Similarities And Differences Between Santa Sabina And Hagia Sophia

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The patron of the Basilica of Santa Sabina was Peter of Illyria, Pope Sixtus I, and the Dominican Order. It was created to worship, honor, and pay respects to Santa Sabina who had been stoned to death at the location as a result of following Christianity (martyr) during the 1st century. The eye-catching aspects of the church serve the purpose of inspiring viewers to follow Christianity as well.

The Basilica of Santa Sabina, located at the top of Aventine Hill, followed a central axis plan that used its space for a place of worship and meeting. To enter the basilica, you must pass through the narthex and then find your way to the main entrance, which will be very easy to identify due to the large, intricately carved wooden paneled doors, depicting scenes from both the old and new testament. At the west end, there is a narthex before you go into the church.

There, people were allowed to talk, wander around the area, and partake or listen to services if they were not allowed to enter the physical building. When going into the building, a long nave would stretch out in front of visitors. From there, many rituals, services, and ceremonies would take place, all facing towards the apse. Although these things took place, Santa Sabina was also a meeting hall. The nave was able to give the

The Basilica of Santa Sabina was designed by Peter of Illyria. He composed a basic basilica floor plan to fabricate the structure. It features two side aisles along a long, open nave, a narthex, acting as the entrance to the basilica, and one apse towards the very back. The aisles are lined with corinthian columns that ran along the entire nave. The nave, complete with marble floors, provided lots of open space for people who visited. The ceiling was also coffered. Big clerestory windows on the upper entablatures of the side walls, the apse, and the facade, allowed plenty of light to flow within the building. One reason Peter of Illyria wanted the clerestories to be so large might of been because light often represented divinity, christ, or heaven. The long nave had plenty of seats for visitors, facing the altar, in order for communion services to take place often. On the west end of the nave, was a narthex. The basilica also features one apse that depicts an intricate mosaic on top of it. It also features private chapels, tombs, and memorials for visitors. The specific location is also a lent station in which performs the mass for Ash Wednesday.

In the Basilica of Santa Sabina, multiple religious beliefs are reflected in artwork. For example, the wooden doors, the first thing you see when entering the basilica, display carvings of religious scenes. The door, made from cypress wood, shows scenes of Old and New Testament, which is an important part of Christianity. One specific panel on the door shows an early scene of the crucifiction of Jesus, which displays the early beginnings of Chrisitianity. In addition, the basilica has a series of arches and columns that line the side aisles. These large arches inlaid with stone, reflects or symbolizes, eucharist. One of the most prominent features of the basilica, the mosaics, also display or reflect religious beliefs. Although the one above the altar (most distinguishable), was replaced in 1559 due to the destruction, it still reflects religious beliefs.

The intricate mosaic shows Christ with both a good and bad thief beside him, as he sits on a hill watching nearby a lamb drink from a stream. The Basilica of Santa Sabina reflects the Romans’ culture in artistic, architectural, and religious ways. The art in the structure, being mosaics, a Roman favorite, were displayed all over the walls. Although the process took precision, dedication, and lots of time, mosaics became a staple in Roman art. In terms of architecture, arches, corinthian columns, and large scale buildings were also a Roman favorite, as the society loved each of them as part of their buildings. Because the Basilica is a place to practice Christianity, the cultures’ religious ways are also projected, just based off of the purpose of the building.

The Basilica does provide a sense of cultural/national identity because of the wide range of architectural aspects they incorporated into the Basilica. By looking at other works (structures) the Romans created, it’s very apparent to see what aspects of architecture they liked. For instance, the Romans always created structures that were large and grand, since they, as a society believed bigger was better. The Romans also liked to put arches on top of columns as part of their building, which was originally inspired by the Etruscans. However, Romans put their own twist on the technique by putting the arch on top of the column starting as early as the 1st century. Corinthian columns, also present in a lot of Romans’ works, are present in the Basilica. Overall, people can tell if the structure is Roman due to these aspects that are often seen in Roman works. The pattern has led scholars and historians to believe these certain building techniques were some of the Romans’ favorites, which gave Rome a sense of identity and distinguishability amongst other nations.

