Architecture of the Islamic frontier : architectural sources and urbanism in the Aydinid principality (1304-1390)
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The conquest of western Anatolia by the Turcoman peoples in the early fourteenth century engendered the largest building program in the region since late antiquity. Involved in this program were not only forms of religious architecture like mosques, madrasas and mausoleums but also bathhouses, markets and other structures. This thesis primarily examines architectural patronage and concomitant urban re-structuring in Ayasoluk (Gr. Hagios Theologos), near ancient Ephesus, under the Aydinid principality (1304-90). It seeks to frame the formation of a new urban space and architectural idiom on this frontier zone, interpreting the buildings of royal patronage as visual articulations of self-representation and dynastic image. The thesis argues that Aydinid building patrons, Mehmed Beg (d. 1334) and İsa Beg (r. 1360-90), reckoned with the pre-Islamic heritage of their lands by incorporating spolia materials from Roman and Byzantine buildings and expressed an integrated architectural idiom with the past. On a supra-local level, İsa Beg conspicuously drew upon ancient Islamic history by emulating Islam’s one of the most venerable buildings, and by borrowing architectural forms and techniques from medieval Syria and translating them on marble he sought to link his realm with greater Islamic dynasties in an attempt to compete with other Turco-Islamic rulers. Under İsa Beg, the Aydinids in an effort to legitimize their rule, appropriated and re-interpreted the visual culture of Islam’s one of the ancient dynasties, conspicuous elements from architectural trends in medieval Syria as well as the palatial architecture of the Rum Seljuks, thereby they ultimately formulated a cosmopolitan visual language.