Lost Byzantine castle found under water

Within the scope of the Yalova Coasts Ancient Harbor and Underwater Survey, which was carried out in Altınova district of the northwestern province of Yalova for two years, the Byzantine caste of Kibatos (Civetot) was discovered.

First published in Hurriyet Daily News.

It was reported that the castle was built for the refuge of Anglo-Saxon soldiers, who escaped from the Battle of Hasting between the Crusader armies and the Seljuk armies in the First Crusade in 1069 but may have remained under the Hersek Lagoon as a result of severe earthquakes.

The survey has been carried out with the permission of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and with the contributions of Altınova Municipality, Uludağ University and the Turkish Historical Society.

During the works carried out by a team made up of academic Serkan Gündüz, Işıl Akalan Gündüz of Leicester University, Survey Engineer İlke Ekioğlu of Sinop University and a team of students, a sea castle spreading over an area of approximately 4,200 square meters was discovered on the coastline between Altınova and Karamürsel district of Kocaeli. The castle was in 3.5 meters deep.

Following the discovery, a press conference was held on the coast of Hersek Lagoon.

Altınova Mayor Metin Oral said that the castle was discovered as a result of a two-year work and continued:

“Although it was located in a very important place in the history scene, finding this castle, which could not be definitively localized, was one of the reasons for starting our research. It was known from the written documents that the Byzantine Emperor Alexius had built a castle in this area for Anglo-Saxon soldiers, who fled the Battle of Hasting in 1069, which changed the history of England. In order to find the castle, we have been searching for a sea castle on the opposite side of the Hereke Castle near Helenopolis, based on the studies we have done in the region for two years. The structure, identified between Helenopolis (Hersek) and Karamürsel, is thought to be the Kibatos-Civetot Castle because its architecture is very similar to the expressions in the written documents. Kibatos-Civetot Castle gained great importance in 1096 during the First Crusades. In 1095, just one year after the Pope’s call for the Crusade, the first campaign, called the Crusade, began. Alexios, who wanted to remove the Crusaders, who came to Constantinople, from the capital, sent them to Kibatos Castle. The armies came to the castle via Nicomedia from the land, and some went directly to the castle by sea. According to the various sources, their number was between 25,000-600,000 people.”

Oral said that they would start working to bring the castle to light

“The Crusades have had inevitable consequences for both the Christian world and the entire Muslim world. This battle is of great importance for European history. However, its importance for the Anatolian Seljuk history and Turkish people, unfortunately, is not known enough. It was the first great battle defeat of the Crusader history in Anatolia that would attack the Anatolian Seljuk State with various games with the siege of İznik in 1097,” he said.

Oral said that finding this castle and archeological studies will shed light on a dark page of our history and added, “In this period, we will highlight our historical textures. We will unearth them. It will also give us information about the Seljuk State. In the following process, it may provide us different historical information. This is the beginning. The main work will begin from now on.”

The works to unearth Kibatos Castle will take about three years. The findings of the studies will be shared with the public.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Rise of Empires: Ottoman’: Release date, plot, cast and all you need to know about Netflix’s historical series

It appears that Netflix will be streaming this new series from 24 Jan 2020.

The docuseries will chronicle the Fall of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire from the Ottoman perspective.

In October 2018, Netflix greenlit the limited series titled ‘Rise of Empires: Ottoman’ which will chronicle the life of Mehmed the Conquerer and aims to tell the story of the Fall of Constantinople from a different perspective.

Release Date
The first season, consisting of six episodes, will be released on Netflix on January 24, 2020.

The Turkish documentary series follows the rise of the Ottoman Empire under the leadership of Mehmed the Conquerer. In 1453 AD, at the age of 21, Sultan Mehmed conquered Constantinople (now Istanbul) and brought an end to the centuries-old Byzantine Empire.

After conquering the city, Sultan Mehmed transferred the capital of the Ottoman State from Edirne to Constantinople and established his court there.

The capture of the city (and two other Byzantine splinter territories soon thereafter) marked the end of the Roman Empire, a state which dated to 27 BC, which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years.

At home he made many political and social reforms, encouraged the arts and sciences, and by the end of his reign, his rebuilding program had changed the city into a thriving imperial capital. He is considered a hero in modern-day Turkey and parts of the wider Muslim world.

Cem Yigit Uzümoglu

Cem Yigit Uzümoglu is a Turkish actor known for his role as Emir in Netflix’s ‘The Protector’. He will play the role of Fatih Sultan Mehmet in the upcoming docuseries.

Tuba Büyüküstün is a Turkish actress known for her roles in ‘Black Money Love’ and ‘Brave and Beautiful’. She will play the role of Mara Hatun, who was the stepmother of Sultan Mehmed. Born Mara Branković, she was the daughter of a Serbian monarch whose betrothal to Murad II was an attempt to prevent an invasion of Serbia from the Ottoman Empire.

