Images of Orthodoxy or Political Compromise? Visual Representations in the Late Antique South Caucasus
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|MU Faculty or unit
|Marginalized by two centuries of colonial and Orientalist historiography, the South Caucasus region was during the late antique centuries one of the most interested poles at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. Analyzing the data that emerged from the study of monumental decorations – mosaics and wall paintings – preserved in the historic kingdoms of Armenia and Iberia during the 7th century, however, further questions emerge. It is, firstly, about the very close visual relationship that existed with the space of not only the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition, the apsidal images of Aruch, Cromi, Mren or Talin can be understood as a series of visual projects intended to (re-) formulate the identity of the two neighboring countries in tension between the world of Constantinople and the Arab caliphate. The image can assume, in this context, an inclusive or exclusive function depending on the time of its conception, but also on its political and theological uses (and reuses). On the background of this situation then emerges the question of tolerance (and intolerance) toward cultures that proudly regard themselves as the oldest Christian cultures.