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Old 05-19-2013, 04:10 AM   #1
Clivedurdle
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Default Architecture and Christianity

Reading Francis DK Ching Introduction to Architecture that states p22

Quote:
1 CE

At this time Eurasia was dominated by China and Rome, interconnected by a vast system of land and sea trade routes, known in their entirety as the Silk Route. As a consequence of these far flung trade systems, two systems in particular came into focus, the Gangharans in Afghanistan and the Nabateans in Jordan. The latter served as the connecting link to India, allowing the Roman traders to avoid Parthia. The Nabateans were remarkable for their spirit of innovation in regard to architecture.

Initially, the ascendency of Rome, in economic terms, cast a pall over West Asia, and very little of consequence was built during the first century BCE. Soon however, Rome was able to impose a cohesive appearance over its expanding domains. Roman emperors from Augustus to Trajan changed the architectural face of the European and West Asian world, building impressive temples, forums, villas and cities, all with the typical Roman imprint.


p24

Between 100 and 300CE the Roman Empire grew into one of the greatest and most extensive empires in the world and yet was on the brink of disaster.
Methinks a close look at the huge structural changes happening and the development of an oriental cult that actually has many references to architecture might be of interest.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:58 AM   #2
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What, specifically do you think is the relationship between Christian and Nabetean architecture?

When I attended Architecture school, it was fairly universally accepted that the Christians pioneered a new form of religious architecture, based on (secular) Roman Basilicas (which were used as courthouses). Previous temples tended to be more courtyard-oriented, with the masses being excluded from the sanctuary.

So what is it you wanted to talk about?
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:46 PM   #3
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What you have just stated! Two very different forms of worshipping the gods, using different structures. Maybe a private sacrifice was just boring, singing and shouting allelujah in a courthouse sounds fun pre 3dTV!

And what questions does that raise about the evolution of religions?
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:58 PM   #4
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Was early Christian worship similar to what it is now? I presume the communion would be the same, but the hymns, readings, processions and homilies, are they the same?

Do we want to talk about the great debate between centrally planned churches and axial churches?
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clivedurdle View Post
Methinks a close look at the huge structural changes happening and the development of an oriental cult that actually has many references to architecture might be of interest.
If we were to look at the momentous centralised monotheistic state religious architecture of the earlier 3rd century in Persia, we might see that the construction of basilicas in the 4th century (and no earlier) has a precedent.

Here is my summary of the Persian centralised monotheistic state revolution in which after some background, I have highlighted the comments relevant o the OP concerning the distinctive architecture of the revolution.

At the end of this post I have furnished all my notes on this matter that I have researched and investigated from .....

Cambridge Ancient History
Volume XII
The Imperial Crisis and Recovery (193 to 324 CE)
Chapter 5: SASSANID PERSIA
The Sassanian Empire: Political History








Ardashir creates Zoroastrianism (c.224 CE)

In the third century the Persian "King of Kings"
Ardashir created a new State monotheistic religion
which he actively promoted, organized, supported and
protected, by legislation. He guaranteed its orthodoxy
by the sword. It was characterised by a strong
centralised power structure, centered on the King and
his appointed Magi (ie: academic temple priests, and
their chiefs)

A gifted researcher and high cleric of this religion
in the tradition named Tansar was ordered to gather
the scattered "Avesta" of the Mazdeans from ancient
sources, and to edit these in order to reproduce an
authorised and canonical version of the "Avesta",
the holy writ of Zoroastrianism. Finally the Sassanid
state monotheistic church was characterised by widespread
architectural replication of square fire-temples for
the official religion throughout the major cities and
provinces of the Sassanid Persian empire. This was a
novel step.

Epigraphic and monumental evidence suggests the pre-
existence of the earlier religion of the Mazdeans in
the epoch of the Parthian civilisation.





FWIW here are my Original Notes taken from


Cambridge Ancient History
Volume XII
The Imperial Crisis and Recovery (193 to 324 CE)
Chapter 5: SASSANID PERSIA
The Sassanian Empire: Political History


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambridge Ancient History, Volume XII,The Imperial Crisis and Recovery



p.109


208 Ardashir (described as a rebel) becomes king of Persis
"[his brother] Shapur having dies suddenly in consequence
of an accident, if the tradition may be trusted.

224 Ardashir defeats the (other) King Artabanus V
226 Ardashir crowned "King of Kings" (Shahansha) of Iran.

What differentiated the new Empire and State
from that of the Parthians was:

(1) STRONG CENTRALISATION: "substituted a unified State for a loose
congeries of vassal kingdoms.

The empire was divided into cantons, the dimensions
of which were based on military considerations.
These cantons were designed to resist the influence
of hereditary interests and feudal rivalries.
Local governors who descended from the ruling family
bore the title of shah - "no more than high officials
in the Great King's service".

(2) Creation of an Official State Church
resting on Mazdean (Zoroastrian) doctrine,
which had been for centuries to common faith of the people
and which he Partian Kings had followed with zeal
that grew as iranism prevailed over hellenism.

It was an innovation.

The church was a powerful and distinctive element in
the civilisation of the Sassanian period.

