The Byzantine empire has a very rich and detailed past with great architecture and diversity that lasted for a millenium. The Byzantine Empire went through many changes with religion and many disagreements between the Chriatian and what is now called the Orthodox Church. Therefore, there are many types of buildings especially religious buildings that have great variances. Some Byzantine characteristics include; multiple domes, central planning including Greek cross plan, round arches and arcades, mosaics, alternating stone colors or stone and brick, predominantly brick, pendentives, impost blocks on columns, extensive use of domes including half comes, vaults, conchs, quincunx plans, polygonal apses, cross in square plan, interiors divided into bays, and separation of church interiors into sanctuary and nave.




The Apostles

Foliage, Frets, Waves, Geometric Designs, Guilloches, Lozenges, Rosttes, and Animals.


Public Building

Church- are the most common building type



Floor plans- Church plans are symmetrical, ordered and often complex. Centerlized plan with circular and polygonal forms arethe most common.

Materials- Brick, which permits more plastic elevation, supersedes Roman concret. Vaults and domes are of brick to eliminate centering. Iron tie-rods reinforce arches and vaults. Brick usually is covered with stucco, marble, stone, or mosaics.

Facades- Walls of earlier churches are smooth, plain, and unadorned. Later are articulated with architectural elements, which combine Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic influences. As time passes, facades grow more complex in form following  interior shapes.

Column- They are usually unfluted with an inverted pyramidal impost block. Both impost block and capitals have simple profiles, but are covered with complex, elaborate, and pierced lacy undercut foliage or geometric shapes.

Windows- With round tops punctuate walls and domes.

Roofs- Sloped and gabled rooflines are complicated. Domes over plan centers or crossing are universal.


Colors- The palette incorporates various shades od gold, red, green, and blue.

Floors- They have patterns of marble, stone or moasics, often in geometric patterns.

Walls- They are articulated with columns, pilasters, and cornices, and are covered with frescoes, mosaics, marble panels, or hanging; all are richly colored.

Mosaics- Byzantine churches are noted for their mosaics the continue to develop further Early Christian forms and images.

Windows- They are often numerous andmade of glass or alabaster.

Doors- They are made of iron, bronze, or wood.

Ceilings- Centers or crossing of churches have domes surrounded by smaller domed and half- domes spaces. Almost all ceilings feature painted and mosic decorations.

Decorative arts and Furniture

Materials- Furniture is wood, metal, and ivory using simple construction. Some pieces are jeweled or have gold and silver inlay.

Seating- Thrones and chairs are ofte illustrated in manuscripts.
The Maximianus throne, made for the archbishop, is constructed of ivory carved with animals, birds, and foliage.

Textiles- Silk and velvet are common materials, with designs featuring animals, geometric patterns, and Persian influence.

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