Spolia in Fortifications: Turkey, Syria and North Africa



Download 0.75 Mb.
Page4/11
Date conversion16.05.2016
Size0.75 Mb.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11

Antique Models for Spolia Fortifications
To understand the reasons for the premium placed on spolia in the Middle Ages, and to understand their reuse in mediaeval military structures, we must first turn our attention briefly to the models the spolia-builders were imitating. In the Greek and Roman world, city and fortress walls (and indeed the masonry walls of other monuments) frequently have a secondary function, which is to impress the visitor in the same way as the monuments contained within them. Like other monuments, they are symbols of civic pride, and reflections of the wealth and prestige of the cities they enclose and protect206. This conclusion is supported not only by the extreme care with which many of them have been constructed - a care which has nothing to do with structural solidity, but much to do with refinement - but also by opinions of antique authors. As Aristotle remarked, the wall should contribute to the embellishment of the city.207 The same concern with making a good impression continues throughout the Middle Ages208.
The concept of luxurious art and of its main materials (marble, and massive blocks of stone) as an important arm of the propaganda of the state - state art - has a long life. Although a full account would start with the city-fortresses of Mycenae or Tiryns (or perhaps further East, with the Hittites or Persians), and although Pericles’ beautification of Athens (not the walls, but rather the temples) provides the most blatant example of the political use of art, there are plentiful examples of Greek and Roman walls as works of art in their own right - constructed, that is, with more care than was needed merely for solidity or defence209. Winter210 traces this aesthetic trend from the 5 century onwards, beginning in Ionia, and strengthening in the Hellenistic period. Aesthetics (rather than earthquake protection) are his suggestion for the use of polygonal and trapezoidal walling over plain ashlar; and he sees the use of complex surface ornament (and even architectural orders on towers) as confirming the place of the walls as the architectural facade for the whole city, rather than simple defensive ramparts. From the Hellenistic period, Pergamum provides the touchstone for the use of art and architecture as carriers of a political message; for the whole of the upper city buildings, sculptures and general opulence, were intended as a military – and hence political - statement of the achievements of the reigning dynasty, and designed to be admired from a distance as well as from nearby, as they “marched” in terraces down the high hill of the acropolis.
If classical Greek and Hellenistic walls are things of beauty in themselves, without any applied decorationth, and stone the usual material (excepting Euromos), later walls are built to a similar ethos211, and often aim at a similar but enhanced effect by introducing pilasters and columns, friezes and cornices and even reliefs, as at Sillyon, Perge, Isaura or Paestum212. In late Roman times, this concern for decoration can involve the decoration of gates with marble spolia and with fountains (as at Perge), or even with incorporating triumphal arches as actual gates in the wall (as was done at Patara or, in Italy, at Benevento). Gates and walls were symbolic as well as functional for the Romans213, and some gates might well have incorporated sculptures214. Vitruvius, Hadrian’s architect conceded, in his handbook of architectural practice (I,5.8), the need sometimes to re-use earlier material, for convenience, if not for beauty: there must be laid down no rule beforehand; because we cannot have in all places the supplies which we desire. But where there are squared stones, or concrete or lava or baked brick or unburnt, we must use them. This is for convenience, not for beauty.
The decoration of such Roman and later walls is usually of marble, and ipso facto luxurious, because marble in architecture was an index of sophistication that the Romans of the later Republic imported from the East. The weight of this Greek and Hellenistic precedent might have been one of Augustus’ reasons for beautifying Rome, which had previous lacked the trappings which befited the dignity of its empire, as Suetonius says (Augustus XXVIII, 3ff.); so that Augustus’ boast to have left in marble that which he found made of brick was quite justified. He produced a topos which the Middle Ages, with their spolia, never tired of repeating215.
This taste for marble veneer (usually over brick or cement cores) was to remain popular throughout the Empire, and the Middle Ages as well. Even the style of some mediaeval fortifications seems predicated on a desire to imitate earlier constructional and decorative methods216. In one respect, however, they differ from their Roman forbears. An interest in grandeur is clearly a characteristic of much Roman architecture - build it bigger and make it fancier being the general rule - and just as clearly modelled on places such as Pergamum. However, it was one that the Middle Ages could not follow, for their smaller population together with their more restricted territorial reach (the Byzantines not excluded) meant that their constructions were not only more modest, but also that earlier constructions would frequently be surplus to requirements. To a desire to model themselves on the classical past by using its remains was therefore added a large surplus of those very same remains217.
Saradi suggests218 very convincingly that the topos of city walls and their continuing beauty reveals the attachment of such authors to the ancient idea of the city, adorned with magnificent public buildings. As the transformation of the urban public space was becoming more profound in the early Byzantine period, the educated authors wanted to preserve a visual representation of the antique city by the excessive use of the rhetorical topos of the urban kallos. Underlying the rhetorical topos is the idea of the city as architecturally magnificent, while in reality it was progressively disintegrating.
We can confirm that such propaganda actually worked in later centuries not only from the Umayyad imitation of Roman ceremonial gates such as the Porta Aurea at Diocletian's Palace at Split219, but also from the admiring descriptions of the cities of Roman North Africa by Leo Africanus, or indeed from an anonymous account of the tenth-century Magyar occupation of Aquincum-Buda which specifically admires the walls as ipsique ibi civitates et munitiones ad defensionem sui fecerunt, aliaque aedificia multa, sicut adhuc apparet.220 Indeed, the same propaganda aims are in evidence in the great spurt of wall-building in later mediaeval Italy. As Hogg remarks221, as cities grew in wealth, their walls became symbols of civic pride and affluence. How much they were an effective defence and how much a civic symbol is sometimes hard to decide. Such traditions of direct imitation of the antique, which continued into the Middle Ages, appear in France in the various tours sarrazines222 and, as bossed decoration, arguably forms a componente classicistica of Frederick II Hohenstaufen’s buildings223. The hellenistic fortifications at Pydnae, near Xanthos, and conveniently next to the sea, seem to have been occupied both Byzantine and Turkish times, so opportunity is here joined to familiarity with Hellenistic techniques, as it is with the Crusader work in the Citadel at Jerusalem224.

