Nicholas were stolen by Italian sailors during the 11th century and taken to the crypt of the Basilica di San Nicola on the southeast coast of Italy. When the crypt was repaired in the s, the saint's skull and bones were documented with x-ray photos and thousands of detailed measurements. For theories on other possible resting places of St.
Caroline Wilkinson, a facial anthropologist at the University of Manchester England , used these data and modern software simulations to create a modern reconstruction of the long-dead man. Wilkinson put a human face on Santa's original namesake—one with a badly broken nose, possibly suffered during the persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
Many believe that it houses the mortal remains and holy relics of St. Much of her work is necessarily subject to interpretation. The size and shape of the facial muscles that once covered Nicholas's skull had to be inferred, and the shape of that skull itself was recreated from two-dimensional data. Digital artists added details that were based on best guesses, including the olive-toned skin most common among Greek Mediterraneans like Nicholas, brown eyes, and the gray hair of a year-old man.
How did this St. Nicholas turn into the North Pole-dwelling bringer of Christmas gifts? The original saint was a Greek born in the late third century, around A. He became bishop of Myra, a small Roman town in modern Turkey. Nicholas was neither fat nor jolly but developed a reputation as a fiery, wiry, and defiant defender of church doctrine during the Great Persecution in , when Bibles were burned and priests made to renounce Christianity or face execution. Nicholas defied these edicts and spent years in prison before the Roman emperor Constantine ended Christian persecution in with the Edict of Milan.
Nicholas's fame lived long after his death on December 6 in the mid-fourth century, around because he was associated with many miracles, and reverence for him continues to this day independent of his Christmas connection.
Beowulf – Epic Poem Summary & Analysis – Other Ancient Civilizations – Classical Literature
He is the protector of many types of people, from orphans to sailors to prisoners. Nicholas rose to prominence among the saints because he was the patron of so many groups. By about , explained University of Manitoba historian Gerry Bowler , author of Santa Claus: A Biography , he became known as a patron of children and magical gift bringer because of two great stories from his life.
In the better-known tale, three young girls are saved from a life of prostitution when young Bishop Nicholas secretly delivers three bags of gold to their indebted father, which can be used for their dowries. Nicholas entered an inn whose keeper had just murdered three boys and pickled their dismembered bodies in basement barrels.
- Loeb Classical Library | Harvard University Press.
- Unleashing Microsoft Windows Vista Media Center.
- The historical context.
The bishop not only sensed the crime, but resurrected the victims as well. For several hundred years, circa to , St. Nicholas was the unchallenged bringer of gifts and the toast of celebrations centered around his feast day, December 6. The strict saint took on some aspects of earlier European deities, like the Roman Saturn or the Norse Odin, who appeared as white-bearded men and had magical powers like flight. He also ensured that kids toed the line by saying their prayers and practicing good behavior.
Related: "Who Is Krampus? Explaining the Horrific Christmas Devil. In the Netherlands, kids and families simply refused to give up St. Nicholas as a gift bringer. They brought Sinterklaas with them to New World colonies, where the legends of the shaggy and scary Germanic gift bringers also endured. But in early America Christmas wasn't much like the modern holiday. The holiday was shunned in New England, and elsewhere it had become a bit like the pagan Saturnalia that once occupied its place on the calendar. And there was no particular, magical gift bringer.
Then, during the early decades of the 19th century, all that changed thanks to a series of poets and writers who strove to make Christmas a family celebration—by reviving and remaking St.
Find out how Old Saint Nick became a beloved figure all over the world, and how his image has changed over the years. Washington Irving's book Knickerbocker's History of New York first portrayed a pipe-smoking Nicholas soaring over the rooftops in a flying wagon, delivering presents to good girls and boys and switches to bad ones.
In an anonymous illustrated poem entitled "The Children's Friend" went much further in shaping the modern Santa and associating him with Christmas. Nicholas, stripped him of any religious characteristics, and dressed this Santa in the furs of those shaggy Germanic gift bringers. That figure brought gifts to good girls and boys, but he also sported a birch rod, the poem noted, that "directs a Parent's hand to use when virtue's path his sons refuse.
Nicholas ," better known today as "The Night Before Christmas," for his six children, with no intention of adding to the fledgling Santa Claus phenomenon. It was published anonymously the next year, and to this day the plump, jolly Santa described therein rides a sleigh driven by eight familiar reindeer. But familiar as the poem is, it still leaves much to the imagination, and the 19th century saw Santa appear in different-colored clothing, in sizes from miniature to massive, and in a variety of different guises.
