This research aims primarily at interpreting the processes and the many elements which have contributed, throughout a long series of centuries, to shape the imagery employed to represents Byzantine imperial power. This imagery, always endowed with religious, mystic and sacral undertones, consists of symbolic and ideological issues which, though basically organic, assumed new and peculiar aspects through the different stages of their development; therefore the iconographic and the iconological analysis allows to identify a complex historical stratification. The work consists of two parts: the first has been inspired by a sculpture set in a small square in Venice (Campiello Angaran) representing a standing Byzantine emperor; the insignia he wears, considered in their origin and successive historical development, give access to the analysis of the symbolic substratum of sacred kingship focusing on the iconological projection of the ideology of power and taking up the still topical trend of research of German historians in the entre-deux-guerre period. The second part is concerned with an iconographic pattern which was to be termed later “etimasia” and was recurrent in Paleochristian, Western Christian and Byzantine art from the V up to the XVI century at least. The pattern presents a richly adorned throne occupied by symbols which substitute the Christ and regal insignia pertaining to the symbolic imperial imagery putting the stress on the emperor’s divine aspects. The two parts are unified by the convergence of the symbolic structures employed to give prominence to the ideology of imperial power not only in the wider anthropologic context of the studies on sacred kingship but also on the more peculiar level of comparison between representation of the Christ and the emperor, traced back to its literary and figurative sources, without forgetting the comparison between court ritual, ceremonial and liturgy.
CONTENTS: INTRODUZIONE - PARTE PRIMA - IL TONDO MARMOREO DI CAMPIELLO ANGARAN: ICONOGRAFIA E ICONOLOGIA - Introduzione - Descrizione - Produzione scultorea tra X e XIII secolo - Analisi iconografica: le insegne - La croce - Analisi iconologica e stilistica - Problemi critici - Confronto con il tondo Dumbarton Oaks e interpretazioni critiche - Conclusioni - PARTE SECONDA - L’ETIMASIA: INTERPRETAZIONE E ANTEFATTI CULTURALI - Introduzione - Etimasia - Appendici - Il trono nella cultura ebraica - Il culto del trono vuoto in Grecia - L’immagine e il culto del trono vuoto nella cultura ellenistica e a Roma – TAVOLE - BIBLIOGRAFIA – INDICI - Indice dei nomi di persona - Indice dei luoghi e dei monumenti - Indice delle fonti letterarie e dei luoghi citati - Indice dei termini tecnici - Indice degli autori moderni