• Intersections of Architecture and Religion In the Medieval Mediterranean: The Cappella Palatina, Palermo, and The Cathedral of St Sophia, Nicosia

      Bolman, Elizabeth S., 1960-; Hall, Marcia B. (Temple University. Libraries, 2011)
      This paper explores the relationships between medieval religious buildings across the Mediterranean, where Muslim, Byzantine, and Western courts created a repertoire of churches and mosques whose patrons, architects, architectural iconographies, cultural contexts, and performative dimensions overlapped to a high degree. Tracing the analogies between the Cappella Palatina in Palermo and St. Sophia Cathedral in Nicosia testifies eloquently to these transmissions of adoption and integration because Sicily and Cyprus both passed between Byzantine, Islamic, and Latin Christian rule and, in the process, fused architectural and decorative elements of disparate traditions for their religious monuments. I have approached the Cappella Palatina and Nicosia Cathedral by extending the idea that portable art objects were active agents in constructing the cultural contours of medieval courts in order to address how the Hauteville and Lusignan rulers visualized and performed the authority of their kingships. This method of analysis shows that each dynasty articulated their bonds with Western Europe and the Latin Church while also assuring legibility within the courtly mise-en-scène that enveloped and reached beyond the Mediterranean. Accordingly, I have sought to expand the cultural frame of reference for the Cappella Palatina and Nicosia Cathedral by emphasizing the impact of the respective Fatimid and Byzantine contributions, as well as by exploring the conceptual affinities between the distinct visual and ceremonial traditions manifest in each building. Above all, this exchange tells a story more nuanced than triumphant appropriation.