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Highlighting the splendours of the Byzantine Empire, Byzantium 330–1453
comprises around 300 objects including icons, detached wall paintings,
micro-mosaics, ivories, enamels plus gold and silver metalwork. Some of
the works have never been displayed in public before.
of the Archangel Michael, Constantinople, twelfth century. Silver gilt
on wood, gold cloisonné enamel, precious stones, 46.5 x 35 x 2.7 cm.
Basilica di San Marco, Venice, Tresoro, inv. no. 16. Photo per gentile
concessione della Procuratoria di San Marco/Cameraphoto Arte, Venice The exhibition includes great works from the San Marco
Treasury in Venice and rare items from collections across Europe, the
USA, Russia, Ukraine and Egypt. The exhibition begins with the
foundation of Constantinople in 330 AD by the Roman Emperor Constantine
the Great and concludes with the capture of the city by the Ottoman
forces of Mehmed II in 1453. This is the first major exhibition on
Byzantine Art in the United Kingdom for 50 years.
This epic exhibition has been made possible through a collaboration between the Royal Academy of Arts and the Benaki Museum,
Byzantium 330–1453 follows a
chronological progression covering the range, power and longevity of
the artistic production of the Byzantine Empire through a number of
themed sections. In this way the exhibition explores the origins of
Byzantium; the rise of Constantinople; the threat of iconoclasm when
emperors banned Christian figurative art; the post-iconoclast revival;
the remarkable crescendo in the Middle Ages and the close connections
between Byzantine and early Renaissance art in Italy in the 13th and
early 14th centuries.
Between 1204 and 1261, Constantinople was
in the hands of the Latin Crusaders, but the return of the Byzantine
Emperors to the city initiated a final period of great diversity in
art. Art from Constantinople, the Balkans and Russia show the final
phase of refinement of distinctively Orthodox forms and functions,
while Crete artists like Angelos Akotantos signed their icons and
merged Byzantine and Italian styles. Up to the end of the Byzantine
Empire, with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453,
manuscripts, micromosaics and metalwork demonstrates the virtuosity of
The exhibition shows the long history of Byzantine
art and documents the patrons and artists and the world in which they
lived. Seeing themselves as the members of a Christian Roman Empire
they believed that they represented the culmination of civilisation on
earth. The art emits an intellectual, emotional and spiritual energy,
yet is distinctive for the expression of passionate belief and high
emotion within an art of moderation and restraint.
Antioch Chalice, Byzantine, from Syria, possibly Kaper Koraon or
Antioch, first half of the sixth century. Silver cup set in footed
silver-gilt shell, Height 19. 7 cm. Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of
Art, New York. The Cloisters Collection, 1950 (50.4). Photo © The
Metropolitan Museum of Art Byzantium 330-1453 showcases the
Antioch Chalice (left), on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York. After its discovery in c.1911, the silver gilt artefact was
believed to have been the Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the
Last Supper. Major works from the Treasury of San Marco, Venice have
been loaned to the Royal Academy including the ornate Chalice of the
Patriarchs, c. 10th–11th century. Other highlights include a two-sided
icon of Virgin Hodegetria (obverse) and the Man of Sorrows (reverse),
12th century, from the Byzantine Museum, Kastoria, an impressive
10–11th century imperial ivory casket from Troyes cathedral depicting
hunting scenes and riders and the Homilies of Monk James Kokkinobaphos,
a manuscript from 1100–1150AD on loan from the Bibliothèque Nationale
de France, Paris.
Byzantium 330–1453 has been
organised by the Royal Academy of Arts and the Benaki Museum, Athens.
The exhibition has been curated by Professor Robin Cormack, Courtauld
Institute, London, Professor Maria Vassilaki, University of Thessaly at
Volos and the Benaki Museum and Dr Adrian Locke, Acting Head of
Exhibitions, Royal Academy of Arts.
Learn more about the exhibition with our education guide:
‘Byzantium 330–1453’ Education guide (3.3 MB)
Younger visitors can also learn more with our illustrated guide:
‘Byzantium 330–1453’ Junior guide (2.3 MB)
Costopoulos Foundation, the A.G. Leventis Foundation, and the Stavros
Niarchos Foundation are very proud to support the exhibition Byzantium
The three Foundations are committed to promoting and
preserving Hellenic culture and heritage in Greece and abroad.
Furthermore, the Foundations aim to express their active support for
collaborative projects between acclaimed international institutions,
realised in this case by the Benaki Museum in Athens and the Royal
Academy of Arts in London.
