Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Little Byzantine Churches of Athens

Athens is a city that interplays both east and west. From the deluxe hotels and modern office buildings, to the bazaars that hint of the Orient, Athens is a fast moving, modern capital. It’s hard to believe that once it was considered to be an unimportant provincial town. Seeking out the Byzantine churches of Athens is a great way to learn about and understand life in Byzantine Athens.

During the time of the Byzantine Empire (approximately 330 AD to 1453 AD), the Emperor Justinian passed an edict forbidding the study of philosophy in Athens. This law dealt a death blow to the ancient city. Athens, shorn of its glory, was ignored by the rest of the Byzantine Empire. Compared to the capital, Constantinople, it was thought to be culturally and politically insignificant. Because of this, Byzantine Athens is represented by only a dozen or so churches and monasteries, most of which date from the 11th century.



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