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Justinian I acts as a patron to the Hagia Sophia and made it in order to be the main basilica for the Byzantine Empire’s official religion. This version was constructed under Justinian I’s order to replace the previous one which was burned down during the Nika riots. Before that version, there was another which had also been burnt as a result of riots. Both of those versions had a wood roof so when building this version, that was taken into account to hopefully help fix that issue.

In the Hagia Sophia, there are designated places for the worshippers, for the worshippers to talk, and for those who lead the ceremonies or worshipping. When you first approach the Hagia Sophia as a worshipper, you enter the outer narthex and then the inner narthex. These both are at the west end. In these places, worshippers are allowed to talk to each other and interact. After going through here, once you enter the actual church, as a worshipper you are expected to use the side aisles to find your way to a seat. The side aisles are used so that worshippers are not in the way of those who are leading the ceremony when they come down through the middle.

The worshippers sit in the nave, which is in the center of the church and comes before the apse when entering from the back. The nave also served as a location for the ceremony of crowning the new emperors. Those who perform or lead ceremonies and worshippers go through the center of the nave to get to the apse. The apse of the Hagia Sophia consists of a mosaic called the Theotokos mosaic. The apse is set towards the east and is where the altar is located. It is not to be used by worshippers, but instead higher ups.

The Hagia Sophia was created by combining a central and axial floor plan. Through doing this, the nave is in the shape of an eclipse which may of been done on purpose to show how the state and church are interconnected with each other. The Hagia Sophia has a central dome which is made from a rose colored stone and is carved at the base to create a clerestory to let light in. The clerestory on the dome allows for the dome to be made lighter as well as allow light to go onto the naos which is the central area of where worshippers are located during ceremonies. By having light let in and onto them, it creates a sort of “heavenly” effect.

The central dome of the Hagia Sophia also has pendentives which are used to help support the weight of the dome as well as direct where the weight falls so the dome does not crumble due to the amount of weight it has. In the apse, there is also a clerestory at the base of what looks like a half dome. This was done to let light in on those leading the worshippers. The floor and lower walls of the Hagia Sophia were polychromed and there were multiple mosaics around the building which depict Christ. The church also has an inner and outer narthex which allows for there to be a place for church goers to talk before entering.

Throughout Hagia Sophia, there are various mosaics which each depict well known scenes along with well known figures in Christian Gospels. By including these brightly made mosaics, Hagia Sophia solidified its original purpose as a basilica for the Greek Orthodox Christian Church. One of such mosaics is the Theotokos mosaic which depicts the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. The central dome of Hagia Sophia contains a clerestory at its base which shines light onto worshippers to create a heavenly effect. The orientation of the Hagia Sophia also reflects the religious beliefs held by those involved with Christianity.

The apse, or altar location, of the church is oriented to face east, which is where the sun rises. The worshippers face east while praying which has been a long held tradition and may also have biblical origins. Christ is seen as a sort of light which may be why worshippers face east. The building reflects the culture of the Byzantine by being built on a grand scale with all the various parts coming from different provinces, representing a united empire. The culture also intertwined the state and church and by having the central and axial plan, it shows this union. Part of the function of the Hagia Sophia was also to hold the crowning ceremony for new emperors which furthers the connection between the church and state.

Hagia Sophia was made in a way in which it represented the various provinces under the Byzantine Empire and was meant to show the union of the entire empire. Hagia Sophia also was used as a central church in the Byzantine Empire. When constructing the basilica, Justinian I had each province under the Byzantine Empire’s rule send in something to contribute to the building materials and architectural elements.

Anatolia and Syria both contributed marble which was utilized in the construction of the floors as well as the ceiling. Provinces located as far as North Africa sent in bricks which were used in parts of the floor and walls. Hagia Sophia has a total of 104 columns which all came from either Egypt of the Temple of Artemis which was located in Ephesus. Through each province contributing to the construction of Hagia Sophia, it helped to create a sense of national identity within the building.

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