The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation, the
A.G. Leventis Foundation, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation have a
long tradition of supporting major exhibitions of Byzantine Art and
hope that, through their collaboration with such renowned cultural
organisations, they will enhance the audience’s understanding of a very
By MICHAEL CASEY, AP Environmental Writer
BANGKOK, Thailand – It seemed like a good idea at the time: Remove all the feral cats from a famous Australian island to save the native seabirds.
But the decision to eradicate the felines from Macquarie island allowed the rabbit population to explode and, in turn, destroy much of its fragile vegetation that birds depend on for cover, researchers said Tuesday.
Removing the cats from Macquarie "caused environmental devastation" that will cost authorities 24 million Australian dollars ($16.2 million) to remedy, Dana Bergstrom of the Australian Antarctic Division and her colleagues wrote in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology.
"Our study shows that between 2000 and 2007, there has been widespread ecosystem devastation and decades of conservation effort compromised," Bergstrom said in a statement.
The unintended consequences of the cat-removal project show the dangers of meddling with an ecosystem — even with the best of intentions — without thinking long and hard, the study said.
"The lessons for conservation agencies globally is that interventions should be comprehensive, and include risk assessments to explicitly consider and plan for indirect effects, or face substantial subsequent costs," Bergstrom said.
Located about halfway between Australia and the Antarctic continent, Macquarie was designated a World Heritage site in 1997 as the world’s only island composed entirely of oceanic crust. It is known for its wind-swept landscape, and about 3.5 million seabirds and 80,000 elephant seals arrive there each year to breed.
The cats, rabbits, rats and mice are all nonnative species to Macquarie, probably introduced in the past 100 years by passing ships. Authorities have struggled for decades to remove them.
The invader predators menaced the native seabirds, some of them threatened species. So in 1995, the Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania that manages Macquarie tried to undo the damage by removing most of the cats.
Several conservation groups including the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Birds Australia said the problem was not the original eradication effort itself — but that it didn’t go far enough. They said the project should have taken aim at all the invasive mammals on the island at once.
"What was wrong was that the rabbits were not eradicated at the same time as the cats," University of Auckland Prof. Mick Clout, who also is a member of the Union’s invasive species specialist group. "It would have been ideal if the cats and rabbits were eradicated at the same time, or the rabbits first and the cats subsequently."
Liz Wren, a spokeswoman for the Parks and Wildlife Service of Tasmania, said authorities were aware from the beginning that removing the feral cats would increase the rabbit population. But at the time, researchers argued it was worth the risk considering the damage the cats were doing to the seabird populations.
"The alternative was to accept the known and extensive impacts of cats and not do anything for fear of other unknown impacts," Wren said. "Since cats were eradicated, the grey petrel successfully bred on the island for the first time in a century and the recovery of Antarctic prions has continued since the eradication of feral cats."
Now, the parks service has a new plan to finish the job, using technology and poisons that weren’t available a decade ago.
Wren said plans to eradicate both rabbits as well as rats and mice from the island will begin in 2010. Helicopters using global positioning systems will drop poisonous bait that targets all three pests. Later, teams will shoot, fumigate and trap the remaining rabbits, she said.
Some of the earlier critics are now behind this latest eradication effort, saying it should help the island’s ecosystem fully recover because it would remove the last remaining invasive species.
"Without this action, there will be serious long-term consequences for the majestic seabirds which nest on the island including the four threatened albatross species, and for the health of the island ecosystem as a whole," said Dean Ingwersen, Bird Australia‘s threatened bird network coordinator.
"We believe that the process they are going to follow uses best practice for this type of work," Ingwersen said. "And that all possible ramifications have now been considered."
Full moon names date
back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern
United States. Those tribes of a few hundred years ago kept track of
the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon.
Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.
There were some variations in the moon names, but in general the
same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England
on west to Lake Superior. European settlers followed their own customs
and created some of their own names. Here is a listing of all of the full moon names, as well as the dates and times for 2009. Unless otherwise noted, all times are for the Eastern Time Zone.
Jan. 10, 10:27 p.m. EST — Full Wolf Moon. Amid
the zero cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled
hungrily outside Indian villages. It was also known as the Old Moon or
the moon after Yule. In some tribes this was the Full Snow Moon; most
applied that name to the next moon. The moon will also be at perigee
(its closest point to Earth) on this day, at 6:00 a.m. EST, at a
distance of 222,138mi. (357,497 km.) from Earth. Very high ocean tides can be expected from the coincidence of perigee with full moon.
