Hagioi Asomatoi

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/01/01/01/020
Level Item
Place Hagioi Asomatoi
Dates 1888-1890
Donor/Creator Weir Schultz, Mr Robert
Barnsley, Mr Sidney Howard
Scope and Content Ground plan. This plan is one of the earliest accurate depictions of the original Byzantine church. This is a preliminary drawing ( 'working-plan'). The words 'Asomaton' and 'Asomaton Athens' in capital letters are inscribed in the margin. The sketch of an unknown church in pencil survives on the reverse.
Further information The church of Hagioi Asomatoi at Theseion, Athens is of the four-column cross-in-square architectural type with Athenian dome and narthex. It is dated to the second half of the 11th c. This elegant building was disfigured by extensions and additions which were removed in 1960. In terms of architecture it follows the middle Byzantine church-building tradition of the Greek mainland (‘Greek School’): instead of pure brick, Greek builders from the early 11th c. at least use a cloisonné facing.

The exterior of the church displays high quality cloisonné construction of particular interest: the original west wall which has collapsed must have been decorated by a frieze of ornamental brick-work with pseudo-Kufic motifs, a characteristic feature of Byzantine architecture since 1040, which also forms part of the walling in the Hagioi Theodoroi church in Klafthmonos square. Large well-designed stone crosses decorate the base of the outer walls. Single cut ornamental bricks have been inserted vertically between the ashlar blocks. Bricks with decorative patterns imitating pseudo-Kufic motifs have been inserted under the roof. The original interior decoration of the building is now lost.