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Original scientific paper

On a Pre-Romanesque Fragment with an Animal Figure from Biskupija near Knin A Tribute to the Possible Infl uence of Insular Art

Željko Tomičić orcid id

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page 107-125

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The author presents his personal understanding and a possible interpretation of a specific example of Pre-Romanesque stone sculpture discovered in 1891, at the break of dawn of Croatian early mediaeval archaeology, on the site of the church of St. Mary in Biskupij a near Knin. The paper intends to off er comparison with partially similar fi nds discovered in a wider European area, particularly in the Alpine region. Based on such comparison, and respecting both the stylistic features and the similarities, the author has recognised possible indications of symbolics, which he intends to associate with the Tassilo Chalice style. Thereby, as well as by the analysis of the ornaments, i.e. the three-strand pattern combined with the mythical dragon figure, the author gives a hint to a presentation of the permanent battle between good and evil. The author further holds that this unique fi nd should be dated to the late 8th or the early 9th century at the latest, and associated with the influence of the insular artistic province located in the Alpine region with Mediterranean influences – Aquileia in particular – from which evangelisation penetrated into the area of the Eastern Adriatic hinterland.


church of St. Mary in Biskupija; Early Middle Ages; stone sculpture; Tassilo Chalice style; Aquileia; battle between good and evil; Frankish missionary activity; rule of Charles the Great; Paulin II

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