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Byzantine Fresco of Saint George, 1284–1295AD.
Alti Kilise (Kirk Dam), Belisirma, Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey.
Figure 1. St George between Emir Basil Giagoupes and his wife, Kyra Thamar. Kirk Dam Alti Kilise or St George at Belisirma, Ihlara Valley (Cappadocia, Turkey), 1284–1295. © Author.
Although the holy warrior of Cappadocia went on to be painted in Orthodox churches as before, there were occasions in which this depiction acquired a distinctive significance under the new Muslim rule.
Thus, the new monastic cave-church dedicated to St George (Kirk Dam Alti Kilise or St. George at Belisirma), built between 1284 and 1295, in the Ihlara Valley.
There, the Christian donors, the emir Basil Giagoupes, and his wife, the kyra Thamar, who were administrators of the region, are depicted flanking a standing and monumental St George (Figure 1).
The Greek inscription informs us that this was made under the rule of the Seljuk Sultan Mesud II (1284–1297 and 1303–1307) and the Byzantine emperor, Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282–1328), who was no longer the ruler of this land but gave support to Mesud II to take the sultanate’s throne at Konya.
So, it is very likely that in this particular case, the presence of St George and the invocation to the Byzantine emperor were, on the one hand, a way of expressing and strengthening the “Byzantine” identity of the Orthodox Greek community—who were here outside the Byzantine state and within the Muslim Sultanate of Rum.
On the other hand, the dual mention of the Sultan of Rum and the emperor is also a way to reinforce the bond between Greeks and Muslims in the context of alliances between Andronico II and Mesud II.
Source: Crossing Cultural Boundaries: Saint George in the Eastern Mediterranean under the Latinokratia (13th–14th Centuries) and His Mythification in the Crown of Aragon by Manuel Castiñeiras 4 September 2020
See also: Byzantine Relief Icon of St George the Cappadocian, Kastoria, Latin Greece, mid 13th Century. Byzantine and Christian Museum ΒΧΜ 01108.
A cavalry soldier in an icon of Saint George and the boy from Mytilene, Byzantine, 13th Century, British Museum 1984,0601.1
Fresco of the Centurion at the Crucifixion, Katholikon at the monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa, Kastoria, Greece, c.1260AD
The Betrayal, Panaghia Chrysafitissa, Laconia, Greece, Byzantine, 1289AD
Other 13th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers
Byzantine Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers