Dobbedreef 25, NL- 2331 SW Leiden, The Netherlands

Tel. +31 71 576 11 18 Fax: +31 71 572 75 17




VAT number NL209186367B02
Dutch Chamber of Commerce registration number 28088681
Postbank, Amsterdam, BIC or Swift code: PSTBNL21 Acc. no. 5219443
IBAN: NL41PSTB0005219443













Constantine the Great has been assiduously studied by several scholars, but they have only sporadically shown interest in his iconography. The present study attempts to repair this omission. It sets out to provide a global study of his iconography from its beginnings in Antiquity, through the Byzantine and on into the post-Byzantine epoch, with particular reference to its significance as an expression of his cult. The author, a specialist in iconography with numerous publications on various subjects, is aware that a satisfactory consideration of iconographical signs must take into account the fact that they may be polysemic or have several connotations. In order to explain each aspect of them, he found necessary to have recourse to the results of research by previous studies on Constantine, e.g. theological, historical and sociological ones.
The contemporary art and portraits of Constantine and his family are first examined from coinage, sculpture – especially the Arch of Constantine in Rome – paintings, mosaics, sumptuary and minor objects. Attention has then been paid to the growth of devotion to Constantine as a saint, particularly after the Triumph of Orthodoxy, another aspect of Constantine that has received less attention. The Invention of the Cross played an important role in the iconography of Constantine and Helena, as the study of their portraits in church decoration and sumptuary objects proves. The biographical cycles of Constantine and Helena have also received an adequate attention in this publication, to which a few practically unknown cycles from Crete have been added.

The second part of this book, the collected articles, is devoted mainly to a more detailed and accurate study of themes which had previously received cursory treatment; they are besides enriched with more illustrations than the original articles, many of which are in colour. The maniakion or torc, known principally as an attribute of Saint Sergius and Saint Bacchus, had, in fact, a far wider importance, as shown in the first article. A second article deals with acronyms, particularly those associated with the Cross. A third is the straightforward exegesis of a “message” constructed from acronyms, rudimentary sketches of saints and cryptograms.
The three concluding articles are concerned with the so called kephalophoros saints. They are grouped under the general title of Severed Heads and Heads as Trophies. The introduction, a developed version of a hitherto unpublished lecture given at the British School of Archaeology in Athens over a decade ago, presents summarily the place of the severed head in Antique and Western Medieval art. Three warrior saints who were represented kephalophoros are then treated. Saint George comes first. The distinguishing mark of a kephalophoros saint is the fact that he normally has two heads, one on his shoulders and the other held in his hands which is offered as a sign of triumph to Christ. Here all the examples known to the author of Saint George kephalophoros are presented. Saint Zosimos, who follows, is only known in one example. Finally Saint Vladimir, for various reasons, is a special case. In the post-Byzantine period, this Medieval ruler of Diocleia received cult, thanks to Greeks who had emigrated there from Cyprus. His iconography, cult and influence have particularities which are expounded here.

CONTENTS: Preface. The Iconography of Constantine the Great, Emperor and Saint. Introduction. The Life of Constantine. The Art of Constantine’s Reign. Constantine’s Iconography from 337 to 843 (The Legend of Constantine, Helena and the Cross. The Portrayal of Constantine and Helena after their Death. The Significance of the Cross in Constantine’s Iconography). Constantine and Basil I (Constantine’s Biographical Cycles. Appendix 1. A Saint appears in Constantine’s Dream. Appendix 2. Constantine a warrior on horseback). Constantine, Helena and the True Cross on Luxury Objects (1. Reliquaries. 2. Other Minor Objects on which Constantine and Helena are portrayed). The first Council of Nicaea and the Emperor Constantine I. New Constantines. Constantine and Helena in Crete. Associated Studies. Introduction. The Maniakion or Torc in Byzantine Tradition. IC XC NI KA: The Apotropaic Function of the Victorious Cross. An Apotropaic Sequence at Kardzali. Severed Heads and Heads as Trophies (Severed Heads in Antiquity. Severed Heads in Biblical and Early Medieval Tradition. Saint George “Kephalophoros.” An Icon of Saint Zosimos of Sozopol. Saint John Vladimir “Kephalophoros”). General Index. Bibliography. List of Illustrations. Illustrations 1-332.

Soulignons pour finir la qualité de l’édition et la richesse de l’illustration, avec ses nombreuses images en couleur dont les éditions Alexandros Press se sont fait une spécialité et dont on ne dira jamais assez l’importance pour les historiens d’art.” Catherine Jolivet-Lévy, in Revue des Etudes Byzantines, 66 (2008), 304-307.

Bound, 24x17 cm., 416 pp. (256 pp. text plus 154 illustrations in full colour and 178 in black and white)

2006                                                      ISBN 9789080647664


Constantine and Helena from an Ivory Triptych with the Crucifixion,Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

Medallion with Constantine and Sol invictus. Ticinum (Pavia), 313 A.D. Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

Colossal head of Constantine. Marble. Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome.