|Collection||Byzantine Research Fund|
Hasluck, Dr Frederick William
|Scope and Content||South-east view. Annotation in pencil on the back of the photo: H.S. 6248, Geraki, Laconia, S Chrystostomos, F.W.H. H.S.= Hellenic Society negative number|
|Further information||Built by the Franks around 1250 east of the present-day village, Geraki castle was ceded to Michael VIII in 1262 as ransom for Guillaume de Villechardouin’s freedom and remained in Greek hands until the middle of the 15th c.
It is of irregular polygon shape with gate-houses, large corner towers and a plastered cistern against the south-east enceinte. The main gate, which is surmounted by three niches once filled with armorial bearings, is on the west side.
The masonry throughout is rubble with tiles. The castle is said to have been built in emulation to that of Mistras and was drastically restored by the Byzantines. Numerous houses, churches and chapels still survive inside the castle walls.
The small church of Hagios Chrysostomos stands south-east of present-day Geraki. It is a barrel-vaulted single cell building with two entrances on the south and north sides. Three pairs of blind absidioles decorate the interior. The conch on the west wall bears the painted image of the second founder Christophoros Kontoleon. The masonry consists of rubble with few brickwork inserts and plenty ancient spolia: worth noting are the four massive squatted marble slabs (three of them form the jambs and lintel of the entrance door) covered with the so-called Edictum Diocletianum, a list of maximum prices to be applied in the Byzantine market. Continuous friezes with abacus brick patterns and inserted glazed ceramic bowls decorate the south and east sides. The interior of the church is covered by wall-paintings in two phases (the second dates around 1450). The building itself, however, must be dated to the 13th c.
[BSA SPHS 01/2337.6248], Geraki: Church of Ayios Chrysostomos [St. John Chrysostom], 1905