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Two: Franks, Turks, Pirates, and Grand Tourists

For the purposes of this book, however, the most engaging aspect of the interrelationship between the Duchy of the Archipelago and the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes appears in the intimate, mutually informing, and supportive relationship of the vernacular and formal architecture forms created by each within the larger family of the Aegean island towns.

Dependent on limited local means and resources and addressing issues at the local scale, the architecture of the Duchy of the Archipelago is represented by the vernacular, collective fortification forms that were integrated into the fabric of the towns of Antiparos, Sifnos, Astypalaia, and others. The duchy?s collective fortifications thus provide the key to understanding the vernacular architecture of the Aegean island towns and will be discussed in detail in chapter four. By contrast, the Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes drew their inspiration and strength from power and wealth originating outside the Aegean region. Their presence is recorded in the formal architecture of the fortifications of the city of Rhodes. Detached from the fabric of the city, massive, extensive, and built to the designs of architects and engineers well versed in the art of fortification as practiced in Latin Europe, the walls of Rhodes addressed the issues of warfare and commerce at the scale of the great Western European powers of the day.

But both forms of fortification meaningfully express the harsh and unrelenting conditions of life that prevailed in the post-Byzantine archipelago. (Page 42)

In their rediscovery of antiquity, the humanists of the Renaissance had relied upon texts by ancient Greek authors. Greece itself, its physical world and its historical sites, was inaccessible to the artists and architects of the period, whose work necessarily developed in the absence of direct visual experience of the architectural prototypes of antiquity: none of the northern Italian Renaissance architects, for example, had seen the Parthenon. (Page 56)

Thomas Hope can also be described as the earliest observer, if not the discoverer, of the vernacular architecture of the Aegean island towns. In Hope?s work and his personal, historical, and political circumstances, we see the two architectural themes -- the formal and the vernacular -- merge in the thought and work of a single individual. (Page 74)

Table of Contents from The Aegean Crucible

The Aegean Crucible
The Aegean Crucible
Tracing Vernacular Architecture in
Post-Byzantine Centuries
Constantine E. Michaelides, FAIA
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