Outside the Walls; a great book/find.
At home, thought of the likely reversal of only women allowed in the Helena Chapel on 20 March.

2001.12.13 00:15
TYPUS against Monothelitism
Can anyone suggest a good resource(s) on the Typus of 648, the degree issued by Constans II basically against any further discussion of Monotheletism? Also, does anyone know of an English translation of the Typus?

damnatio memoriae - chapter
The damnatio memoriae chapter could essentially contain a crossing-out of those texts that are no longer valid because of my work and interpretations regarding Helena and Piranesi's Ichnographia of Il Campo Marzio.
Clearly demonstrate that (other) texts are different from my texts, and also show why and how the differences are relevant. Sometimes it may well be that both Damnatio memoriae and palimpsest are the operatives.
There are also all the lt-antiq dm letters, and those dms that happened to me personally (mostly at design-l and archipol, and of course lt-antiq itself).

2002.01.16 18:44
more on Ambrose and Theodosius, etc.
The first paragraph below was sent as part of another email post on a list primarily made up of architects. Following this paragraph are further comments addressed to lt-antiq listers.
For those interested in what may well be the turning point in Western civilization when the Church began wielding more power than the ruling Imperials, see /0291.htm and the two pages that follow. These pages describe the double theater of power between Ambrose (Bishop of Milan) and the Emperor Theodosius during the later years of the fourth century. Two events are here described, a Christian terrorist attack on a Synagogue, and a brutal massacre of over 7000 innocent people within a stadium/circus at Thessalonica. There is even a 'calendrical coincidence' involving the 18th of August. Theodosius was the last emperor to solely rule over the entire empire, and during his reign Christianity became the empire's official and only religion. It is within Ambrose's obituary of Theodosius that the [his]story of Helena's finding of the True Cross is for the first time spoken of publicly after almost sixty years of imperially enforced silence.
I am become 95% (if not virtually completely) convinced that the "silence" surrounding Helena's finding of the True Cross was manifest by a Constantinian "command". Although I have long held to this hypothesis, there just wasn't enough circumstantial evidence to allow me to make a case. This changed however when I became aware of the TYPE of Constantine III (who is more commonly known as Constans II), a mid-7th century law that forbade further discussion of the possible one or two wills and energies of Christ. Constans II had an empire that was becoming interiorly divided over theology, while the rise of Islam was now a definite threat to the empire from without. The TYPE was essentially issued to strengthen the unity of the empire from within, and thus presenting a stronger front to invading Muslims. Interestingly, Byzantine chronicles never mention the TYPE, and it is only from Lateran records that the TYPE and the jist of its contents is known. Of course, it is impossible to see the TYPE as a precedent to the "silence" ordered by Constantine I, but it does at least validate the notion that 'laws of silence' have existed.
[There are actually a number of uncanny (and even inverted) coincidences between the reign of Constantine I and Constantine III, not the least of which is how Christianity under Constantine I became the oppressor of Paganism, while Christianity under Constantine III became the victim of Islam. There is also much similarity of 'hair-splitting' within the debates of Arianism and those of Monotheletism. These aspects and more will be a prominant part of "Theatrics Times Two", the second chapter of EPICENTRAL - .] If there indeed was a "law of silence" issued by Constantine I regarding Helena and her finding of the True Cross, then it was Ambrose that 'officially' (and perhaps most intentionly) broke this law when he spoke of this subject publicly as he delivered the obituary of Theodosius. What makes this supposition even more interesting is that Ambrose had already been actively breaking down the core of imperial power, as the above mentioned episodes between Ambrose and Theodosius clearly demonstrate. And upon reflection of what Ambrose actually accomplished in terms of greatly strengthening the power of the Church largely at the expence of imperial power, it occurred to me just why Constantine I ordered the silence. Given the fact that Cross was discovered within the same year that Constantine had to kill his own son, and also seems somewhat responsible for the death of his wife, to then allow public acknowledgement of the True Cross and the 'Higher' power it implied would only really mean Constantine's own demise, and hence the demise of the entire imperial power structure (which up to this point Constantine worked very hard to reestablish).
If you believe that there was an enforced silence regarding Helena's discovery of the True Cross, then you should also believe that the silence worked in terms of keeping imperial rule firmly established. That is, until Ambrose and Theodosius.

