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A New Evaluation of The Northern Annex of The Basilica of St. Nicholas in Demre (Myra)
Yıldız ÖTÜKEN*
Meryem ACARA***

The annex unearthed during excavations on the north side of the basilica of St. Nicholas in Demre has shed light on the history and culture of SW Anatolia. When the seals of Orphanotrophos I., dated between 1028-34, and the sources relating to his life were analyzed, problems arise over this person’s patronage. On the other hand, Constantine IX. And Zoe, whose names are mentioned in an inscription found in Demre can without doubt be considered as the patrons of this building. When the annexed buildings at Demre, dated with the scope of Byzantine architectural development to the 11th and 12th centuries, are compared with other examples, the closest ones to be found are the annexed constructions belonging to the same Emperor, namely those of the St. George Church in Mangana district in İstanbul, in addition to the exonarthex of the catholicon at Lavra Monastery in Athos and the narthex of the Niketas Monastery near Gebze. Despite the advances made in materials and the technique of the northern annex, rather archaic elements dominate its frontal decoration.

In contrast to the dropping output and the use of recruits in Byzantine art of the late period, it can be shown that production was continuing in Myra and in the Lycian region from finds of components having architectural and liturgical functions which proved important in dating the northern annex. From the viewpoint of motif, composition, and style, the finds exhibit the characteristics of the 11th-12th centuries.

Among the 11th-12th century coins that were unearthed, three samples bearing the earliest dates were in circulation during the reigns of Basileios II and Constantine VIII (976-1030/35). The coins belonging to the reign of Constantine IX and Zoe, who are mentioned as the patrons of the annex, between 1042-1050 is important evidence. Other coins belong in general to the period of Mikael VII (1071-1078), the latest coin found dates to the reign of Isaak II (1185-1195).

Vessels made for everyday use such as jugs, amphoras and cooking pots make the majority of ceramics which are dated to between 11th and early 13th centuries. The large number of glazed and unglazed articles embellished by the techniques of sgraffito inside and slip outside, indicates the existence of ceramics manufacturing in Demre. Besides these, the ceramics originating in the capital or from mainland Greece and brought into the region by visitors as gifts among the imported wares attract or attention.

*Prof. Dr. Yıldız Ötüken, Hacettepe Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Arkeoloji ve Sanat Tarihi Bölümü, Ankara.
**Dr. Sema Alpaslan, Hacettepe Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Arkeoloji ve Sanat Tarihi Bölümü, Ankara.
***Dr. Meryem Acara, Hacettepe Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi, Arkeoloji ve Sanat Tarihi Bölümü, Ankara.

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