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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume IV: The art and architecture of the Crusader states

V: The arts in Cyprus,   pp. 165-207 PDF (8.9 MB)

Page 178

brothers Lachas, the wealthiest merchants of Famagusta, of whose prodigality
and ostentation Machaeras tells many anecdotes. 11 Whatever its origin, it
is still mainly standing, composed of a nave and two aisles, ending in a
triple apse of three semicircles set in a square base. As in the cathedral,
which has clearly influenced the whole design, the vaulting of the nave is
carried on round pillars with plain capitals. Originally neither façade
nor side walls had any buttresses, a custom probably borrowed from the churches
of Acre, but the vault of the nave is supported by flying buttresses above
the flat terraces of the aisles as in the cathedrals of St. Nicholas and
Hagia Sophia. Such a structure depends on sound building and considerable
thickness of wall. The church has both, but they have not saved it from danger,
and some time before the Turkish conquest, probably after the earthquake
of 1 546 or that of 1 568, the south aisle wall had to be supported by a
row of five flying buttresses, which somewhat distort the present appearance
of the building. The whole effect is severe; it lacks good sculpture and
must have depended much on the richness of its interior decoration; only
on the main north door, similar in type to that of St. George of the Latins,
is there work of good quality. Carved in inset white marble, the capitals
of the two door columns on either side have foliage with crotchets of a twelfth-century
design; the marble jambs have a frieze of oak and vine leaves with one large
palm front and as inner consoles two angels, one censing, the other holding
the sacred vessels under a veil; it is expert decorative work in the best
French manner of a style earlier than the church. Marble carving was not
a native craft, and this must surely be some reused material, possibly from
some unfinished undertaking at the time of Louis TX's passage (pl. LVIb).
 The plan of St. Peter and St. Paul, itself probably taken from that of St.
Andrew at Acre, was used almost contemporaneously in the Greek Orthodox cathedral
of St. George. Built beside and adjoining the small church of St. Epiphanius,
it marked a resurgence of Greek feeling and in scale is an attempt to rival
the Latin cathedral. It differed from St. Peter and St. Paul in the height
of its central apse; whereas the earlier church had a square end to the nave,
rising above the semicircular apse, in St. George the apsidal semicircle
11. See Enlart, Les Monuments des croisés dans le royaume de Jerusalem,
II, 17, note 5; 
Th. Mogabgab, "Excavations and Researches in Famagusta, 1937-1939," Report
of the 
Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, 1937-1 939 (Nicosia, 1951), p. 188; and
L. Machaeras 
("Machairas"), Recital Concerning the Sweet Land of Cyprus, Entitled ' Chronicle',
ed. and 
tr. R. M. Dawkins (2 vols., Oxford, 1932), I, 83. 

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