Art and the Periphery

Antony Eastmond

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Art and the Periphery

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Many modern historians and art historians disagree about art and the periphery in the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine writers such as Niketas Choniates argued that Constantinople was the centre of the empire and the driving force from which all else emanated. Meanwhile, Niketas's brother Michael complained of the dullness and ignorance of the provinces. Byzantine art was equated with the art of Constantinople, which was assumed to be of the highest quality and was the most innovative and creative. This view rejects art produced in the periphery—in the provinces of the empire and among its neighbours to the east and west—as inferior and dependent. The debate about centre and periphery had its roots in arguments about the nature and origins of artistic innovation in the Late Antique and Byzantine empires that arose around the year 1900.

Keywords: art; periphery; Byzantine Empire; Constantinople; provinces; centre

Article.  3279 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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