2002.01.17 12:50
1606 years ago today (in Milan)
The following excerpt is from F. Homes Dudden, The Life and Times of St. Ambrose (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1935), pp. 438-9.
Meanwhile for the Emperor at Milan the sands were rapidly running out. The anxiety and fatigue of the recent campaign had proved too severe even for his strong constitudon. He was taken ill with a dropsy. A spell of exceptionally inclement weather may have aggravated his malady. Earthquake shocks were felt, incessant fogs shrouded the city in gloom, and for weeks together the rain dripped monotonously. Amid this melancholy dusk and dampness Theodosius grew steadily weaker, and, recollecting the prophecy of John of Lycopolis, became convinced that he would not recover. His remaining energy was applied to the business of providing for the future of the Empire. He arranged that Arcadius should rule the Eastern part and Honorius the Western, and nominated Stilicho though not formally by a legal instrument--as guardian of the two inexperienced Augusti. For his sons he dictated an instruction, in which he earnestly admonished them to be zealous for religion; 'for it is by this', he said, 'that wars are ended, victories are obtained, and peace is secured'. He gave directions for the proclamation of an amnesty to those who had taken arms against him in the recent war, and ordered the recession of a tax which he had promised, but had hitherto neglected, to abolish. By the time that these matters were settled, the Emperor's strength was almost exhausted. The pleasurable excitement of welcoming his younger son on his arrival in Milan produced a temporary rally. Indeed he felt so much better that he gave orders for an exhibition of games in the Hippodrome, and himself watched the morning races from the imperial box. After the dinner-interval, however, he became violently ill, and sent Honorius to represent him at the races in the afternoon. He died in the course of the ensuing night, on the 17th of January, A.D. 395, being then (as seems probable) only in the fiftieth year of his age, and having reigned sixteen years all but two days. Ambrose was with him at the end, and testifies that his last thoughts were for the welfare of the Churches.
It was decided that the corpse should be conveyed to Constantinople, and there interred in the ornate Church of the Apostles. [Here Theodosius was buried on the 8th of November.] First, however, it was embalmed, and for forty days lay in state on a lofty purple-draped couch in the atrium of the palace at Milan. On the fortieth day--Sunday the 25th of February, A.D. 395--a solemn Eucharist was celebrated in the cathedrals and, in the presence of Honorius and the general staff, Ambrose pronounced the funeral oration.

2002.01.17 16:48
more on Ambrose and Theodosius, etc.
ps (17 January 2002)
I found out about the TYPE quite by accident. Just over a month ago I was at Philadelphia's Free Library's main branch looking up information on Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (which was in one of the volumes published by the Vatican entitled Basilicum something something something.) The book I wanted had to be gotten from a non-public section of the library, and while I was waiting I noticed a book within the new art books display -- The Geometry Of Love. It turned out that this book is all about the church St. Agnes Outside the Walls, Rome, and I borrowed the book. Although St. Agnes Outside the Walls is one of the original Constantinian Basilicas from the early 4th century, the church was rebuilt under Pope Honorius in the middle of the 7th century. Honorius was pope when Constantine III issued the TYPE, and this historic episode is related briefly in The Geometry of Love.
Just to make public note of it, it was actually during my doing research on St. Agnes (the person) on 1 April 1999 that first led me to St. Helena, a person who up until then I knew absolutely nothing about.
1 April 1999 was Holy Thursday, and a few times that day I though of a departed friend, R. David Schimitt, who died 1 April 1995 (which was Good Friday that year). Dave was an architect, and during our school years together he did an analysis of Santa Costanza, Rome, the mausoleum of Constantine's daughter Constantina which was attached to the original Basilica of St. Agnes (outside the walls). Dave was also a hemophiliac, received HIV tainted blood in 1981(!), and ultimately died of AIDS. I still occassionally see Dave's wife and daughter.
This morning while doing further reading on St. Ambrose I found out the following:
"On his last day, which was Good Friday, he remained continously in prayer from five o'clock in the afternoon. He lay with his outstretched out in the form of the cross; his lips moved but no words were audible. Hour after hour went by. ...
"Ambrose died very early in the morning of Easter Eve, the 4th of April, A.D. 397, being about fifty-eight years old, and having governed the Church of Milan for twenty-three years and four months.



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