Osman Sonant

Osman Sonant is a Turkish actor known for his work on ‘Zengin ve Yoksul’ and ‘Ufak Tefek Cinayetler’. He plays the role of Loukas Notaras, a Byzantine statesman who served as the last megas doux or grand Duke and the last mesazon of the Byzantine Empire, under emperors John VIII Palaiologos and Constantine XI Palaiologos.

Posted in Istanbul, The Fall of Constantinople 1453, Video | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The medieval ‘New England’: a forgotten Anglo-Saxon colony on the north-eastern Black Sea coast

Extract from an Italian portolan atlas of 1553 of the Crimea, which names Susaco (Sussex) and Londina (London), believed to have been settlements in ‘Nova Anglia’. Wikipedia

A New England on the Black Sea was created more than 500 years before its American successor, naming towns after their homeland like the Pilgrim Fathers.

Fugitives of the Norman Conquest are said to have been rewarded for their gallantry by the Byzantine emperor with an enclave in the Crimea, according to historian Caitlin Green.

Dr. Green’s account of ‘Nova Anglia’ on her blog tells of the 14th-century Icelandic saga of Edward the Confessor which outlines events following 1066.

‘They left their estates and fled away from the land with a great host,’ the old text says.

They were led by Siward, earl of Gloucester, and headed south to the Mediterranean, making a raid on Cueta, North Africa, and slaughtering there.

Afterwards, they made haste to Micklegarth, now known as Istanbul, where they had heard a siege was underway.

They defeated the enemy ships and the saga says that the emperor ‘took wonderfully well’ to the newcomers.

According to the saga he offered the English positions in his personal bodyguard, the Varangians, so impressed was he by the warriors.

But the astute Englishmen asked for land instead.

Rather than deprive his own gentry of their lands, the emperor advised the English of a region across the sea, which had once belonged to the Romans.

The emperor said they could have it if they were able to defeat the barbarians living there.

After countless battles, the saga says that they took the land and named it England.

The saga says: ‘To the towns that were in the land and to those which they built they gave the names of the towns in England. They called them both London and York, and by the names of other great towns in England.’

Despite problems with the narrative, for example there was never a Siward, earl of Gloucester, there remains compelling evidence provided by Dr Green.

It is well documented for instance that the emperor’s Varangian guard went from being largely made up of Scandinavians in the 10th and 11th centuries, to a predominantly English force.

Dr Green told The Times of those who rose through the ranks of Byzantine society who were able to earn titles and land.

Furthermore, old maps seem to show that there were places named by Englishmen, including the town of ‘Susaco’ (Sussex) and the river ‘Londina’ (London).

On her website Dr Green writes: ‘This territory would appear to have been established by the late eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon exiles who had left England after the Norman Conquest and joined the Byzantine emperor’s Varangian Guard, and their control of at least some land and cities here apparently persisted for several centuries, perhaps thus providing a regular supply of “English Varangians” to the Byzantine Empire that helps to explain why the “native tongue” of the Varangian Guard continued to be English as late as the mid-fourteenth century.’

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Event – Images of Byzantium: Don’t miss the stunning gilded iconography at Monkton Arts IoW

This will be targeted at a very tiny numbers of readers in England, but as I can see the Isle of Wight from one of my favourite walks, I thought I would highlight this exhibition.

This exhibition and illustrated talk by Isle of Wight artist, Stuart Robinson, features a large fully-gilded 18th century Moscow-prototype of the crucifixion.

The Acons Gallery at Monkton Arts kicks off the New Year with “Images of Byzantium”, an exhibition featuring sixteen icons painted by Isle of Wight artist, Stuart Robinson.

Taking place between 7th to 18th January 2020 (Monday-Saturday), the centre-piece of the exhibition is a 75cm x 60cm fully-gilded 18th century Moscow prototype of the crucifixion.

Stuart also explains that thirteen of the icons were painted to illustrate the booklet “Icons of the Great Feasts”.

Artist’s Talk
You can find out more at an illustrated talk presented by Stuart at Monkton Arts on Friday 10th January from 5 to 6pm.

The title of the talk is “Icons: What are they? What is their role in worship? How are they painted?”

Tickets to the talk are £2 each – proceeds will go to charity.

Monkton Arts can be found in East Street, Ryde.

Posted in Byzantine Events | Leave a comment

UNESCO Recognizes Byzantine Chant as Part of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

An important distinction for Greece and Cyprus was announced by UNESCO recently, when the two countries’ proposal to the Organization to include the Byzantine Chant on its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was approved.

In its statement announcing the recognition, UNESCO notes that ”As a living art that has existed 2000 years, Byzantine chant is a significant cultural tradition and comprehensive music system.”

Byzantine chant, the UNESCO statement explains, ”forms part of the common musical traditions that developed in the Byzantine Empire. Highlighting and musically enhancing the liturgical texts of the Greek Orthodox Church, it is inextricably linked with spiritual life and religious worship.”

