Visual History of the World




From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
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Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists


The Ancient World

ca. 2500 B.C. - 900 A.D.


The epics of Homer, the wars of Caesar, and temples and palaces characterize the image of classic antiquity and the cultures of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. They are the sources from which the Western world draws the foundations of its philosophy, literature, and, not least of all, its state organization. The Greek city-states, above all Athens, were the birthplace of democracy. The regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and great parts of Northwest Europe were forged together into the Roman Empire, which survived until the time of the Great Migration of Peoples. Mighty empires also existed beyond the ancient Mediterranean world, however, such as those of the Mauryas in India and the Han in China.


Alexander the Great



Armenia and Asia Minor from the
Diadochoi to the Romans

550 B.C.-CA 200 A.D.


Armenia and the kingdoms of Asia Minor were the point of intersection between the Orient and the Greco-Hellenic - and later Roman - world. Stubbornly protective of their independence, these slates were constantly under threat from the great powers, particularly Rome in the first century B.C. Under Mithradates VI, however, Pontus proved to be an opponent the Roman rulers could not easily dismiss.

Armenia and Bithynia

Armenia first gained independence from the Selcucid Empire in the second century B.C. It became the first Christian nation around 300 A.D. Bithynia maintained its independence at first, but later came under Roman control.

Armenia was heir to the ancient Kingdom of Urartu. Initially used only by the Scythians and Cimmerians as a passage to other regions, it became a province of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia about 550 B.C. After the conquest by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C., it was awarded to the Seleucids but then occupied by the Parthians. The defeat of Antiochus III of Syria led to a division of the country in 189 B.C.

King Titranes I was able to unite the region ayain about 90 B.C. In addition, he enlarged the kingdom in the west, conquering Cappadocia and the remains of the Seleucid kingdom with Phoenicia and Cilicia. In 69 B.C., however, he was defeated by the Romans and lost the conquered territories. Armenia became a contested buffer state between the Romans and Parthians, and later the Sassanids.

Around 300 A.D., Bishop 3 Gregory the illuminator converted Armenia to Christianity, creating the first Christian state even before the conversion of Rome.

3 The baptism of King Tiridates III.

The head of the 1, 2 Armenian Church - also known as the Armenian Apostolic or Gregorian Church - is the supreme catholicos.

The Armenian Church adheres to Monophysitic doctrine and has, up to the present day, maintained its independence from other Christian churches.
The Kingdom of Bithynia in the north-west of Asia Minor was ruled since the end of the fourth century B.C. by a local dynasty able to repel even Alexander the Great and the Diadochoi. In 264 B.C. its most significant ruler, Nicomedes I, founded the capital of Nicomedia, becoming a center of Hellenistic culture. The last Bithynian king, Nicomedes IV (95—75 B.C.), was expelled by Mithradates of Pontus, but returned to the throne in 84 with the help of Sulla. In return, he bequeathed his kingdom to Rome, who took possession in 74 B.C.

2 The Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the island Ahtamar


1 Relief on the Armenian Church of
the Holy Cross on the island Ahtamar,
with a depiction of Goorgo the Dragonslayer

A detail of David and Goliath from the cathedral



Cyril of Alexandria, icon painting


Monophysitism, a religious doctrine founded by Alexandrian theology, states that Jesus Christ, as the son of God, had only one nature (mono physis), the divine.

He is seen as the incarnate word of God. In contrast, Catholicism and Orthodoxy teach that Jesus has two natures—divine and human.

That "Christ is truly God and truly human" was confirmed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, whereupon the Monophysite churches—those in Egypt (Coptic), Armenia, and Ethiopia— split away from the Catholic and Orthodox churches.




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monophysitism (from the Greek monos meaning 'one, alone' and physis meaning 'nature'), or Monophysiticism, is the Christological position that Christ has only one nature (divine), as opposed to the Chalcedonian position which holds that Christ has two natures, one divine and one human. Monophysitism and its antithesis, Nestorianism, were both hotly disputed and divisive competing tenets in the maturing Christian traditions during the first half of the fifth century; a tumultuous period being the last decades of the Western Empire, and marked by the political shift in all things to a center of gravity then located in the Eastern Roman empire, and particularly in Syria, the Levant, and Anatolia, where Monophysitism was popular among the people.