Column Shafts in Military Structures
Turning from the antique exemplars to later times we find a peculiarly Eastern manifestation of the desire to beautify as well as strengthen fortresses: the widespread reuse of column shafts in fortification walls. Some commentators believe that the technique, as well as especially favoured by the Muslims, was actually invented by them225; although it is most likely that the techniques were learned from the Byzantines - just as it seems the Muslims learned the use of lead in joints from the same source226.
Very long lists could be constructed of the use of columns as structural members and as decoration, and their enthusiastic use constituted a particular drain on supplies. We should bear in mind that they are used in churches and mosques as well as in fortresses, so what may have begun as structural assuredly becomes decorative. Thus a classic example of column shafts used in a Byzantine wall is by the "Queen's Garden" at the very top of Pergamum, where stood the Temple of Faustina227. Even given the convenient nearby temple, the manner in which the material has been laid is regular and aesthetically pleasing. Similarly, granite columns are used as ties in the Byzantine wall by the small church on At Meydani, Istanbul; a succession of marble columns is used as floor supports both in the Red Tower at Alanya, and in the outermost square tower of the peninsular fortifications (both sets protruding as bossed decoration); or in the east tower of the south gate of the lower wall at Ankara; or in the east tower of the Gate of Persecutions at Seljuk; columns forming a floor in the mediaeval fortress-cum-house (and still occupied as a house) as Syedra, east of Antalya; columns in the foundations of Korykos itself; columns both as decoration and as tie-bars in the Byzantine wall near to the theatre at Side, in the Byzantine citadel at Bursa (and other spolia in the later Turkish walls228), and under exactly the same conditions at Theveste, in North Africa; columns as infill both under the arches of the theatre of Side (that is, on the line of the new late walls), in the towers south-east of the theatre, decoratively laid in courses about 3.5m from the ground (conceivably against ramming), and also in the tower by the Baths (now museum), in lots of well-coursed column shafts.
When the Arabic writer Watwat (died March 1318 AD) writes that Gafsa est une ville batie sur des colonnes de marbre229, he is presumably referring to what he saw in the city walls, or in any of the outlying Byzantine forts which surrounded the oasis. In what may be an adaptation of the use of wooden piles, they were generally employed not so much to hold walls together as, it is suggested, to protect foundations and footings against sapping. It is equally possible that they were used as levelling courses; and they also appear in patterns which are clearly decorative – a feature of fortresses such as Caesarea230 and Aleppo231, with the Crusaders certainly using the technique, although they were certainly not the first to do so232. Creswell233 notes the use of such column shafts in the Bab an-Nasr in the Cairo fortifications (AD 1087), and accepts that they are intended to prevent sapping, by reference to Maqrizi's comments on Caesarea. But this is not very convincing. At Caesarea, the column shafts are down at today's ground level, which is well over a metre above that of Roman times; nevertheless, their practical use is easily seen. But surely the shafts in this Bab are too high up to serve in any way against sapping? Are they not just decorative, the more so because they are sparse, stand proud so they cast attractive shadows, and are not even all on exactly the same plane? Columns or marble baulks seem to have had limited success, however, against saps seems doubtful, if we accept the account of the 1097 assault on Nicaea, when a breach made with ignited logs was very quickly repaired234 They do not seem to have been much protection against violent earthquakes235.
Constantinople may well have provided the initial model for the use of column shafts, as it surely did for the beautification of the Constantinople-facing walls of Nicaea, in the adorning of such city walls with marble. Certainly, the practice is at least as old as repairs (date unclear) to the Sea Walls236 and Land Walls of Constantinople237, and possibly in repairs to the Golden Gate238. At Mamure Kalesi, rebuilt by Keykubad in the 13 century, there is no sign of column shafts to landward; but the seaward south-east corner tower does have a line of shafts in the foundations (but are these Byzantine, Armenian, or Seljuk?). By analogy, columns may have been used as underwater defences to stop ships approaching shore, as spolia were frequently used for the building of harboursth. In neither case is there any reason to believe the usage numinous since, for example at Seljuk and Nicaea, we find shafts and long marble baulks used as header ties, whilst at Nyssa square baulks were set into the wall, but perhaps not column shafts (none are currently visible).
Although it is frequently the case that columns with structural importance are also decorative, in some structures, the column shafts must only be decorative: the Red Tower at Alanya, for example (built by Alaeddin Keukubad), has its shafts widely spaced, conceivably as internal floor supports, but certainly not against ramming. This is consistent with other spolia displayed rather noncholantly in its walls: inside, architectural fragments are set in the internal walls, including a Roman entablature block, and a tomb door. Why such concern? Because Keykubad had competition in wall-building from the fine Hellenistic walls visible as the lower line of fortification up the hill from the Red Tower – which Keykubad himself made good by bringing up to their original height.
Could the use of decorative column shafts be part of a more widespread use of roundel patterns? Can we infer from a reference in the 12-century traveller Ibn Jubair, describing the Gate of Abraham at Mecca as decorated with des entrelacements dans le stuc qui ressemblent à des troncs de colonne s’enlacant cercle sur cercleth that column decoration was common? Yes: further East, at Konya, as we shall see (in the section on the Seljuks, below). And there are semi-parallels in the West, for example in the use of “wheel and tree” tile motifs in Tower C at Terracina, studied by Christie & Rushworth239; and a fashion for such ornaments is acknowledged, following Cozza, in 5thC Italy; but they are unwilling to accept his suggestion that such motifs (wheel=sun, lunette=rising sun) are Christian symbols of faith, because they are also found on Honorius’ (AD 401-403) retructuring of the Aurelian walls of Rome, and also exist on pre-Christian circuit walls. At Thessaloniki, for example, the western walls have a lot of brick decorations, like blind relieving arches, but close together and clearly decorative. Of the late walls at AcroCorinth, it has been suggested240 that where in several places the shaft of a Byzantine colonette is built into the wall as a centre to a rosette of thin stones this could be either original decoration, or later plugs for damage. Foss has suggested that cloisonne work, and other careful use of spolia in Byzantine fortifications, may be a sign that the structures were Imperial ones241. Thus for a tower in the acropolis at Smyrna, with towers attributed to the Lascarid reconstruction, he notes coursed spoils and some cloisonne, together with a tree-shaped brick design between two sockets which he believes once held spolia. As he points out, Smyrna, Tripolis and Magnesia all have decorative patterns of brick and stone, which is rare; hence the suggestion that since these three castles were imperial foundations, they might be expected to show a more careful and elaborate style of construction than forts erected for the defence of places of only local importance. The identical argument could be extended to Amastris in Paphlagonia, which incorporates Hellenistic masonry, the careful use of decorative spolia, and parallels with the Golden Gate at Constantinople: no grander Byzantine gateway survives in Anatolia, write Crown and Hill, concluding that itg was an Imperial naval fortress.242
Again, whether the use of columns is decorative rather than structural (or decorative and structural) can sometimes be difficult to determine. To take first a non-military example, at Xanthos, for example, column shafts are used vertically as infill in a Byzantine basilica, in the north transept (or narthex), but presumably plastered over (as ditto the vertical shafts set in the exterior of the apse). In the same basilica, an indication that the builders’ aesthetics differ from our own is the mismatch between the splendid spolia entablature blocks used as door-jambs and entablature from narthex to church, and the careless placement of marble blocks for the paving of the nave. At Aphrodisias, the Byzantine wall at the theatre also uses column shafts to form triangular weep-holes for water drainage, as well as shafts as tie-bars. In this last case, however, the layout is regular, there are column drums set about 5.5m from the ground, and the decorative effect deliberate, since bucrania-and-garland friezes are set in the same wall. At Apollonia (Mysia: near Bursa: on the lake of Uluabat Golu, with the village of Golyazi on top of it), bucrania friezes and column shafts decorate the walls. At Tlos, the Byzantine wall contains not only bases, capitals, and even sarcophagi, but sections of column shaft (some with capitals attached!), all laid with extreme neatness and regularity. The columns were presumably rolled down the hill to their present location, or conceivably hoisted the 4m from the stadium area below. Work of equal quality is also to be seen in the late Roman wall at Aegina243.
If columns are generally used horizontally either as tie-bars or as bossed decoration, more exuberant decoration is possible, as in the Byzantine (? or later) fortress on the peninsula of Iasos. Both genres are used but, in one tower, a vertical column shaft is flanked by two lower and adjacent column-ends in an obvious and unmistakable gigantic phallic symbol.

