paradigm shifting architectures of closely related imperials


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2003.07.24 15:22
(calendrically coincidental) 25 July
I am (today) compiling more specific late antiquity events that coincide on 25 July. Here's an outline.
25 July 306: Constantius I dies at Eburacum (York), with his son Constantine at his side. Constantine is subsequently hailed Caesar by the troops.
25 July 315: Constantine's Decenalia (tenth anniversary as emperor--note Romans counted 25 July 306 as Constantine's year one; they didn't count with a zero) at Rome. The Arch of Constantine is dedicated. Constantine is at Rome 21 July to 27 September [close to dates of reenactment season].
25 July 325: Constantine's Vicennalia at Nicomedia, coinciding with the end of the 1st Nicean Council; the Nicene Creed is published. I really like how Eusebius describes this occasion within "How Constantine entertained the Bishops on the occasion of his Vicennalia," chapter XV of Vita Constantini Book III at newadvent -- I sense a pleasing hint of punch drunkenness, as in "talk about (finally!) being at an a-list party."
25 July 326: The closing ceremonies of Constantine's 20th jubilee at Rome. Not a very happy occasion because Constantine had (to have) his first born son Crispus Caesar killed a few months earlier. Helena('s boat) was late getting (her) to Italy; she was bringing a piece of the Cross with her. Helena died (at Naples?) or was buried (at Rome) 28 July--if Helena was buried 28 July, then perhaps she died 25 July, coinciding not only Constantine's anniversary, but also dying on the same day as her husband, Constantius. Perhaps it is just a bit too coincidental for both of Constantine's parents to have died on 25 July. Making matters worse, the death (via probable suicide) of Fausta, Constantine's second wife (but not the mother of Crispus), may well also have occurred at Rome 25 July. Constantine was at Rome 18 July to 3 August; Constantine never again returned to Rome.
Sometime before 3 August 326: A law of silence regarding Helena and her finding of the True Cross is instituted and strictly enforced.
After this, the two surviving senior imperials (at least in this author's estimation) were Constantine and Eutropia (Constantine's mother-in-law). Eutropia may well henceforth be responsible for organizing and supervising the conversion of Helena's private chapel at the Sessorian Palace into what is today Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. From there, Eutropia may well have traveled to Trier to oversee the destruction of the Imperial Palace (last of Crispus Caesar) there making way for the subsequent construction of Trier's enormous double basilica. And, thereafter, Eutropia returned to the Holy Land, where she, reenacting Helena, initiated the construction of the first Christian basilica at Hebron.

2003.07.26 14:28
sources re a law of silence
ps 2003.07.26 Until recently, I have remained curious as to how a law of silence was actually issued, yet I never expected to actually see the workings of a "law of silence" first hand. I seems that laws of silence are simply instituted via forbidding any further discussion of a given subject.