There are two major doctrines that can indisputably be called Monophysite (IPA: /məˈnɒfəsɪt/):

Eutychianism holds that the human and divine natures of Christ were fused into one new single (mono) nature: his human nature was "dissolved like a drop of honey in the sea".
Apollinarism or Apollinarianism holds that Christ had a human body and human "living principle" but that the Divine Logos had taken the place of the nous, or "thinking principle", analogous but not identical to what might be called a mind in the present day.
After Nestorianism, taught by Nestorius, Archbishop of Constantinople, was rejected at the First Council of Ephesus, Eutyches, an archimandrite at Constantinople, emerged with diametrically opposite views. Eutyches' energy and imprudence with which he asserted his opinions brought him the accusation of heresy in 448, leading to his excommunication. In 449, at the controversial Second Council of Ephesus Eutyches was reinstated and his chief opponents Eusebius, Domnus and Flavian, deposed. Monophysitism and Eutyches were again rejected at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Monophysitism is also rejected by the Oriental Orthodox Churches, but was widely accepted in Syria and the Levant leading to many tensions in the early days of the Byzantine Empire.

Later, Monothelitism was developed as an attempt to bridge the gap between the Monophysite and the Chalcedonian position, but it too was rejected by the members of the Chalcedonian synod, despite at times having the support of the Byzantine emperors and one of the Popes of Rome, Honorius I. Some are of the opinion that Monothelitism was at one time held by the Maronites, but the Maronite community, for the most part, dispute this, stating that they have never been out of communion with the Catholic Church.

Miaphysitism, the christology of the Oriental Orthodox churches, is sometimes erroneously considered as a variant of Monophysitism, but these churches view their theology as distinct from Monophysitism and anathematize Eutyches.



Cappadocia and Pontus

Cappadocia allied itself with Rome, as did early Pontus. However, under Mithradates VI, Pontus became a dangerous enemy of the Roman Empire. After Mithradates was defeated, Rome controlled all of Asia Minor.

Cappadocia, in the east of Asia Minor, was originally a Persian province, but gained independence after the death of Alexander the Great. It managed to assert itself against the Diadochoi but eagerly assimilated Hellenistic culture. After 190-189 B.C. Cappadocia was allied with Rome. From 114-113 B.C. it was threatened by Mithradates of Pontus, who styled himself the defender of the kings. About 100 B.C.

Mithradates murdered King Ariarathes VII and installed his own son as Ariarathes IX.

8 Mithadates of Pontus stables his son Ariarathes

After Rome's victory over Mithradates, Cappadocia came under direct Roman control. In 36 B.C., Mark Antony appointed the loyal Archelaus as king, and after Archelaus' death, Tiberius made Cappadocia a Roman province.

The Kingdom of Pontus on the north coast of Asia Minor was the last significant opponent of Rome. With its capital at Amaseia, the kingdom was politically separated into eparchies, each of which had its own administrative center. Starting in the third century B.C., Pontus brought the Greek cities of Asia Minor under its control.

While Pontus had earlier been an ally of Rome, conflict between the two developed under Pontus's son 7 Mithradates VI Eupator.

7 Mithradates VI Eupator

In 112 B.C., when the Greek cities called for aid against Rome, Mithradates used it as an opportunity to occupy the Bosporus and the Chersonese, as well as to subjugate the Crimea and southern Russia up to Armenia Minor. Attempts to incorporate these territories into his kingdom ultimately led to war with Rome.

In the First Mithradatic War (89-84 B.C.), Pontus occupied all of Asia Minor and Greece, but was forced to a settlement after its defeat by Sulla in 84. In 74-73 B.C. Mithradates occupied Bithynia and thereby ignited the Second Mithradatic War. After initial successes, the "Hellenized barbarian" was defeated by Pompey in 63. His successor allied with Rome, which now controlled the whole region of Asia Minor. In 40 B.C., Rome appointed Darius, Mithradates' grandson, king. The kingdom was then dissolved in 64 a.d. and integrated into the Roman Empire as administrative provinces.

It was probably during wars with Mithradates that the ancient Indo-Iranian 4, 5, 6, 9 cult of Mithras spread through the Roman army.

Mithras worship was prominent even in Rome, primarily through its mixing with the state cult Sol Invictus. Numerous Mithras shrines were built. Only with the expansion of Christianity did its influence fade.

4 Mithras shrine in the minor church of San Clemente in Rome


6 Mosaic depicting the seven grades
of consecration, Ostia Antica,
second half of third century a.d.

9 Ritual meal in a Mithras shrine


5 Mithras kills the bull, marble sculpture, second ń


Double-faced Mithraic relief. Rome, second to third century CE. Louvre Museum.
Top: Mithras killing the bull, being looked over by the Sun god and the Moon goddess.
Bottom: Mithras banqueting with the Sun god.


Tauroctony of Mithras at the Brukenthal National Museum


A mithraeum found in the ruins of Ostia Antica, Italy.


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