Cities stripped for fortress-building and Town Enceintes
The usual reason for stripping cities is convenience: nearby monuments are piled up on existing structures: for example, the Byzantine fort at the top of the theatre at Miletus (a radical shrinking of the city area), or the fortress built over the gymnasium at Stratonikeia (where not enough is known about the wall circuit to form a judgment). In some instances, brutality verging on violence is done to noble antiquities, conspicuously at Limyra, where the Byzantine defences march over the corner of the Hellenistic Ptolomeion (a cubic base with an Ionic tholos above), and reuse some of its splendid cannellated columns and upper structure therein (together with seats from the theatre nearby). If ever there were an opportunity for conspicuous display, this was it; and it was ignored - so, clearly, not all Byzantine wall builders were attuned to the aesthetics of ancient architecture, or at least, wished to capitalise on them. Frequently, however, earthquakes conveniently did the initial dismantling, both in Turkey and in North Africa. Similarly, an earthquake may have been responsible for the abandonment of the fortress built on the ruins of Baalbec244.
Excellent examples of how antique cities were stripped to provide for mediaeval fortresses and walls are Nicaea and Seljuk, Ankara and Korykos. But there are plenty of others, such as around Byblos (Lebanon), where the splendour of the mediaeval fortifications relies on their antique materials.

