Byzantine Architecture

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Definition

The architecture of the Byzantine Empire (4th - 15th century CE) continued its early Roman traditions but architects also added new structures to their already formidable repertoire, notably improved fortification walls and domed churches. There was, as well, a much greater concern for the interiors of buildings rather than their exteriors. Christianity influenced developments such as the conversion of the secular basilica into a magnificent church with an impressive domed ceiling. Byzantine buildings, in general, continued to employ the Classical orders but became more eclectic and irregular, perhaps originally because old pagan buildings were used as quarries to provide eclectic stone pieces for new structures. This emphasis on function over form is a particular aspect of Byzantine architecture, which blended influences from the Near East with the rich Roman and Greek architectural heritage. Byzantine architecture would go on to influence Orthodox Christian architecture and so is still seen today in churches worldwide.

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