2003.07.27 11:23
Re: designing GOP rhetoric
It seems that there is not much more than one degree of separation between
"if one questions the administration's policies one "gives ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends.""
and a law of silence.
Fortunately, the US Constitution [written and signed in Philadelphia] legally grants freedom of speech, which, one could say, is the exact legal opposite of a legalized silencing.
It appears that the punishment for breaking a law of silence, at least in late-antiquity/imperial times, was extreme exile, but not capital punishment. Or perhaps the punishment was somewhat tailored to match the status of the silence breaker.
St. Ambrose, in the late 300s, broke a silence and he succeeded in not being punished for it. [Boy am I glad I went to grade school, received Communion and Confirmation, and still live just down the street from St. Ambrose parish in Philadelphia.]
Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, (appears to have) broke a law of silence, and he thus lost his high position. Here's (some of) what I wrote at the late antiquity list 18 August 2001:
"Last night, in reviewing the case of the 'downfall' of Eustathius, bishop of Antioch, and it's seeming connection to his having said something about Helena, it is mentioned that Eustathius was anti-Arian while Helena seems to have been pro-Arian, and thus maybe Eustathius said something along these lines. The fall of Eustathius occurred sometime 326-328, and is one of the factors that leads modern scholars to believe that Helena was in the Holy Land/East during that period. I think that Eustathius did fall because he said something about Helena, but that his real crime was that he said something about Helena after her death in Rome July 326. In other words, Eustathius broke the 'silence' regarding Helena and the Cross that was somehow enforced by Constantine, and Eustathius' losing his see is a clear example to those living then under Constantine of what will happen to you if you too break the 'silence'. Interestingly, it is Athanasius [twice disputed bishop] of Alexandria that first tells us of the Eustathius/Helena connection, and he was also a supporter of Eustathius. Athanasius was exiled to Trier (where he might not be heard so well?) during the latter years of Constantine's life." Pope Saint Martin I (the first) would not sign (in the 650s) the "Typus" [aka the TYPE, a law of silence forbidding any further discussion of Monothelitism].
an excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia online:
Upon his arrival in Constantinople Martin was left for several hours on deck exposed to the jests and insults of a curious crowd of spectators. Towards evening he was brought to a prison called Prandearia and kept in close and cruel confinement for ninety-three days, suffering from hunger, cold and thirst. All this did not break his energy and on 19 December he was brought before the assembled senate where the imperial treasurer acted as judge. Various political charges were made, but the true and only charge was the pope's refusal to sign the "Typus". He was then carried to an open space in full view of the emperor and of a large crowd of people. These were asked to pass anathema upon the pope to which but few responded. Numberless indignities were heaped upon him, he was stripped of nearly all his clothing, loaded with chains, dragged through the streets of the city and then again thrown into the prison of Diomede, where he remained for eighty five days. Perhaps influenced by the death of Paul, Patriarch of Constantinople, Constans did not sentence the pope to death, but to exile. He was put on board a ship, 26 March, 654 (655) and arrived at his destination on 15 May. Cherson was at the time suffering from a great famine. The venerable pontiff here passed the remaining days of his life. He was buried in the church of Our Lady, called BlachdernŠ, near Cherson, and many miracles are related as wrought by St Martin in life and after death. The greater part of his relics are said to have been transferred to Rome, where they repose in the church of San Martino ai Monti. Of his letters seventeen are extant in P.L., LXXXVII, 119.

2003.08.28 10:37
Re: FW: Evolutionary theory and architecture
Alex wrote: If I line up a series of photographs each showing a building from a different period of Western architectural history ([G]reek, Roman, Gothic, Rena[i]ssance, Baroque, Romantic, Modern & the diversity of things Postmodern) the first thing I would notice was that they were all different in character and that there were no sudden stylistic 'jumps'.
Steve asks: Why just Western architecture? Excluding non-Western architecture isn't a good way to promote what appears to be (presented as a potential) universal theory.
Why just (European) Pagan, Christian (actually more Roman Catholic than anything), and then agnostic architectures? What about Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Incan, Mayan, Jewish, Protestant, etc. architectures?
There is a big gap between Roman and Gothic, about 800 years of European/Western architecture not listed. Is this period of 'Western' architecture actually a bit too Eastern/Byzantine for consideration here?
Why did the end of Pagan architecture within the Roman Empire coincide with the beginning of Christian architecture of the Roman Empire? The answer lies precisely with the actions of Helena and Constantine. Helena was the architectural master planner, and Constantine was the one that covered Christianity with a heavy legal(izing) blanket. Together, from 312 to 326, they manifest a paradigm shift in ('Roman') architecture and culture that is still hardly equaled. Then, by himself from late 326 to 337, Constantine essentially began the Byzantine Empire, which was a purposeful split from the 'West'.
One aspect of Constantinian architecture that has yet to be investigated is the influence of the architecture of early 4th century Treves (Constantine's imperial capital before Constantinople, today's Trier, Germany) on the subsequent Early Christian architecture of Rome proper, and later on Romanesque architecture, (which indeed flourished in the geographical area of which Treves was/is center). During the 4th century, there was an incredible link/exchange between Treves and 'the East', that is, the part of the Roman Empire that is today Turkey and the Middle East in general.
Paul wrote: Architects don't view the process of architecture as one of communication--of receiving and transmitting influences. They view architecture as form and understand the process as formal organization.
Steve writes: I, as an architect, indeed view a process of architecture as one of communication--of receiving and transmitting influences, hence Quondam - A Virtual Museum of Architecture where (its) architecture is the delivery of content.

