Spolia usage in anatolian rulers: A comparison of ideas for byzantines, anatolian seljuqs and ottomans

Bilge Ar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The re-evaluation and re use of antique construction material as spolia may have much deeper meanings than sole economic purposes. It may be because of aesthetic taste or the wish to give a political or religious message. The origins and choice of spolia, the motives for the use of it, possible political, ideological, liturgical and perhaps legal reasons behind it must all be evaluated. Spolia materials are subject to many different fields by nature of their given and original lives. This work covers some ideas between approaches to spolia material and meanings attibuted to them in mainly monumental buildings of Byzantine Empire, Anatolian Seljuq Sultanate and Ottoman Empire. The evaluation starts with the reign of Constantine, on vast lands covering the East and the West, Rome and Constantinople where extensive use of spolia was deliberately applied. Through Middle Ages different approaches were encountered in Europe, Byzantine territories and in the lands dominated by Anatolian Seljuqs. Later on while Early Ottoman era applications get integrated to the applications of the Byzantine era, a completely different attitude and usage is developed during Classical Ottoman era. This work tries to give an overview of these usages and the ideas behind them through some comparative ideas.

Translated title of the contributionAnadolu’nun hükümdarlarında devşirme malzeme kullanımı: Bizanslılar, anadolu selçuklular ve osmanlılar üzerine karşılaştırmalı fikirler
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalA|Z ITU Journal of Faculty of Architecture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Istanbul Teknik Universitesi, Faculty of Architecture. All rights reserved.


  • Anatolian seljuq architecture
  • Ottoman architecture
  • Reuse
  • Roman-Byzantine architecture
  • Spolia material


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