Icons in the Adriatic before the Sack of Constantinople in 1204

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The earliest preserved painted icons in the Adriatic date from the thirteenth century. In fact, apart from Rome, the entire Latin West seems to have embraced icons simultaneously overnight as soon as they started coming in great numbers from Byzantium following the capture of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1204. This chapter argues that the Adriatic was particularly responsive to these painted icons because it had already embraced Byzantine relief icons in the eleventh century. The examination includes both the material and written evidence for the existence of icons in the eleventh-century Adriatic, such as the extant marble Hodegetria icon from Trani and the recorded commission of a gilt silver icon for Siponto Cathedral in 1069. When it comes to Dalmatia, this investigation looks into a donation document recording five icons, one of which was made of silver, in a church built and furnished by a Croatian dignitary in the 1040s. The analysis demonstrates that by the thirteenth century, the Adriatic was conditioned by relief icons to embrace easily portable painted icons reaching its shores after the fall of Constantinople and that this area as a whole experienced a strong prestige bias towards Byzantine artefacts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationByzantium, Venice and the Medieval Adriatic
Subtitle of host publicationSpheres of Maritime Power and Influence, c. 700-1453
EditorsMagdalena Skoblar
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781108886987
ISBN (Print)9781108840705
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Publication series

NameBritish School at Athens Studies in Greek Antiquity


  • Apulia
  • Dalmatia
  • Bari
  • Ravenna
  • Byzantium
  • Constantinople
  • Virgin Mary
  • icons
  • stone relief

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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