Byblos
The north facade of the castle at Byblos (Giblet) followed the line of the Roman road by the acropolis, and incorporated a double colonnade, no doubt the easy source of the column shafts used en boutisse in its walls. There is no doubt about the extent of reuse here because, as Longchamps remarks, the Crusaders built atop Phoenician, Persian, Graeco-Roman and Fatimid walls245.The fortifications to the town make great use of column shafts, which project some three or four inches from the plane of the wall, almost like the bosses left on some classical Greek structures, to milk yet more decorative effect from the shadow of its profile thrown by the sun against the backing wall. The Crusader Castle over the north entrance employs the same techniques, whilst the keep is built of enormous (15 x 5 x 3 feet approx) conglomerate blocks in the lower courses, and all the blocks have all their sides drafted back in the hellenistic fashion – a most impressive effect. Similarly the south-facing glacis, looking onto the moat, employs at least 44 shafts in an area of 600 square feet, in a diapered effect that is repeated in the next curtain to the east, as well as in the north-east corner tower, which has an enormous block at its base. The builders have left several centimetres of each column protruding. These columns perhaps came from the large and impressive Roman nymphaeum immediately to the north, for which only the capitals and bases survive.
Outside the castle is a line of mediaeval walls, of spolia limestone blocks for the towers, and petit appareil for the curtains; the northernmost corner tower has carefully fitted spolia blocks, some very large (8 x 3 x 2 feet), and column shafts in groups of four. The harbour was flanked by twin towers, the northernmost one of which still stands to its full height, with columns in the foundations. Inside the harbour is the town wall, now only some ten feet in height, but in its existing 200 yards length are column-shafts, in either two or three rows, some 300 or more on just this one stretch. Any suggestion that these are not decorative is scotched by the fact that in many cases the limestone course blocks have themselves been cut back, a quarter of a circle each around a shaft, to allow the shaft to punctuate the coursing. This was necessary because of the enormous size of some of the columns: there are pink granite shafts some two feet in diameter. To the west of the fortress, the excavators have collected together some 200 and more column shafts, the ends of which are very worn, and presumably extracted from the now collapsed (sea) walls.

Nicaea and Nicomedia
Nicaea, once an important city246, now a backwater, is still surrounded by its two sets of walls, five kilometres in length, and punctured by imposing gates at the cardinal points (except toward the lake, where the gate has disappeared). It was during the classical and mediaeval periods an essential stage on the route from Constantinople into Bithynia247, as well as sometimes the seat of the Emperor; hence the comparison with the capital is the more pressing. This is reinforced by Nicomedia, of which little now remains, but which had spolia walls similar to those of Nicaea. Nicomedia declined as Constantinople grew, only sixty miles away. An earthquake in 358 destroyed the city, which never recovered, the more so since Justinian abolished the postal service from Chalcedon to Dacibyza and had his courriers go across the sea of Marmara to Helenopolis and Nicaea. What little digging was done (and almost no publication) showed baths revetted with marble, a colonnaded square paved with marble, and colonnaded streets meeting at right angles, together with massive public buildings. Its walls were built by Diocletian, just like those of Nicaea in alternating brick bands and rubble, and with ashlar spoils from the Hellenistic walls. The Lascarids refaced some of the earlier walls and towers rather than, as at Nicaea, building their own outer enceinte. Foss quotes Odo of Deuil, on the Second Crusade that By its lofty ruins overgrown with thorns and brambles, Nicomedia first showed us its ancient glory and the inertia of the present rulers – presumably the ruins were impressive because his contemporaries only occupied acropoleis, as he points out.
It is not by chance that, at Nicaea, it is the walls and towers between towers 69 and 73 that get the gorgeous marble revetement, in order to impress anyone approaching from the Istanbul road, whereas immediately east of Istanbul-Kapi the walls swing quite sharply away from the gate. If proof were needed of conscious beautification, there is also tower 94, erected on the south side of the southwest sea gate. Schneider dates these particular beautifications around 727,248 which might also be the date of the insertion of dark marble blocks as tie-bars, especially on the long eastern section. The first wall was erected in 268 by Claudius Gothicus, the second (separated from it by a fosse) by the Lascarids, who also restored the earlier work. With the exception of the stretch facing the lake (west), the walls of Nicea, although they cannot compete with those of Constantinople for height or length, both sets, the lower outer walls and the higher main set - are marvellously complete, gates and all. Ogier de Busbecq found Nicaea a mournful place because of its relative depopulation, the more so because of the Turks digging spolia for use in Constantinople, and battering with their hammers a cuirassed statue they found.249 Nor was such a jaundiced opinion solely that of Western, classically educated sophisticates, as the quotation from Jalal al-Din Rumi, the 13 century dervish, in the Mamaqib al-Arifim, which heads this paper, makes clear.th This was a common theme of visitors to Turkey in later centuries.
Nicaea’s walls are well decorated with reliefs, with large heads, and also by column-shafts, both as horizontal wall-ties and as decoration: in the central one of the three square towers of the north wall, some 37 columns are used to decorate the upper storeys and, at the same time, to act as floor-joists. The East Gate has reliefs, still visible, which impressed Kinnear, as did the reliefs and heads on the North Gate, to Constantinople. The south gate, for Bursa, has marble blocks and an inscription 250. The walls and towers on the north side are noticeably of creamy-white marble (in contrast with the much darker blocks used elsewhere: it is far from fanciful to perceive the desire to create an effect on the side of the city facing Constantinople, since we find exactly the same attention given to marble display in the more important parts of other citadels, such as Seljuk. Thus the antique monuments of Nicaea have been reused in the construction of the first set of mediaeval walls, in a direct echo of the marble prestige of the finest of Constantinople's set pieces, the Porta Aurea itself.

