Ireland and Syria Irish high crosses and tombs of Edessa


The author in the article refers to a broad discussion on the origin of ideas and artistic inspiration for Celtic crosses. She refers to a Hilary Richardson of the Armenian and Georgian origin of the concept of the Celtic cross, also to the results of her book The symbols of pagan Celtic crosses. Myths, symbols, images. In this book she indicates a cultural affinity of Ireland and the Syria. She points to the compositional and iconographic parallels between the Early Medieval Irish crosses and tombs mosaics of Edessa, dated to the III century. Reinforcing the thesis of H. Richardson, indicates the possibility of the existence an artistic tradition, in Late Antiquity and Early Medieval Syria, which is able to reach Ireland. She indicates the Celtic crosses, which have the most parallels with Syrian decoration (monasteries from Arboe, Monasterboice, Kells, Clones). The author concludes that they are grouped only in the Middle East of Ireland, in several counties (Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Tyron).


Edessa; Irish crosses

Brubaker L., Vision and Meaning in Ninth-century Byzantium. Image as exegesis in the Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus, Cambridge 1999
Bulas R., Bizancjum a sztuka Anglosasów (VII-XI wiek)
Bulas R., Irlandia a Bizancjum. Ikonografia „Trzech Hebrajczyków w piecu ognistym” na krzyżach celtyckich, VoxP 28 (2008) t. 52, 61-75
Bulas R., Krzyż armeński – khatchkar, VoxP 21 (2001) t. 40-41, 87-98
Bulas R., Symbole pogańskie na celtyckich krzyżach. Mity, symbole, obrazy, Lublin 2002
Devos P., Égérie à Èdesse. S. Thomas l’apôtre. Le roi Abgar, AnBol 85 (1967) 381-400
Drijvers H.J.W., East of Antioch. Studies in early Syriac Christianity, London 1984
Gołgowski T., Górna Mezopotamia w okresie późnego antyku, w: Sympozja Kazimierskie poświęcone kulturze świata późnego antyku i wczesnego chrześcijaństwa,II, red. B. Iwaszkiewicz-Wronikowska – D. Próchniak, Lublin 2001, 171-185
Harbison P., Irish high crosses with the figures explained, Drogheda 1994
Harbison P., The high crosses of Ireland, vol. I, Bonn 1992
Henry F., Irish art during the Viking Invasions (800-1020 A.D.), London 1967
Henry F., La sculpture les douze premiers siècles de l’ère chrétienne, Paris 1933
Henry F., The Book of Kells. Reproductions from the manuscript in Trinity College Dublin, London 1977
Kahane H. i R., The Krater and the Holy Grail: hermetic sources of the Perzifal, Urbana 1965
Macina R., Cassiodore et l’école de Nisibe. Contribution à l’étude de la culture chrétienne orientale à l’aube du Moyen-Âge, „Muséon” 95 (1982) 131-166
Mahé J.P., Kościół armeński w latach 611-1066, w: Historia chrześcijaństwa. Religia, kultura, polityka, red. G. Dagron – P. Riché – A. Vauchez, t. 4: Biskupi, mnisi i cesarze 610-1054, Warszawa 1999
McNamara M., Psalter Text and Psalter Study in the Early Irish Church (A.D. 600-1200), „Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy” 73C (1973) 255-276
Nordenfalk C., An illustrated Diatessaron, „The Art Bulletin” 50 (1968) 119-140
Nordenfalk C., The Diatessaron Miniatures Once More, „The Art Bulletin” 55 (1973) 532-546
Pigulewska N., Kultura syryjska we wczesnym średniowieczu, tłum. Cz. Mazur, Warszawa 1989
Plummer C., Irish litanies, London 1925
Porter A.K., An Egyptian legend in Ireland, „Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft” 5 (1929) 25-38
Porter A.K., The crosses and culture of Ireland, New Haven 1931
Ramsay R.L., Theodor of Mopsuestia in England and Ireland, „Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie” 8 (1912) 452-497
Rice D.S., A Muslim Shrine at Harrān, “Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies” 17 (1955) 436-448
Rice D.S., Medieval Harrān: Studies on its topography and monuments, „Anatolian Studies” 2 (1952) 36-84
Richardson H., Observations on Christian art in Early Ireland, Georgia and Armenia, w: Ireland and Insular art, A.D. 500-1200, ed. W. Ryan, Dublin 1987, 129-137
Richardson H., The Concept of the High Cross, w: Irland und Europa: die Kirche im Frühmittelalter / Ireland and Europe. The Early Church, ed. P. Ni Chathain – M. Richter, Stuttgart 1984, 127-134
Richardson H., The Jewelled Cross and its canopy, w: From the Isles of the North. Early medieval art in Ireland and Britain, ed. C. Bourke, Belfast 1995, 177-186
Richardson H. – Scarry J., An Introduction to Irish high crosses, Dublin 1990
Riché P., Edukacja i kultura w Europie zachodniej (V-VIII w.), tłum. M. Radożycka-Paoletti, Warszawa 1995, 174-180
Richter A.R., Egyptians in Ireland, „Rice University Studies” 62 (1976) 65-87
Roe H.M., The high crosses of Kells, Dublin 1988
Romilly Allen J., Early Christian symbolism in Great Britain and Ireland. The high crosses of Ireland, London 1887
Scholz P.O., Christlicher Orient und Irland, w: Nubia et Oriens Christianus. Festschrift für C. Detlef G. Müller zum 60. Geburstag, hrsg. P.O. Scholz – R. Stempel, Köln 1987, 387-443
Segal J.B., New Syriac Inscriptions from Edessa Author, “Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies” 22 (1959) 23-40
Segal J.B., Pagan Syriac Monuments in the Vilayet of Urfa, „Anatolian Studies” 3 (1953) 97-119
Segal J.B., Some Syriac Inscriptions of the 2nd-3rd Century, „Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies”, 16 (1954) 13-36
Segal J.B., The Sabian mysteries. The planet cult of ancient Harran, w: Vanished civilizations. Forgotten peoples of the ancient world, ed. E. Bacon, London 1963
Segal J.B., Two Syriac Inscriptions from Harran, “Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies” 20 (1957) 513-522
The Legend of Mary of Egypt in Medieval Insular Hagiography, ed. E. Poppe – B. Ross, Dublin 1996
Weitzmann K., Various aspects of Byzantine influence on the Latin countries from the sixth to the twelfth century, DOP 20 (1966)
Werner M., The Madonna and Child Miniature in the Book of Kells, part I-II, „The Art Bulletin” 54 (1972)

Published : 2010-07-15

Bulas, R. (2010). Ireland and Syria Irish high crosses and tombs of Edessa. Vox Patrum, 55, 111-119.

Ryszarda M. Bulas 
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II  Poland

Most read articles by the same author(s)