might have justified concerns of the church hierarchy about the proliferation of private chapels, which fell outside the bounds of church order.
Important, too, in considering the physical accommodation of sacred rite and prayer in terms of lay piety, were the numerous chapels that were embedded in fortifications or associated with other elements of the empire's infrastructure. For example, at Gynaikokastro, a fortified settlement built in the early fourteenth century some 40 miles from Thessalonike, excavations at the tower that crowned the settlement have revealed the existence on its upper floor of a chapel, which was once decorated with frescos.7 Other towers were built by monasteries to protect their estates and, by extension, the villagers, who lived and worked on their properties. The Athonite monastery of Docheiariou constructed a tall tower near ancient Olynthos in 1373. A chapel occupied the eastern side of the tower's upper floor. Marking the Byzantine landscape, such towers were intended to protect the Byzantine garrison as well as to place the surrounding territory under sacred protection. Images of holy figures and sacred signs such as crosses or apotropaic formulae also branded the walls of urban fortifications and were carried by armies. Byzantine lore is replete with tales of sacred figures interceding to protect cities or to guarantee victory in battle.
Objects and signs associated with Byzantine piety protected ports, bridges and roads as well as the travellers who used them. On a bridge built in Thrace in the twelfth century by Isaac Komnenos 'was set up that stone panel with the image of the Mother of God, as an object of worship for those who are passing across, and as the prayer of my wretched soul'.8 In the mid-fifteenth century, Raoul Manuel Melikes, a resident of the Morea, repaired a bridge that spanned the River Alpheios at Karytaina. He added a small chapel to the structure's second pier and an inscription, carved in marble, that bore his name and an invocation: 'Learn, O stranger, this bridge was built anew by Raoul Manuel Melikes, a pious man. He who wishes to pass across, let him pray for grace with all his soul lest he look as before into the abyss. In the year 6948 (=1440), the third indiction.'9 Like bridges, watermills were also marked by Christian signs, for example decorative brick crosses and abbreviated inscriptions, such as the letters OXOn- standing for O^I XPHTOY OAINEI nAU ('the light of Christ shines on all'). These prominent symbols of Christian faith assured
7 A. Tourta, 'Fortifications of Gynaikokastro, Greece', in Secular medieval architecture in the Balkans, 1300-15 00, and its preservation, ed. S. Curcic and E. Hadjitryphonos (Thessalonike: Aimos, Society for the Study of the Medieval Architecture in the Balkans and Its Preservation, 1997), 110-11.
8 Petit, 'Kosmosotira', 51; Thomas and Hero, 11, 828.
9 N. Moutsopoulos, 'a^ot^v Bu^aVTiv-q KapuTaiva', nsAonowqaiaKa, 16 (1985-86), 185.
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