Seljuk and Ephesus
At Ephesus, as might be expected, the Byzantine walls took in much less ground than Lysimachus’ Hellenistic ones, and made great use of spolia from adjacent monuments, some of which might have been conveniently demolished by earthquake. At some later date, the (surely small) population moved about 2km to the north, to the settlement now called Seljuk. This was still strictly within the purlieu of Ephesus even if outside the walls, the most conspicuous monument being a Byzantine fortress containing the 7 century Basilica of St. John. The entrance to this fortress, perhaps of the mid-seventh century with a mid-eight century rebuild,th is liberally decorated with spolia, as are walls adjacent to the basilica with columnae caelatae from the archaic and late classical builds of the Temple of Diana, in what is arguably an evocation of the grandeur of the past, while sculptures from the same location have been found in the fortress walls' backfill251. On even higher ground is the citadel. At Ephesus and Seljuk, then, the newer settlement is built with spolia from the old. Fellows252 notes that the ruins of [Seljuk], which arose about four hundred years ago, are entirely composed of materials from Ephesus, and these old castle and mosque walls have become in their turn our quarry for relics of antiquity. For Foss, the walls of Seljuk are seventh century, like those of Pergamum and Sardis, which he ascribes to time of Constans II (641-668).
At Seljuk, the lie of the land dictates that spolia increase as we move down the long hill from the upper fortress toward the Gate of Persecutions – and with immense quantities of spolia on the eastern-facing (or road) side. Many monuments must have been demolished to provide such a quantity of blocks: the theatre, large as it undoubtedly was, would have been an insufficient quarry for even a fraction of the span from the north to the south gates - a distance of some three kilometres, with regular towers as well. A pride in the past and its productions is obvious, not only in the splendour of the lower citadel and its curtain wall to the upper citadel (supposedly built in the 7 to 8thth centuries, against Arab incursions), but especially with the Gate of Persecutions to the lower citadel, so called from a mis-reading of its re-used antique bas-reliefs,253 which were carted off for the 6 Earl of Bedford to Woburn, in 1819. This is built entirely with re-used creamy-white marble blocks, and decorative friezes were incorporated to beautify it. Chandler, who visited the site in 1764, remarks on the theatre or stadium seats buttressing the Gate,th and Pitton de Tournefort admires the Lower Citadel precisely because of the beauty of its spolia, including the reliefs. That the intention is to impress is confirmed by viewing the inner skin of the wall, which is only rubble and brick.
The upper fortress, overlooking the site of the Temple of Artemis, is only a few kilometres from Ephesus. Built largely with rubble and brick toward the west (toward the sea) and the north - except for the use of squared blocks in the 45-degree revetments between the towers, presumably to guard against mining) a considerable amount of antique material is to be seen in the east gate (facing the road), the arch of which is supported on antique blocks, and all along the east-facing wall. The antique-block revetments continue round onto the south wall, facing Seljuk itself, which also incorporates some antique and Byzantine blocks - including part of a figural relief (perhaps from a sarcophagus), a triglyph, and a frieze. May we conclude from this disparity that, just as at Costantinople and Nicaea, the gleaming marble walls were to used as a distant advert to the traveller? The disparity between Upper and Lower Fortress certainly struck Charles Tompson254, who found in the upper citadel several curious Fragments of antique Marble being carelessly intermix’d in the Walls amongst other less valuable Materials, but then towards the south, the Remains of another Citadel of greater Antiquity, the Works whereof were cover’d with the finest Marble – and he then admires the bas-reliefs in the Gate of Persecutions and ( like many travellers) mistakes the Isa Bey Mosque for the church of S. John.
If the upper fortress has sparse antiquities, this is not the case with the western curtain wall joining the upper to the lower fortress (the latter containing the Church of S. John): recently cleared of rubble, this contains thousands of antique blocks, several of them with inscriptions, some presumably from large public buildings, and stands to an average height of 3.5 metres. Lawrence255 suggests this work might date to the 8 century. Again, no doubt some of the material came from monumental tomb structures from outside the walls of Ephesus - Ephesus now being conspicuously lacking in such tombs, whereas at other sites in Turkey (Hierapolis, Assos, Patara, Eleiussa Sebaste), they are plentiful.

Antalya and Perge
Here the city walls are of various periods, topped off with Seljuk merlins and proud inscriptions. South of the Gate of Hadrian in Antalya, a splendid triumphal arch, are laid some fine large blocks; adjacent to the gate, however, the builders have thrown together large and small blocks and levelled them off more-or-less every six courses or so. The result is a mess, contrasting with the towers flanking the gate, which are presumably 2ndC BC (the date of the foundation of the city) and, like the surviving stretch of wall to the north of the gate, of impeccable courses of large blocks, as presumably representing the most important (landward) aspect of the city. At the bottom of Kurtulus Sokak is a mediaeval rebuild, with column shafts, decorated corbel blocks framing an inscription, and the use of fine sheets of marble veneer for decorative effect – probably part of the Seljuk refurbishment. Whilst such shafts could have come from Antalya itself, it is likely that many came from nearby Perge: this still boasts a splendid colonnaded street, but with conspicuous gaps (and many more bases on site than columns to go with them); and the enormous south baths have few columns left, and only insignificant scraps of marble veneer. By contrast, most of the granite columns of the agora are still in place: are we therefore permitted to conclude that the (Seljuk?) robbers preferred marble, and left granite alone? But marble may have been in short supply even at Perge, witness the construction of the episcopal basilica there using granite - not marble - columns, which probably came 150m from the palaestra of the North Baths. This is odd, and matches the odd feature of the spectacular colonnaded street, namely that the western side is almost entirely marble, but the eastern side is granite: is this make-and-mend after earthquake damage?