”This vocal art is mainly focused on rendering the ecclesiastical text; arguably, the chant exists because of the word ”logos,” since every aspect of the tradition serves to spread the sacred message,” the announcement stated.

UNESCO made a special reference as to how this tradition has managed to survive throughout the centuries against all odds and remain at the center of the Greek Orthodox Christian faith even today.

”Passed on aurally across the generations, its main characteristics have remained over the centuries: it is exclusively vocal music; it is essentially monophonic; the chants are codified into an eight-mode or eight-tone system, and the chant employs different styles of rhythm to accentuate the desired syllables of specific words,” it explained.

The UNESCO announcement also notes that ”Though the Psaltic Art has always been linked to the male voice, women chanters are common in nunneries and participate in parishes to some extent.

“In addition to its transmission in church, Byzantine chant is flourishing due to the dedication of experts and non-experts alike – including musicians, choir members, composers, musicologists and scholars – who contribute to its study, performance and dissemination,” the statement concludes.

Posted in Music | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia: Medieval Byzantine Chant – updated

Cappella Romana are releasing some new music just in time for Christmas. Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia is the first vocal album in the world to be recorded entirely in live virtual acoustics. It brings together art history, music history, performance, and technology to re-create medieval sacred sound in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia as an aural virtual reality.

With a stunning reverberation time of over 11 seconds, the acoustics of Hagia Sophia were measured and analyzed, and auralized in real-time on Cappella Romana’s performance by the Icons of Sound team at Stanford University (iconsofsound.stanford.edu).

Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia presents more than 75 minutes of medieval Byzantine chant for the Feast of the Holy Cross in Constantinople, one of the greatest celebrations in the yearly cycle of worship at Hagia Sophia. This deluxe package (CD and Blu-rayTM) contains standard- and high-resolution stereo and surround-sound formats including Dolby Atmos™, as well as a bonus track and a 24-minute documentary film.

Enrich your experience of the music with in-depth essays, musical examples, and illustrations about the project in a 40-page booklet, which also presents all original Greek texts with translations in English. For a thousand years, Hagia Sophia was the largest enclosed space in the world. Let Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia transport you back in time to medieval sound and ritual in this monumental sixth-century cathedral.

Recorded at CCRMA, Stanford University. Stereo version mixed & mastered at Perfect Record, St. Paul, Minn. Surround-sound version mixed & mastered at Skywalker Sound, a Lucasfilm Ltd. Company, Marin County, California.

You can pre-order Lost Voices Of Hagia Sophia: Medieval Byzantine Chant here. Use the code “FS19” to receive free shipping within in the USA until November 30.

You can buy from Amazon Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia

Listen to a sample below:

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Event – Building God’s Empire: Archaeology, religion and the Byzantine conquest of Africa

The Emporer Justinian and courtiers – Basilica of San Vitale

This looks like an interesting event to attend for those who can make it. The combination of Justinian, Belisarius, and the idea of rebuilding the western Roman empire is an intoxicating mix, and a great story. To be held at King’s College London. Open to all and free entry.

The Byzantine conquest of Africa in the 530s is often portrayed as the simple, if contested, liberation of the region from heretical barbarian rule, but rarely as an episode of imperialism. Yet Justinian’s self-proclaimed aim went beyond restoring Rome’s former territories to the far-reaching ambition of uniting a doctrinally divided Christian world under one empire, one God and one Church. During his reign, the Church grew in importance as an imperial agent in other ways, collecting taxes, owning and administering large rural estates, building town defences and organising civic life. Paradoxically, the best evidence for the period – the churches themselves– have played very little part in recent scholarship which has rather approached these problems through image and text. Yet in a society where few could read, claims to authority were asserted and disputed through architecture and place. Church buildings not only embodied complex theological and political concepts from the nature of the Trinity to the relationship between Church and state, but also reordered local identities, memories and experiences of place. This paper will examine the central role played by churches in the construction of new networks of political, religious and economic power in North Africa.

Corisande Fenwick is Lecturer in Mediterranean Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. After receiving a PhD from Stanford University, she held postdoctoral fellowships at Brown University and the University of Leicester. Her research focuses on the archaeology and history of the late antique and Islamic West and comparative approaches to empire. Her publications include Early Islamic North Africa (Bloomsbury, in press) and the co-edited Oxford Handbook of Islamic Archaeology (OUP, in press) and Aghlabids and their Neighbours (Brill, 2017). She co-directs excavations at the late antique church of Bulla Regia (Tunisia) and the medieval quarter of Volubilis (Morocco).

When? 26 November 2019, 18:00 to 20:00

Where? Kings’ College London, Bush House Room S2.03, Strand Campus, London

Contact: chs@kcl.ac.uk

Posted in Academic Papers, Byzantine Events | Tagged , , | Leave a comment