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TEXIER, Charles Félix Marie. Byzantine Arcitecture, illustrated by Examples of Edifices erected in the East during the earliest Ages of Christianity…, and R.Popplewell Pullan, London, Day & Son, 1864.

Charles Félix Marie Texier (1802-1871) was a French archaeologist and architect. In 1823 he entered the School of Fine Arts and by 1827 he had already become inspector of public works in Paris. He conducted excavations in Fréjus and Ostia. During 1828 and 1829 he directed archaeological missions on behalf of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. In 1833, after just one journey, Texier published "Asie mineure: description géographique, historique et archéologique des provinces et des villes de la Chersonnèse d’Asie", overshadowing all the preceding rather simplistic related studies.

With R. Chandler (1765), W.M. Leake (early 19th century) and Texier, travellers begin gradually to penetrate the vast interior of Asia Minor. The first explorations were made in the area of Bithynia but the easternmost regions, linked more with looting antiquities than with romantic itineraries, held a dual attraction for travellers, because of their rich Graeco-Roman past and the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse.

In 1839 Texier set out on an archaeological mission to Armenia, Mesopotamia and Persia, the results of which were published over the years 1843-1845. From 1840 he was Professor of Archaeology at the Collège de France, from 1843 an inspector of public building in Algeria and in 1855 he was elected an academician. Texier was among the first scholars to study Byzantine architecture. This impressive edition in large format is a pioneering as well as fully documented work on the subject. The author collected his material during his three journeys to Asia Minor, Trebizond and Thessalonica. Scholars from Russia, Germany and England came to Paris to see and discuss this material, on which Texier worked from 1854 to 1862.

The text opens with an introduction to Byzantine architecture, focusing on churches, edifices of circular plan and fortifications. The following chapters deal with architecture before Constantine the Great, buildings in Cappadocia, religious ceremonies in churches, the conversion of ancient temples into Christian places of worship, and mosaic pavements. The edition includes information and illustrations on Christian architecture in Jerusalem, Bursa, Trebizond, Syria, and almost all the churches of Thessalonica (St George-Rotunda, the Virgin Chalceon, Hagia Sophia, Holy Apostles, Acheiropoietos, and Prophet Elijah).

Written by Ioli Vingopoulou

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