Konya: the Seljuks and the Antique Past
Konya, in all its glory, might have been well known to the mediaeval West, since it had French and Genoese merchants in the thirteenth centuryth. The walls are now gone, but descriptions survive, the best being by Kinnear, who gives excellent and detailed descriptions of the walls and gates. They contain many broken columns, capitals, pedestals, bas reliefs and other pieces of sculpture Loop-holes were formed by pillar pedestals, some with Greek inscriptions; the north walls displayed an excellent Roman bas-relief and a colossal statue of Hercules, damage to both of which has been repaired by the Turks. Gates and towers are embellished with Arabic inscriptions, and a relief of a lion couchant is above the Gate of Aiash.256
The Seljuks had a robust interest in reusing the classical past for decorative purposes in their fortifications, and were unusual in their acceptance of iconic sculpture, including sarcophagi. Sarre has provided a photographic record of some of their spolia-rich creations.257 The most famous are the walls of Konya258, whose towers were erected by Alaeddin Kuykubad I in 1221; he encouraged the inclusion of figural sculpture, inscriptions, and having sculptured stones of various sorts set into both his gateways259. So exuberant was the Seljuk reuse here (with inscriptions dated 1067 through to 1184 and even 1206-10) of figurative sculpture that one scholar suggests that this was an index of whether rebuilds with such sculpture were Seljuk or not, and draws the evident conclusion that les conquérants n’auraient pas conçu d’architecture militaire non historiée260 - in practical effect, that such architecture was inconceivable without spolia. Some of the antiquities displayed in the walls, such as the Apollo sarcophagus from the citadel, are now in Konya museum. Konya is mentioned by one of Barbarossa’s Crusaders in 1190 as already having walls and a citadel but, unfortunately, we do not know what these earlier walls looked like, hence whether Alaeddin’s rebuild incorporated spolia from what he replaced in the 13 centuryth. Column shafts were also prominent in the walls and towers of Konya. Presumably the inspiration came from imitaing Byzantine practice.
Again, just as the Seljuks conjure up Roman glory by incorporating spolia in their walls, so also they imitate antique practice by adopting the use of frieze-like inscriptions on a monumental scale - a particular version of continuous moulding, also found imitated from classical and Byzantine monuments in Syria261. This did not apparently happen in the West, where there is no proof for a continous tradition in the use of monumental inscriptions during the Middle Ages: after the Arch of Constantine, Mitchell suggests the practice died out except for Corvey, the Golden Gate at Constantinople, and S. Vincenzo al Volturno262. An additional attraction for such large inscriptions, beyond mere decoration, is that they may have been associated with venerable antiquity, as in William of Tyre's estimation of the Dome of the Rock.263 This practice surely derives from knowledge and admiration of antique inscriptions, even when the new mode is kufic. Nor is such display confined to Konya. Considerable remnants of an “inhabited frieze” (with human & animal heads) survives in the walls of the fortress at Baku, many from the prominent NW tower. Also at Baku, the Muhammed Camii has a large inscription as a frieze around the top of the minaret, just below the corbels for the walkway. Again, the use of symmetrical decorated roundels is common throughout Anatolia264 and Syria265, flanking the entrances of mosques, turbes and pious institutions, as well as cervanserais and bridges266 – and often used in associated with protruding column-shafts and other spolia. So what price column shafts as decoration? Indeed, could any of these roundels actually be decorated column shafts? In other cases, the influence of adjacent classical work is clear, as at Balat (Miletus), when the Ilyas Bey mosque is made out of spolia from the site, and a new frieze is cut to decorate the external walls. This frieze is clearly Turkish, and just as clearly inspired by classical work – parallel examples are at Solhat, at the Ozbek Han Camii (Ulu Camii, dated 1332).
Another motif vigorously employed by the Seljuks is the lion, in bas-relief or in three dimensions - a favourite further West as well267 (where there is evidence of the reworking of antique lions268), which may be why the Knights incorporated lions, (presumably from the Mausoleum: there were estimated to be either 56 or 72 lions decorating the Mausoleum) in their fortress.269 Given that the motif precedes the Greeks as well as the Romans, and may well come from further East (nearer the homelands of the Seljuks), nevertheless the combination of monumental inscriptions and apotropaic lions, as at Diyarbakir270; of spolia lions couchant from ancient Pyrgi to decorate the mosque at Birgi, dated 1312, and almost completely built of spolia blocks271; of lions on the fortress at Kayseri (with a rebuild by Alaeddin Keykubad) as well as Konya; and of contemporary columns clearly modelled on antique spolia272 - the inspiration of the antique for the Seljuks can be considered to be strong. It has also been suggested that the Seljuks helped revive the institution of the Roman bath at Constantinople273 - a likely notion given the later Ottoman propensity for fountains, which are often based on Roman spolia274.
For the Seljuks, then, stripping antique cities led in part to a renewed display of antique splendour with which they wished to associate themselves, and this was both conspicuous and admired. Thus during his 1800 visit to Konya, Leake remarks275 on its walls, of the time of the Seljukian kings, who seem to have taken considerable pains to exhibit the Greek inscriptions, and the remains of architecture and sculpture belonging to the ancient Iconium, which they made use of in building their walls.

