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Iconography and Identity: Syrian Elements in the Art of Crusader Cyprus

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image of Church History and Religious Culture

The murals of triumphal arch in the Church of the Panagia Phorbiotissa, Cyprus, painted in the late thirteenth century when Cyprus was a Crusader state, adopt an iconography paralleled not in Byzantium but in the Miaphysite churches of the Syrian and Egyptian mainland, and best analyzed in relation to Miaphysite liturgical exegesis. As such, they suggest three revisions to current ways of thinking about the roles of Cyprus and the mainland in shaping the art of the Crusader era: 1) rather than for a 'maniera cypria' or a 'maniera tripolitana', we must look for an intricate, two-way reciprocity; 2) it is a reciprocity not simply between Cyprus and the mainland Crusader states, but between Cyprus and the far larger terrain of Syrian and Egyptian eastern Christendom; and 3) it engages not only style but also iconography and content.

Affiliations: 1: Southern Methodist University;, Email:


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