Re: FW Evolutionary theory and architecture
Aside from strictly religious (temple and church) architecture, the case can be made that classical Roman architecture, in general, reached its climax during the reign of Maxentius, and ended 28 October 312, when Maxentius lost his life in battle with Constantine at the Milvian Bridge--Maxentius became (usurpative) emperor of Italy and North Africa 28 October 306, and Constantine attributes his Christian conversion to events that occurred the eve of 28 October 312. The architecture built in Rome under Maxentius is of the utmost refinement, e.g., the Circus of Maxentius manifests the most precisely designed of all Roman circuses. [Incidentally, the Circus of Maxentius plays a key role in the manifestation of two Ichnographia Campus Martius.] Records indicate that it may have been only a month after Constantine's triumph at the Milvian Bridge that the first Christian Basilica in Rome, first named after Constantine and today St. John Lateran, began construction. The architecture of Rome executed under Constantine (312-330) further includes (at least), St. Peter's at the Vatican, separate Basilicas of St. Lawrence, Agnes, and Peter et Marcellinus, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (which is all that remains today of Elegabalus' Sessorian Palace, where Helena took up subsequent residence in Rome), the Arch of Constantine (which reused pieces of the Arch of Trajan), the Baths of Constantine, the Baths of Helena, and the Mausoleum of Helena (whose ruins exhibit construction very similar to the ruins of the great Constantinian Bath of Treves (Trier, 306-312), which were the largest Roman Baths outside Rome).

2003.09.01 14:09
Re: Evolutionary theory and architecture
Regarding paradigm, the dictionary definition is that of being a model, which is not exactly the same as a "meme". For example, the shift in antique Roman culture from Paganism to Christianity is a paradigm shift that occurred largely because of the legalizing of Christianity and the outlawing of Paganism. One could say that Christianity spread within the antique world via "meme", which in modern terms would be called evangelism, but the cultural shift from Paganism to Christian is very much based on legal paradigms.

2003.09.10 10:21
death of Leni in the thick of reenactment season
from Butler's Lives of the Saints:
14 September: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, commonly called Holy Cross Day
On this day the Western church celebrates, as we learn from the Roman Martyrology and the lessons at Matins, the veneration of the great relics of Christ's cross at Jerusalem after the Emperor Heraclitus had recovered them from the hands of the Persians, who had carried them off in 614, fifteen years before. According to the story, the emperor determined to carry the precious burden upon his shoulders into the city, with the utmost pomp; but stopped suddenly at the entrance to the Holy Places and found he was not able to go forward. The patriarch Zachary, who walked by his side, suggested to him that his imperial splendour was hardly in agreement with the humble appearance of Christ when He bore His cross through the streets of that city. Thereupon the emperor laid aside his purple and his crown, put on simple clothes, went along barefoot with the procession, and devoutly replaced the cross where it was before. It was still in the silver case in which it had been carried away, and the patriarch and clergy, finding the seals whole, opened the case with the key and venerated its contents. The original writers always speak of this portion of the cross in the plural number, calling it the pieces of the wood of the true cross. This solemnity was carried out with the most devout thanksgiving, the relics were lifted up for the veneration of the people, and many sick were miraculously cured.
In the Eastern church the feast of the World-wide Exaltation of the Holy and Life-giving Cross is one of the greatest of the year, and principally commemorates the finding of the cross and (on the previous day) the dedication of Constantine's churches at the Holy Sepulcher and Calvary. The pilgrim Etheria in the fourth century tells us that these dedications were fixed for the same day as that on which the cross was found; and in early times in the East the feasts of the cross were connected more with the finding, the dedications, and a vision accorded to St. Cyril of Jerusalem in 351, rather than with the recovery by Heraclitus. It would appear certain the September 14 was the original date of the commemoration of the finding even at Rome, but that the Exaltation under Heraclitus took its place and the Finding was fixed for May 3 [coinciding with the birth of Aldo Rossi, 1931, and is a feast now removed since Pope John XXIII], according with Gallican usage. Mgr Duchesne states that this Holy Cross day in September was a festival of Palestinian origin, "on the anniversary of the dedication of the basilica erected by Constantine on the site of Calvary and the Holy Sepulcher," and he adds, "This dedication festival was celebrated in 335 by the bishops attending the Council of Tyre, who had pronounced Athanasius the sentence of deposition. There was associated with it also the commemoration of the discovery of the true cross," which was "exalted" before the assembled people.
If the True Cross was indeed discovered 14 September, it would have been 14 September 325, and if Helena Augusta was indeed present at the Finding, that means she had traveled from Nicomedia to Jerusalem in the time between 25 July (Constantine's 20th Jubilee celebrated at Nicomedia) and 14 September (almost seven weeks time). Given that Helena was now an official Empress and had access to the Imperial treasury equal to Constantine himself, she certainly had the means to travel with the utmost efficiency. The travel time would have to had been somewhat shorter, however, for a temple of Venus, erected at Calvary under Hadrian, was first needed to have been demolished in order for the Finding of the True Cross to have occurred during demolition/excavations in preparation of the forthcoming basilicas. The question is: could Helena have traveled from Nicomedia to Jerusalem in about a month, and then could significant demolition of a temple (under Imperial order) have been accomplished within three weeks?