Ankara
For Ankara276, the best descriptions of the city walls, which were largely pulled down by the beginning of this century, is (like that of Konya) given in the accurate and careful account of Kinnear277, who visited Anatolia in the years 1813 and 1814. They were clearly works of some splendour, incorporating many antiquities in decorative order, and with fragments of columns and entablatures strewn around; he identified the site of the amphitheatre spolia from which he believed were used in the walls, from which the residents were still taking the external coating (presumably ashlar blocks) to build their houses. He compared the gates of Constantinople and of Changora with that of Smyrna, and noted the use of spolia inscriptions in Greek. If Pitton de Tournefort’s sketch-engravings are accurate, there were plenty of spolia around: columns and other marbles litter the streets and the area outside the walls, and even the mud-brick houses contain de fort belles pièces de marbre. As for the walls, he remarks Greek, Latin, Arabic and Turkish inscriptions, and admires the beauty of the lions at the Smyrna Gate, which apparently incorporated material from a portico or temple, with remains of the amphitheatre in the walls.278
Spolia lions are a leitmotif here, as at Konya. Kinnear saw lions at the Caesarea Gate, and counted in all six of the same size and figure in the circuit. At the fortress also, he logged two more lions (one life-size, the other colossal), as well as bas-reliefs and inscriptions on the gate, and observed that some great building must once have stood near this place, as an adjoining mosque abounds with the most beautiful columns: in one part of the wall I observed ten pedestals of pillars ranged in order, four bas reliefs, and [and inscription] on a block of marble about eight feet in length. He then went back to the castle, and copied some inscriptions, which he illustrated in order to examine with more attention the mosque and bas reliefs.279
Lions, inscriptions and (probably) architectural spolia can only be deliberate decoration. Just as at Nicaea or Seljuk, the spolia at Ankara were placed where they would have been clearly visible; and there seems no doubt they were used for decorative effect280 and, it has been argued281, for numinous effect. Indeed, since their height often reaches twelve metres, in careful courses, they were obviously placed for effect, as also at Miletus, Ephesus, Sardis and Pergamum.

Korykos
The coastal site of Korykos, in the region called Karamania, was a familiar point of reference for mediaeval sailors282, as well as an end-point for routes from inland. There are two castles, but no mediaeval town wall. The building dates for the land castle are disputed, 283 although what we now see is probably 12 century; and the sea castle has foundation inscriptions of 1206 and 1251, but these do not necessarily reflect any original build date. A comment by Anna Comnena (Alexeiad xi.10C) that the land castle was ruinous when the Crusaders on the First Crusade occupied it in 1100 gives us a date for repairs, but not necessarily for the main spolia decoration, let alone the start date for the incorporation of such spolia (Lawrence reminding us that it was permissible to demolish temples only after 391). Nevertheless, analogous to the present appearance of the land castle at Korykos are the fortifications at Heraclea Pontica, where a tower is conveniently provided with an inscription dating the work to 1207.th
The land castle made full use of the blocks from the ancient city on the same site (many relics of which still lie all around), in some cases dismantling whole buildings for the task, as well as conceivably building the west-facing facade of the castle around a still-standing Roman gate.284 The castle prominently displays decorated entablature blocks, and column shafts, and also reuses Roman limestone waterpipe sections. It also boasts bossed stonework. Still to be seen around the area are the ruins of baths, houses and rock-cut tombs (some of these with relief sculptures), together with the quarrying beds: near the castle, a bow’s shot to the east, si trovano arche di marmi d’un pezzo. Buona parte delle quali sono rotte da un capo. E queste sono si da uno, come dell’altro canto della strada, et durano infino a una certa chiesa mezo miglio distante, laqual mostra essere stata assai grande, et ben lavorata di colonne di marmo grosse, e di altri eccellenti lavori285. Indeed, nearly all the castle is built from spolia, including some very large blocks, and also some make-and-mend walls with outer faces smooth, but inner faces all jutting and receding because of the irregular antique bits and pieces used for their construction. Several towers of the land castle are decorated with columns, which could conceivably be in secondary reuse, taken from any of the twelve Byzantine churches parts of which still survive here286; the same applies to the use of stone arches, which could simply have been dismantled, marked and re-erected, because several survive hereabouts as chancel arches of churches287.
“Decorate” is indeed the correct word, and travellers recognised the beauty of the walls. Thus Beaufort writes288 that in some parts these broken shafts are laid in regular courses, and in one place they appear to be symmetrically arranged, somewhat resembling the balls in the arms of Tuscany. All the shafts are laid in exact patterns, symmetrically disposed, and protruding a few centimetres from the face of the wall, giving a bossed, sculptural effect to a geometrical pattern. An elegant variation of this is seen on the second tower from the west, east-facing side, inner ward, where it is the flange of the head or foot of the column which protrudes, creating an attractive profile. There is no need here for shafts against sapping or sea erosion, since the whole structure is built on bed-rock, to a visible depth of 3-4m at the SE corner, and 4-5m at the NE. Entry to the tower is difficult and dangerous, passes masonry with a bossed, sculptural effect. From two samples lying at its foot, it appears that the shafts are used solely for decoration, because they are cut-down columns of about half their original length, and not the full-length ones needed to span the thickness of the wall. There is no instance where they appear to have been floor-joists, which were catered for by wooden putlog holes, still to be seen; and, visibly in the NE tower of the outer defences, by orthostats, perhaps doorjambs, from nearby ancient houses.
The present appearance of Korykos, especially the treatment of bossed masonry and column shafts, compares well with the walls in other constructions of securely Armenian date. Thus at Findikh, Payas and Gosne, and in the sea castle at Korykos, we find bossed masonry. In the land castle at Ayas (modern Yumurtalik), column shafts feature on the towers and the curtains 289 - taken from antique Aegae, to the north and west of this little seaside town. The fort has a curtain wall extending down to the harbour, and both use column shafts in the footings, and bossed blocks. Luckily, part of that wall is ruinous, which clearly reveals that (as we have noticed at Korykos) the shafts are cut off short and therefore definitely not used in all cases as tie-bars: inside the fort, for instance, column shafts also appear, so strength does not appear to be a factor here. But decoration does, since the watchtower of Suleyman I uses multi-coloured blocks in a distinct diapering effect (also seen in the found towers of Silifke), as well as column-shafts. With the demise of the fine spolia traffic island at Sultanhisar (near Nyssa), where a column shaft supported the town clock, Yumirtalik is the only municipality I know that ornaments its road with very large spolia column shafts. Just as towns in Turkey today use spolia as decoration, there is no doubt whatsoever of the intention of the fortress builders to decorate their castle, and it seems likely that the work carries meaning290, even if only as continuing a tradition of splendour that its builders could have observed both in the antique city on the site and the Byzantine churches in the surroundings.

