A Underglazed Monogram from the Palaiologos Dynasty in İzmir Kadifekale (Smyrna Acropolis)Dilek Maktal Canko
Monograms, which are symbols formed by the combination of a series of letters indicating a title or prayer, have gained an important place in Byzantine symbolism since the early Christian world. In small-sized Byzantine glazed ceramics such as bowls and plates, monograms are usually seen on the tondo of the ceramics. In these monograms, the names of saints such as Mikhail, Demetrios, Prodromos, Andronikos, and Georgios or dynastic names such as Palaiologos (ΠΑΛΑΙΟΛΟΓΟC) were read intensively. Palaiologos monogram, consisting of four letters, Π and A adjacent, Λ and Γ side by side, is one of the monograms created by combining two or more letters side by side. This monogram is also seen intensely in ceramics. Palaiologos monogram ceramics found in the centers on the Black Sea coast and Constantinople are rarely seen on the Aegean coasts. The Izmir Kadifekale Palaiologos monogamous sgraffito sample is important in that it is a rare specimen (single specimen?) found on the Aegean coasts. In this article, the place of the İzmir Kadifekale sample among other monogrammed samples has been tried to be determined by examining its style features. Moreover, the functions of Palaiologos monogram sgraffito ceramics are discussed in the light of İzmir Kadifekale’s example. In modern literature, a point of view has emerged that monogrammed vessels are used mainly for liturgical purposes, regardless of their content. However, while the names of the saints already fulfil this task, it should be considered that the Palaiologos monogram, which encodes a dynasty name, has a different function than the religious one. Considering the examples in the contemporary West, it is suggested that this monogram may be a part of a policy of developing a language of power that offers political unity and trust.
İzmir Kadifekale (Smyrna Akropolü)’de Palaiologos Dönemine Ait Sır Altı MonogramDilek Maktal Canko
Unvan veya dua belirten bir dizi harfin bileşiminden meydana gelen monogramlar, erken Hristiyanlık dünyasından itibaren Bizans sembolizminde önemli bir yer edinmiştir. Kâse ve tabak gibi küçük boyutlu Bizans sırlı seramiklerinde monogramlar, genellikle seramiğin tondosunda görülmektedir. Bu monogramlarda yoğun olarak Mikhail, Demetrios, Prodromos, Andronikos, Georgios gibi aziz isimleri veya Palaiologos (ΠΑΛΑΙΟΛΟΓΟC) gibi hanedan isimleri okunmuştur. Π ve A bitişik, Λ ve Γ yan yana olmak üzere dört harften oluşan Palaiologos monogramı, iki ya da daha fazla harfin yan yana bitiştirilerek oluşturulmuş monogramlardan biridir. Bu monogram, seramikler üzerinde de yoğun olarak görülmektedir. Karadeniz kıyılarındaki merkezler ve Konstantinopolis’te buluntularına rastlanan Palaiologos monogramlı seramikler, Ege kıyılarında nadir görülmektedir. İzmir Kadifekale (Smyrna Akropolü) Palaiologos monogamlı sgraffito örneği, Ege kıyılarında ele geçen nadir örnek olması açısından önemlidir. Bu makalede, İzmir Kadifekale örneğinin diğer monogramlı örnekler arasındaki yeri, stil özellikleri incelenerek belirlenmeye çalışılmıştır. Ayrıca Palaiologos monogramlı sgraffito seramiklerin işlevleri tartışılmıştır. Modern literatürde, içeriği ne olursa olsun monogramlı kapların esas olarak litürjik amaçlar için kullanıldığına dair bir bakış açısı oluşmuştur. Ancak aziz isimleri bu görevi yerine getirirken, bir hanedan ismini kodlayan Palaiologos monogramının dinî amaçtan farklı bir işlevde kullanıldığı düşünülmelidir. Batıdaki çağdaşı örnekler de göz önünde bulundurularak bu monogramın siyasi birlik ve güven sunan bir iktidar dili geliştirme politikasının bir parçası olabileceği göz önüne alınmalıdır.
Monograms are symbols that are unique to and identify a person or group, consisting of a combination of letters that indicate a name, title or prayer. Monograms, which have taken an important place in Byzantine symbolism since the early Christian world, have been found most intensely as signs of state power such as coins, seals, and weights, or as property markers in personal works such as jewellery, accessories, and manuscripts. The purpose and function of using monograms on ceramics, such as accessories and monumental structures, is still debated. Recently, new ideas have been put forward. In this article, the function of the Palaiologos monogram is discussed in light of the example of the underglaze monogram found in the İzmir Kadifekale Byzantine Cistern by including these new views.