(3) The Documents of the New State Religion
============================================
The "Avesta" was the holy writ of Zoroastrianism

"According to the Zoroastrian tradition Ardashir I
caused a high cleric official Tansar, his chief helper
in the task of organising the Mazdean church,
to have the scattered texts of the Parthian "Avesta" collected
and to produce a new edition of it
which was authorised and made canonical."



from p.120
(4) The STATE RELIGION and COINS
=====================================

Essentially fire worship of an ancient (Vedic) kind (tripods).
COINS show ......

Ardashir depicts a fire burining upon a tripod.
Later kings: fire on an altar in the form of a column
and without a tripod, flanked by two men holding in their
hands some rod-like object.

Running around the obverse of Sassanian coins
is frequently found the legend:
The Fire of XXXX (where XXX is the ruler).



p.121.
INTERESTING

The brother of Shapur I -- Peroz (Shah)
"the worshipper of Mazdah" featuring
the image of Buddha, bear striking
testimony to a peaceful rapprochement
between the two religions.





from p.120


(5) The STATE RELIGION and the TEMPLES=======================================

There were house-fires, village-fires and provincial-fires.
Mithra is associated with the dedications (p.120)


"Each of the great temples ... which were established in the provinces,
had a considerable body of priests under the direction of 'a mobadh'
(ie: Magus of the Magi) to serve it. "Ehrbadhs" KEPT WATCH OVER
the ceremonies of divine worship, assisted by lower clergy,
each of whom had his special task.

Many inscriptions attest to the institution of buring FIRES
for the souls of princes and other great personages.
(eg: the major temple in Anahita at Stakhr.



The Mazdean FIRE-TEMPLES were distinctive:

The fire-temples conform to one type:
a square building, surmounted by a cupola,
within which thw sacred fire was kept burning
upon an altar in a room that remained completely dark,
so that it could not be touched by the light of the sun.
[Herzfeld, Arch. Hist of Iran, p.88]







Brief TIMELINE
===============

241 CE Ardashir dies
242 CE Shapur I crowned
252 Shapur takes Armenia from Rome
Cappadocia and Syria ?
Antioch sacked?
256/7 fall of Dura Europos

260 CE Emperor Valerian captured by Shapur

* PIC1 = Rock-face relief at Naqsh-e Rustam of Shapur (on horseback) with Philip the Arab and (perhaps) Emperor Valerian.
* PIC2 = The Emperor's Dam or bridge (Band-e-Kaisar) near Shoshtar (near Gundeshapur) built by Romans.

272 Shapur I dies
272 Hormizd I
273 Vahram I (273-276) brother, abandoned Mani to the Mazdean clergy
276 Vahram II (son of above) to 293 CE







p.114

ORGANISATION and ADMINISTRATION of the SASSANIAN STATE
================================================== ====

The Parthian derived fuedal structure had four classes:

1) The clergy (ie: the priesthood of the Mazdean/Zoroastrian religion, the magi)

2) The warriors (ie: the army)

3) The Bureacrats (ie: the secretaries)

4) The Commons ----- the peasants, the artisans, the workmen.





p.117

SOCIAL and ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
===================================

The Avesta glorifies agriculture as the best form of livelihood:
by working the land man assures himself of all kinds of divine rewards.


He was thus ---- tied to the soil,
bound to furnish statutory labor,
to serve as a foot soldier in times of war
in addition he was liable both to --- a personal (POLL) tax
and a land tax



εὐδαιμονία | eudaimonia
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:15 PM   #6
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The Greeks won at Marathon, but maybe over the long term the Persians won by introducing Christianity....
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:28 AM   #7
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I think that link is too facile; from a theological standpoint, and definitely from an architectural standpoint.

I fail to see the relation between the 'fire temple' and any sort of christian building. Even the centrally planned 'eastern' churches seem to be too different. The cupola is too minor a similarity to hang an relationship on. I would point out that all christian churches have a definite solar orientation, quite different from the stated sun-averse zorastrian temple.
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
I think that link is too facile; from a theological standpoint, and definitely from an architectural standpoint.

I fail to see the relation between the 'fire temple' and any sort of christian building. Even the centrally planned 'eastern' churches seem to be too different. The cupola is too minor a similarity to hang an relationship on. I would point out that all christian churches have a definite solar orientation, quite different from the stated sun-averse zorastrian temple.
The relationship is chronological. In the 3rd century the Persian empire witnessed the implementation of a centralised monotheistic state religion that was associated with the construction of distinctive architecture all over the Persian empire.

One century later, the same process occurs in the Roman empire. The relationship, at least on the surface, appears to be that the Romans copied the Persians in the implementation of a centralised monotheistic state religion that was associated with the construction of distinctive architecture all over the Roman empire.

This may be a coincidence, but I don't think so.




εὐδαιμονία | eudaimonia
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:35 AM   #9
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Ah, that makes more sense. Well worth considering.
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:39 AM   #10
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But is not the Basilica structure older?

And I would look at the three part structure of xian buildings - Baptistry, main bit and tower, as for example at Florence and Pisa.

Did these structures predate the theological explanations for them?
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