Syrian Cities
Antique cities in Syria were often to be stripped by the Crusaders, just as cities in Turkey and North Africa had been by the Byzantines. At Chastel Pelerin they built on Phoenician ruins; at Gabala (French Zibel), the Roman theatre became a fortress. But most rebuilds were on Byzantine fortresses291, and they show the same interest in the use of spolia for strength as well as for decoration. Thus for Ascalon, we have a reference in Matthew Paris (by Richard of Cornwall, relayed by Matthew, and relating to the rebuild of 1240-1)292 which makes it clear that he believed the use of marble used in its fortifications was indeed for decoration: duplici muro cum altis turribus et propugnaculis et lapidibus quadris et incisis columpnis marmoreis decenter ornato et circumeunte, omnia quae ad castrum pertinent et rite erant perfecta… – and Pringle, surely correctly, translates incisis columpnis marmoreis as cut-up marble [through] columns.293 The harbour moles were also graced with projecting column shafts, so much in evidence that Guerin, writing in a century of artillery advances, fancied that they figurent de loin autant de pieces de canon se projetant hors de leur embrasures…
At Darum, south of Gaza, William of Tyre (XX.19) writes that the fortress was made occasione vetustorum aedificiorum, quorum aliqua adhuc ibi supererant vestigia294; and the same author (XV.24) mentions that Jabneh (French Ibelin) was also built from ruins: Pierres trouverent en cel leu des forteresses qui jadis y avaient este, car, si comme l’en dist, Chastel abbatuz est demi refez. Some at least of the contemporary terminology would suggest Roman remains, as in Blanche-Garde, of which William of Tyre (XV.25) writes of aedificant solidis fundamentis et lapidibus quadris oppidum cum turribus quatuor, congruae altitudinis. Or at Bethgibelin in 1143 (XV.24-5), where aedificant praesidium cum turribus quattuor, veteribus aedificiis, quorum multa adhuc supererant vestigia, lapidum ministrantibus copiam; puteis quoque vetusti temporis, qui in ambitu urbis dirutae frequentes apparebant, aquarum abundantiam This is entirely convincing, given that the nearby amphitheatre was still being ripped up in the 18 century, with gunpowder as necessary, to build a nearby mosqueth.
Nor were spolia being reused simply for fortress walls, but also to beautify living quarters therein. In what is surely a large exception to any rule, Wildbrand of Oldenbourg, who visited Syria about 1212, describes295 a room in the chateau of Barut that must surely be completely spolia, with a mosaics floor which represente une eau ridee par la brise et on est tout etonne en marchant de ne pas voir ses pieds empreints sur le sable represente au fond. Les murs sont revetus de placages de marbre qui simulent des tentures. The painted vault displays the Zodiac, and in the middle of the room is un bassin en marbres de couleurs diverses formant un ensemble admirable ou l’on voit une variete infinie de fleurs qui eblouissent le regard. We know almost nothing of palace architecture in this area, but can be categorical that Moslem and Christian alike prized marble spolia for secular decoration, as we learn from the life of Saladin296: capturing Jerusalem in 1187, which ils avaient reconstruite avec des colonnes et des plaques de marbre, ou ils avaient fonde leurs eglises et les palais des Templiers et des Hospitaliers, de belles (fontaines) en marbre dont l'eau ne cessait de couler ... On ne voit que des demeures aussi agreables que des jardins et brillantes de la blancheur du marbre, que des colonnes auxquelles leurs feuilles donnaient l'aspect d'arbres verdoyants. Presumably the marble must have come from ruined Roman cities, or from the ruined monuments of Jerusalem itself, because there is no marble anywhere near Jerusalem. Unfortunately, nothing survives of Barut, though apparently wisely run by Jean d’Ibelin after being re-taken in 1197 from Saladin. So we can never know whether this was a deliberate evocation of a classical environment, analogous to the Seljuk rebuild of the walls of Konya - or perhaps to the pseudo-antique rooms later favoured by the princes of the Renaissance.


1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11


The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016
send message

    Main page