2003.09.27 13:09
Re: Good Art.
ps 2003.09.27
What remains of Elegabalus' Sessorian Palace today is the church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. Helena took up residence in Rome within the Sessorian Palace late 312-326, and she brought back soil and relics from Calvary for placement within the Sessorian Palace, so those that couldn't go to Jerusalem could made a pilgrimage there instead.
I wonder if Elegabalus was ever in the same space, and, if he was, I wonder what he did there.

2003.09.28 14:31
Re: Good Art.
Along with 'calendrical coincidence' and the sort of augury that sometimes seems to dwell there, it is the odd reciprocal relationship between Paganism and Christianity that likewise keeps the interest going. For example, the behind-the-scenes goings on of the 20th century American Roman Catholic Church are not too different than the ritualistic practices of the most licentious Pagan cults (of at least late antiquity). Ironically, while Christianity was being legalized under Constantine, it was then also that the most licentious Pagan cults (and this for the most part meant those with homosexual practices/rituals) were being made illegal.
Helena is credited with 'building' the Basilica of the Nativity and the Basilica of the Ascension (now long demolished and replaced by a mosque nearby). Regadless of the silence of fourth century historians as to Helena having had anything to do with the building of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, her presence in the Holy Land during the same time and as an 'architect' points to her active role at Golgotha as well. (Of course, Constantine as ruling male gets credit above everyone else for doing all this 'architecting' of Christianity.)
The site of the Holy Sepulcher in 325 AD was covered over by a Temple to Venus erected during the reign of Hadrian. Legend has it that the True Cross was found subsequent to the dismantling of the Temple of Venus. It is well known that many early Christian churches incorporated materials, mostly columns, from prior structures. In early 2002, when Palestinian fighters were staked out in the Nativity compound at Bethlehem, I read in Newsweek how six pink columns from the original (Helenian) Basilica of the Nativity are still part of the architecture there. I wonder if those pink columns came from a quondam Temple of Venus.

2003.10.24 15:06
Jesus struck by lightening
It might be of interest to compare the present lightening strike story with the lightening strike(s) that (reportedly and/or supposedly) ended the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem circa 360 AD during the reign of Julian the Apostate.

2003.10.24 16:34
Jesus struck by lightening
And on the rebuilding of the Temple, the occurrence of earthquakes also (suppossedly) kept the workmen away from the site. Christian zealotry or not, the rebuilding work ceased, and to this day the Temple remains destroyed.
Christian zealotry during the mid fourth century was indeed feirce, and there is at least one ducumentation of Christian terrorism against a Jewish synagogue during the reign of Theodosius (late 4th cent.). Bear in mind, however, that the Christian mission of the period was much more focused on destroying Paganism, a mission, moreover, that is still exercised today. It is the Pagan temples of the world that Christianity really obliterated.



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