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The influences of the Holy Sepulchre on architecture in the Mediterranean basin from the fourth to the end of the seventh centuries Schutt, Karl Robert

Abstract

The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was built by Constantine from 327 to 335. It consisted of a basilica, the Martyrion, and a small edicula over the tomb of Christ, known as the Tegurium. By the end of the fourth century a Rotunda was built over the edicula. This complex was quite unique in Christian architecture from the fourth to the end of seventh centuries but this paper reveals that it was not a popular architectural group to serve as a model for other churches in the Mediterranean basin. Only one building, the Cathedral of Ravenna, built by Ursian and dedicated to the "Resurrection", can be termed a "copy", and it only duplicated certain architectural features from the Martyrion, while the Rotunda was completely ignored. Only three buildings, all rotundas, seemed to have been derived from the Anastasis Rotunda; S. Stefano Rotondo in Rome, SS, Karpos and Polykarpos in Constantinople and the moslem Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Although Medieval copies of this building were octagonal in plan, no octagonal copies of the Rotunda were constructed before the moslem invasions in the seventh century. No architectural reproductions of the Tegurium are known but the building may have served as a model for reliquaries. The ninth century complex of S. Stefano (San Sepolcro) in Bologna duplicated the group of buildings at the Holy Sepulchre and, although a number of fifth to eighth century church complexes have buildings grouped in a similar fashion, no copies from the Byzantine period are known. Buildings on the site of Christ's tomb were examined in turn by studying illustrations and descriptions of them. Churches throughout the Mediterranean basin were then compared to the restorations of the buildings in Jerusalem to determine if there were any resemblances. If a building only duplicated a number of architectural features or the dedication from the Holy Sepulchre it was considered to be a derivative. To be a copy, both features had to be evident in the secondary structure.

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