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Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art

Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art

Paper given by Benjamin Anderson

Delivered at Cornell University on 25 October 2017

In the rapidly changing world of the early Middle Ages, depictions of the cosmos represnted a consistent point of reference across the three dominant states – the Frankish, Byzantine, and Islamic Empires. As these Empires diverged from their Greco-Roman roots, cosmic imagery created a web of visual continuity, though local meanings of these images varied greatly.

Using thrones, tables, mantles, frescoes, and manuscripts, Benjamin Anderson shows how cosmological motifs informed relationships between individuals, especially the ruling elite, and communities.


Benjamin Anderson is assistant professor in the Department of History of Art and Visual Studies at Cornell University.

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