Feb. 9, 9:49 a.m. EST — Full Snow Moon. Usually
the heaviest snows fall in this month. Hunting becomes very difficult,
and hence to some tribes this was the Full Hunger Moon.
Mar. 10, 10:38 p.m. EDT — Full Worm Moon. In this month the ground softens and the earthworm casts
reappear, inviting the return of the robins. The more northern tribes
knew this as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signals the
end of winter, or the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes
crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation.
Apr. 9, 10:56 a.m. EDT — Full Pink Moon.
The grass pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest widespread
flowers of the spring. Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon,
the Egg Moon, and — among coastal tribes — the Full Fish Moon, when
the shad came upstream to spawn. This is also the Paschal Full Moon;
the first full Moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following
the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed three
days later on Sunday, April 12.
May 9, 12:01 a.m. EDT — Full Flower Moon. Flowers are abundant everywhere. It was also known as the Full Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.
Jun. 7, 2:12 p.m. EDT — Full Strawberry Moon. Known to every Algonquin tribe. Europeans called it the Rose Moon.
Jul. 7, 5:21 a.m. EDT — Full Buck Moon, when
the new antlers of buck deer push out from their foreheads in coatings
of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon,
thunderstorms being now most frequent. Sometimes this is also called
the Full Hay Moon. Since the moon arrives at apogee less than 13 hours
later, this will also be smallest full moon of 2009. In terms of apparent size, it will appear 12-percent smaller than the full moon of Jan. 10
Aug. 5, 8:55 p.m. EDT — Full Sturgeon Moon, when
this large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water like
Lake Champlain is most readily caught. A few tribes knew it as the
Full Red Moon because the moon rises looking reddish through sultry
haze, or the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.
Sep. 4, 12:03 a.m. EDT — Full Corn Moon. Sometimes
also called the Fruit Moon; such monikers were used for a full moon
that occurs during the first week of September, so as to keep the
Harvest Moon from coming too early in the calendar.
Oct. 4, 2:10 a.m. EDT — Full Harvest Moon. Traditionally,
this designation goes to the full moon that occurs closest to the
Autumnal (fall) Equinox. The Harvest Moon usually comes in September,
but sometimes it will fall in early October as is the case in 2009; the
next time won’t come until 2017. At the peak of the harvest, farmers
can work into the night by the light of this moon. Usually the full moon rises
an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights
around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time
each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to
20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins,
squash, beans, and wild rice — the chief Indian staples — are now
ready for gathering.
Nov. 2, 2:14 p.m. EST — Full Beaver Moon. Now it is time
to set beaver traps before the swamps freeze to ensure a supply of warm
winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Beaver Full
Moon come from the fact that the beavers are now active in their
preparation for winter. This is also called the Frosty Moon, and as
this is also the next full moon after the Harvest Moon, it can also be
referred to as the Hunters’ Moon. With the leaves
falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields
have been reaped, hunters can ride over the stubble, and can more
easily see the fox, also other animals, which have come out to glean
and can be caught for a thanksgiving banquet after the harvest.
Dec. 2, 2:30 a.m. EST — Full Cold Moon. December is usually considered the month that the winter cold begins to fasten its grip.
Dec. 31, 2:13 p.m. EST — Full Long Night Moon. Nights
are at their longest and darkest. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly
appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long and the
moon is above the horizon a long time. The midwinter full moon takes a
high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite to the low Sun.
This is the second time the moon turns full in a calendar month, so it
is also popularly known as a "Blue Moon." Full moons
occur on average each 29.53 days (the length of the synodic month), or
12.3683 times per year; so months containing two full moons occur on
average every 2.72 years, or every 2 years plus 8 or 9 months. There
will be a partial lunar eclipse that will be visible
from Europe, Africa and Asia with this full moon. At its maximum
7.6-percent of the moon’s diameter will become immersed in the Earth’s
dark umbral shadow.
CANYON, Texas – Birders with binoculars and cameras are flocking to a
remote state park in search of a small yellow-chested bird that
apparently crossed the U.S. border for the first time from its
high-mountain habitat to the south.
