Print details Printable details


The Sacred Architecture of Byzantium: Art, Liturgy and Symbolism in Early Christian Churches

The Sacred Architecture of Byzantium: Art, Liturgy and Symbolism in Early Christian Churches
Nicholas N. Patricios

  • Hardback | In Stock | £45.00

  • Hardback | In Stock | $75.00

    add to basket


The churches of the Byzantine era were built to represent heaven on earth. Architecture, art and liturgy were intertwined in them to a degree that has never been replicated elsewhere, and the symbolism of this relationship had deep and profound meanings. Sacred buildings and their spiritual art underpinned the Eastern liturgical rites, which in turn influenced architectural design and the decoration which accompanied it. Nicholas N Patricios here offers a comprehensive survey, from the age of Constantine to the fall of Constantinople, of the nexus between buildings, worship and art. His identification of seven distinct Byzantine church types, based on a close analysis of 370 church building plans, will have considerable appeal to Byzantinists, lay and scholarly. Beyond categorizing and describing the churches themselves, which are richly illustrated with photographs, plans and diagrams, the author interprets the sacred liturgy that took place within these holy buildings, tracing the development of the worship in conjunction with architectural advances made up to the 15th century.

Focusing on buildings located in twenty-two different locations, this sumptuous book is an essential guide to individual features such as the synthronon, templon and ambo and also to the wider significance of Byzantine art and architecture.

Author Info

Nicholas N Patricios is Professor of Architecture at the University of Miami. His previous books include Kefallinia and Ithaki: A Historical and Architectural Odyssey (2002).


'This very handsomely illustrated book will be welcomed by many people interested in the art, architecture and history of Byzantium, treated here in a wide reach from Italy with special attention to Rome – to the eastern part of the empire. Employing evocative and sometimes lyrical language, the author describes and gives rich context to ecclesiastical buildings and their decoration in ways that will pull readers into an historical past that has left such powerful, ghostly traces. The author employs a novel taxonomy for these buildings and their art that opens up the whole range of building types and functions across the empire and within its cultural orbit. And the liturgical life of these buildings, so often underplayed by scholars, is brought out fully so that readers will catch the scents, sounds and wonder of that world between the lines.'
Glenn Peers, Professor of Early Medieval and Byzantine Art, The University of Texas at Austin, author of Subtle Bodies: Representing Angels in Byzantium and Sacred Shock: Framing Visual Experience in Byzantium

'Architecture takes central stage in this intriguing take on hugely important questions around the interaction of art, liturgy and symbolism in the Byzantine church. The book brings together a mass of information and detail to formulate new approaches to the classification and understanding of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture in a broad social and religious context.'
Liz James, Professor of the Art History, University of Sussex, author and editor of Light and Colour in Byzantine Art and A Companion to Byzantium

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Classical Studies

ISBN: 9781780762913
Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014
Number of Pages: 384
Height: 246
Width: 189
Illustrations: many bw, 3X16pp colour plates

Also of Interest

Guided by a Stonemason: Exploring the Cathedrals, Abbeys and Churches of Britain

Guided by a Stonemason
Thomas Maude
£10.99 | $18.00

Ibn Tulun: His Lost City and Great Mosque

Ibn Tulun
Tarek Swelim

New Book Alerts

Sign up now

Powered by Google