It wasn't until the late 19th century, he added, that the image of Santa became standardized as a full-size adult, dressed in red with white fur trim, venturing out from the North Pole in a reindeer-driven sleigh and keeping an eye on children's behavior. The jolly, chubby, grandfatherly face of this Santa was largely created by Thomas Nast , the great political cartoonist in an era that featured many. Though he undoubtedly means well, Santa has certainly stirred up, and continues to create, more than his fair share of controversy.
The History of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
Attempts to displace Christmas in Russia were ultimately unsuccessful, as were Soviet attempts to spread a secular version of Grandfather Frost, complete with blue coat to avoid Santa confusion, across Europe. Santa remains a politicized figure around the world. American troops spread their version of the jolly man around the world in the years immediately following World War II, and he was generally welcomed, Bowler said, as a symbol of American generosity in rebuilding war-ravaged lands.
Nowadays, however, people in many nations have Santa on their own naughty list, either because he represents the secular side of Christmas at the expense of the religious. Sometimes Santa is rejected because he's not a local.
Yasunari Kawabata - Nobel Lecture: Japan, the Beautiful and Mysel - kapuchmapearhard.cf
Such efforts seem unlikely to stop a growing interest in Santa Claus, but their organizers may save him a few stops on his busy Christmas Eve schedule. Large-scale sculpture seems to have been less popular than in earlier antiquity, but sculpted marble sarcophagi were produced in great numbers. Finally, metalwork, especially incorporating enamel-work and cabochon semi-precious stones, was a Byzantine speciality, and artisans produced many high-quality and intricately designed plates, cups, jewellery of all kinds, book covers especially for Bibles , and reliquaries boxes for keeping holy relics.
Byzantine architects continued to employ the Classical orders in their buildings and took ideas from the Near East , amongst other places. Designs became more eclectic than in antiquity, especially given the common habit of reusing the materials from older buildings for new structures. There was, too, a definite emphasis on function over form and a greater concern with the interiors rather than exteriors of buildings. Continuing to build such quintessentially Roman structures as arched aqueducts , amphitheatres, hippodromes, baths and villas, the Byzantines would add to the repertoire with their domed churches, walled monasteries, and more sophisticated fortification walls.
Favoured building materials were large bricks with mortar and concrete for the hidden core of walls.
Ashlar stone blocks were used in more prestigious public buildings while marble, used more sparingly than in earlier Roman times, was generally reserved for columns, door and window frames, and other decorative elements. Roofs were of timber while interior walls were frequently covered in plaster, stucco, thin marble plaques, paintings, and mosaics. The largest, most important and still most famous Byzantine building is the Hagia Sophia of Constantinople, dedicated to the holy wisdom hagia sophia of God.
Built anew in CE, its basic rectangular shape measures Resting on four massive arches with four supporting pendentives, the dome was a spectacular architectural achievement for the period. The Hagia Sophia remained the biggest church in the world until the 16th century CE and was one of the most decorated with superb glittering mosaics and wall paintings. The cross-in-square plan became the most common with the dome built over four supporting arches. The square base of the building then branched into bays which might themselves have a half or full dome ceiling.
Another common feature is a central apse with two side-apses at the eastern end of the church. Over time, the central dome was raised ever higher on a polygonal drum, which in some churches is so high it has the appearance of a tower. Many churches, especially basilicas, had alongside them a baptistry usually octagonal , and sometimes a mausoleum for the founder of the church and their descendants. Such Byzantine design features would go on to influence Orthodox Christian architecture and so are still seen today in churches worldwide. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication.
The Truce of God a Tale of the Eleventh Century
Cartwright, M. Byzantine Empire. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cartwright, Mark. Last modified September 19, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 19 Sep This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. We are a non-profit organization. Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. Thank you! Remove Ads Advertisement. Bibliography Bagnall, R. The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Wiley-Blackwell, Brownworth, L. Lost to the West. Broadway Books, Gregory, T.
A History of Byzantium. Herrin, J. Princeton University Press, Mango, C. The Oxford History of Byzantium. Oxford University Press, Norwich, J. Knopf, Shepherd, J. The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire c. Cambridge University Press, About the Author Mark Cartwright.