At 5 inches with beige and yellow markings, the pine flycatcher doesn’t look like much, but its unprecedented migration from Mexico and Guatemala is exciting birders all over the country.
not a thrilling bird visually. It’s thrilling because it’s a first U.S.
record," said Wes Biggs, who flew to Choke Canyon State Park from
Orlando, Fla., to catch a glimpse.
bird, which appears to be alone, was first spotted last month and as
recently as Friday. The sightings have been confirmed by photographs
and recordings of its chirping. The bird, with a solitary nature,
usually stays at high elevations but made its winter home in the low
Texas scrubland about 200 miles north of its usual habitat.
the bird to be added to the official checklists of American birders, it
will first have to be accepted by the Texas Bird Records Committee,
then the American Birding Association. But expert birders are convinced the bird drawing the masses is a pine flycatcher.
a very unexpected discovery, but this is a bird we don’t much know
about," said Mark Lockwood, a state parks conservation biologist and
secretary of the Texas Bird Records Committee.
committee will review the photos, written descriptions and recordings,
but "there is no dispute it’s a pine flycatcher," Lockwood said.
Other types of flycatchers have been seen in South Texas,
but the pine flycatcher apparently traveled hundreds of miles to get to
the hackberry and mesquite trees near a large reservoir.
The bird seems "very much out of whack," said John Arvin, research coordinator at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. "It moved over a lot of hostile-looking territory to get there. Why that happened is anybody’s guess."
In the last week, word of the pine flycatcher has been spreading through birder Web sites and message boards.
Steve Matherly, from Houston, showed up in camouflage Thursday night after driving 3 1/2 hours for a glimpse early Friday.
dollars (spent to get here) per gram of bird is kind of amazing," he
chuckled, as he looked around at dozens of other birders scanning the
brush and chatting in hushed tones.
He belongs to a group that puts out e-mail alerts when a rare bird is sighted and came down as soon as he could.
"You never know. I’ve had my occasions where I’ve gotten there a day late," said Matherly, who works at a gas pipeline company. "I don’t know what I’ll see today, but it’ll be better than a cubicle."
Robbins, from Gainesville, Fla., traveled to South Texas to see the
pine flycatcher this week even though she came up empty on two previous
trips to the area for rare bird sightings.
"It’s a little bit of a treasure hunt," she said.
concedes the pine flycatcher is "dinky," that its distinguishing
features come down to a few feathers combined with a particular call.
"He’s not spectacular," she said. But "it’s unique."
MANILA — Tens of thousands of Filipino Catholic devotees jammed the
streets of the capital Friday, throwing handkerchiefs and surging
forward for a chance to touch a black statue of Jesus Christ that many
believe can deliver miracles.
The annual procession honoring
the 402-year-old image of Christ—known as the Black Nazarene—took a
different route this year to give the devotees more space and reduce
the chance stampede, which has sometimes marred past events.
barefoot devotees dive back to the crowd after climbing to touch the
image of the Black Nazarene during a procession to celebrate its 402nd
anniversary in Manila. (Photo: AP)
life-sized wooden figure—believed to have been brought by Spanish
missionaries from Mexico in 1606—made its way through the streets of
Manila in a cart pulled by plainclothes police officers as barefoot,
mostly male devotees wearing traditional maroon shirts pushed against
each other and stretched hands to get closer.
The cart was pulled
on a rope on its way back to the downtown Quiapo church. During the
past events, the statue was pulled around the church square, but this
time organizers decided to take it first to a central park and through
the city streets so more people would have a chance to see it.
1,500 police were securing the procession. Police said the figure was
fitted for the first time with a global positioning satellite device to
make it easier to track.
Many believe the Black Nazarene holds
mystical powers that can wash away sins or cure illnesses. People hurl
towels or handkerchiefs to be wiped on the image.
"I believe that Nazarene will give me what I’m asking for," said Joselito Pagul, who turns up for the procession every year.
police estimate of the crowd was immediately available, but radio and
television reports put it at tens of thousands. Last year, about 80,000
took part and two people died.
The Spanish missionaries’ ship
that brought the original statue to the Philippines, a former colony,
caught fire and the image was burned but survived as a testament to a
unique brand of Catholicism that combines folk superstitions. The
Philippines, Asia’s predominantly Christian nation, is 80 percent
The archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales,
said many Filipinos are devoted to the Black Nazarene because they
identify with him in the midst of poverty and suffering.
see Christ in themselves when they suffer from poverty and oppression,"
Rosales said at a dawn Mass. "In their devotion they see God’s love for
them amid all this misery."