In Byzantine glazed ceramics, monograms are seen on the inner surface of small glazed pottery such as bowls and plates. The monogram is in the center of the composition in the examples seen in the tondo part of the monochrome vessels, which are usually created with sgraffito or sometimes wide engraving technique under yellow or green glaze. Examples of monogrammed glazed pottery have been recovered from archaeological sites on the Black Sea and Aegean coasts, as well as in Balkan countries such as Bulgaria and Greece, especially in Constantinople. Sirkeci’s excavations revealed data on the production of monogrammed ceramics. In these monograms; Names of saints such as Mikhail (ΜΙΧΑΗΛ), Demetrios (ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟC), Prodromos (ΠΡΟΔΡΟΜΟC), Andronikos (ΑΝΔΡΟΝΙΚΟC), Georgios (ΓΕOΡΓΙΟC) or dynastic names such as Palaiologos (ΠΑΛΑΙΟΛΟΓΟC) were read.
The Palaiologos monogram, which first appeared on the coins of Andronikus II (1282-1328), is one of the monograms formed by juxtaposing two or more letters. The Palaiologos monogram consists of four letters, P and A adjacent, and Λ and Γ side by side. In buildings, architectural plastic pieces and small artifacts dating to the Palaeologan period, can be seen either alone or with the accompanying Solomon knot, swastika motif, double-headed eagle or the symbol (#) where two horizontal bars intersect with two vertical bars. The similarity of the monogram to Western heraldry, which was revived during the Paleologan period, helps us to understand why heraldic images accompany the monogram so often.
The Palaiologos monogram, which was seen during the monogramming fashion of household names popular in the late Byzantine period, is one of the most common monograms on ceramics. The monogram, which offers quality workmanship and is usually found in the tondo of yellow or green monochromatic glazed ceramics, is made with the technique of engraving under the glaze. The capital city of Constantinople, Heraklion, Bulgaria, Nessebar, Varna, Kaliakra, Rusokastro Castle, and Crimea are the centers where finds have been concentrated until today. The only reliable data on the production of the Palaiologos monogram came from the Istanbul Sirkeci excavations. While the finds of Palaiologos monogram sgraffito specimens are mostly seen on the Black Sea coasts, the İzmir Kadifekale Palaiologos monogamous sgraffito specimen is important in that it is a rare example (single example?) found on the Aegean coasts.
It is now accepted by many researchers that the monograms found in the tondo of the monogrammed Late Byzantine sgraffito ceramics are not pottery’s marks. In modern literature, a point of view has emerged that monogrammed vessels are used mainly for liturgical purposes, regardless of their content. Among these monograms, which are related to Christian liturgy and ritualism, the Palaiologos monogram, which encodes the dynasty, can be considered to have a different function, since many of them undoubtedly encode the names of saints. Heraldic monograms, evoking features of privileged social status, patronage, and property, developed in the West in the mid-12th century, and by the 13th century, these monograms appeared prominently in art. In other words, heraldry, which spanned medieval Europe and the Mediterranean, became part of developing a visual “language of power” for an increasingly elite society. Social conditions in 12th-century Byzantium were in many ways similar to those in Western Europe. The Byzantine dynasty may also have wanted to create a language of power with the heraldic symbol. The Palaiologos dynasty must have discovered the fact that the loyalty to the city of Constantinople and the Byzantine state, which was lost with the Crusades but was taken back in 1261, can be maintained by being united, and must have wanted to make the power of the government feel more often through symbols and to create an environment of trust. The appearance of the Palaiologos monogram on the castle walls also supports the idea that it points to a strong and reliable empire and its apotropaic function. For the Byzantine society to feel that they lived in unity and a strong empire, monograms were also used on the most widely used objects in Byzantine daily life. However, the fact that the number of finds is less than the other monogrammed samples and the distribution area is narrower shows that these samples are not from daily-use containers. These vessels were kept in homes, perhaps as ornaments or as a religious symbol, with an apotropaic function. Finding finds in places beyond the political control of the Byzantine emperors may suggest that it was designed as a gift to high-ranking or deserving people. Given the empire’s precarious financial situation, it is conceivable that skillfully crafted ceramic pots might be offered as presents. In this case, it can be thought that it may have been given to successful military members as a gift as a symbol of political unity and trust. However, each theory needs more data and more discussion as it decodes the meaning of monograms.