Neither Byzantine nor Serbian: Byzantine Architecture in Serbian Historiography of the Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century
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Since the birth of modern Serbian national historiography, the encounters and relationships between medieval Serbia and Byzantine culture, art and architecture have preoccupied historians, who devised a thesis about peculiarly "national" variants of Byzantine style. However, the historiographical accounts on Serbo-Byzantine architectural relationships dealt more with issues of Byzantium as a value-loaded construct than withhistorical realities in medieval Serbia. The historiographical construction of Byzantine architecture in Serbian historiography represented an ideological tool par excellence, because it was an integral part of the nation's historicity and modernity, political formations and frontiers. Firstly, the cultural construct of Byzantium was highly instrumental in the Serbian national narrative, torn between a need for cultural authenticity and an imperial mission. Secondly, the relationships between Serbian and Byzantine culture, as seen by art and architectural historians ...of the late XIX and early XX century, corresponded to a recognizable ideological agenda inextricably linked with the idea of the restoration of medieval "empire". It was this complex image of Byzantium and Byzantine architecture that became useful for crafting an idea of medieval Serbia which would, and should, represent a predecessor of a modern on the cusp of its political and territorial expansion.
Keywords:Byzantine architecture / Medieval Serbia / nationalism / Imperialism / National Identity / Modern Architecture
Source:The 12th Congress of South-East European Studies. Political, Social and Religious Dynamics in South-Eastern Europe /Dynamiques politiques, sociales et religieuses dans le Sud-Est européen, 2019, 127-128
- Bucharest: The Romanian National Committee of South-East European Studies ‒ Romanian Academy Association Internationale d’Études du Sud-Est européen