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Damascus, Great Mosque

(847 words)

Author(s): Amanda Luyster
The Great Mosque of Damascus was constructed as a place of worship and an instrument of policy, suggesting the greatness of the Umayyads and of the Islamic faith. Its structure both reused and transformed the visual traditions of the postclassical world. It has served as a model for later mosques in Syria and elsewhere and as a continuing place of pilgrimage, both because of the relics it houses and as a stop on the pilgrimage road to Mecca. The Great Mosque of Damascus was built between 705 (or 706) and 715 in Syria by Caliph Al-Walid I, as part of an intense Umayyad bui…

St Martial in Architecture

(917 words)

Author(s): Amanda Luyster
Saint Martial was the first bishop of Limoges. Gregory of Tours recorded the earliest version of his life: Martial was sent by the pope to Gaul in the mid-third century, where he converted the city of Limoges, served as its bishop, and was later interred in a crypt. From these few facts arose more thrilling versions of the legend. No longer simply a confessor, Martial was instead said to have been an apostle living in the first century, to have served Christ at the Last Supper, and to have recei…