1st Edition

Art, Power, and Patronage in the Principality of Epirus, 1204–1318

By Leonela Fundić Copyright 2022
    284 Pages 110 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 110 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Principality of Epirus was a medieval Greek state established in the western part of the Balkans after the fall of Constantinople to the forces of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The Epirote rulers from the Komnenos Doukas family claimed to be legitimate successors to the Byzantine imperial throne and, with the support of the high clergy and the aristocracy within their domain, carefully maintained their Byzantine identity under the conditions of exile. This book explores a corpus of Epirote architecture, frescoes, sculpture, and inscriptions from the early thirteenth to the early fourteenth century within a comparative and interdisciplinary framework, focusing on the nexus of art, patronage, and political ideology. Through an examination of a vast array of visual and textual sources, many of them understudied or hitherto unpublished, the book uncovers how the Epirote elite mobilised art and material culture to address the issues of succession and legitimacy, construct memory, reclaim Constantinople, and mediate encounters and exchanges with the Latin West. In doing so, this study offers a new perspective on Byzantine political and cultural history in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade.


    Chapter 1. Artistic Production and Patronage in Epirus during the Thirteenth and the Beginning of the Fourteenth Centuries

    1.1. Artistic Production in Epirus at the Beginning of the Thirteenth Century

    1.2. Artistic Patronage in Epirus

    1.3. Artistic Patronage of the Epirote Ruling Komnenos Doukas Family

    1.4. Ecclesiastical Patronage

    1.5. Aristocratic Patronage

    Chapter 2. Art, the Memory of Constantinople, and the Formation of the Epirote Political Identity After 1204

    2.1. Epirote Art and the Construction of Byzantine Identity

    2.2. Theodore Komnenos Doukas: Rebuilding Byzantium

    Chapter 3. Catastrophe and the Revival of Epirus: Art and Political Ideology after the Battle at Klokotnitsa in 1230

    3.1. Survival and Demise of the Empire of Thessaloniki

    3.2. Artistic Patronage during the Reign of Michael II Komnenos Doukas (1230–1266/68) and His Wife Theodora

    3. 3. The Church of Hagios Nikolaos tis Rodias and Its Context

    3. 4. Art in Aitoloacarnania

    Chapter 4. Epirus between the Palaiologoi and the Angevins during the Reign of Nikephoros Komnenos Doukas (1267/8–1297).

    4.1. Artistic Patronage of Nikephoros Komnenos Doukas and His Wife Anna

    4.2. Artistic Promotion of Nikephoros’ Alliances

    4.3. Aristocratic Patronage at the End of the Thirteenth Century

    Chapter 5. Art and Patronage in the Principality of Epirus after 1296

    5.1. The Narthex of the Church of Hagia Theodora in Arta

    5.2. The Marble Sarcophagus in the Church of Hagia Theodora

    5.3. Thomas I Komnenos Doukas’ Independent Rule, 1303–1318


    Catalogue of Iconographic Programmes in Epirote Churches



    Leonela Fundić’s research focuses on Late Antique and Byzantine archaeology, art, history, and theology. She holds a doctorate in Byzantine art and history from the University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Since 2013, she has been working as a researcher and lecturer at the School of Theology and Philosophy of the Australian Catholic University. During the academic year 2017–2018, Fundić was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Ancient History of Macquarie University, working on the Australian Research Council Discovery Project Memories of Utopia: Destroying the Past to Create the Future.