Islamic Architecture
Martyrion Architecture
I have a forthcoming book: Stones & Stories: an introduction to archaeology & the Bible. My editor and I are disagreeing on the definition of the architectural term: martyrion.


A martyrion is a style of architecture -- an eight sided building which marks a site significant in the life of teacher like Jesus or Muhammad. For example there is a martyrion on the Mount of Beatitudes marking the site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:1--7:29). The Dome of the Rock on the Haram esh Sharif is also a martyrion marking the site where Muhammad ascended from earth into heaven.

Benjamin�s editor

A martyrion is a shrine, usually octagonal, erected to contain the remains of a martyr, someone who �gives witness.� The octagonal architectural style was used for other sacred sites as well: for example, the Dome of the Rock on the Haram esh Sharif (�Noble Sanctuary�) in Jerusalem was erected to mark the site where Muhammad ascended from earth into heaven. It was intentionally built to rival Christian sites in Jerusalem like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Any help would be appreciated, especially if you can document your definition.
Don C Benjamin
Martyrion Architecture
My reply probably comes too late - best wishes on your book. From an etymological standpoint "martyrion" is simply a building that houses the remains of one considered a martyr. "Martyrion" is most often translated as "testimony", and the -on ending is neuter and often denotes a building, which I am sure already know. Although both your and your editor's definitions make sense, the technical derivative from the ancient greek lends itself to your editor's definition. Best wishes on your book.
Rosina (Catalan) Khan


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