Illustrated page of the Venice manuscript, located in the Greek Institute of Venice, depicting Alexander the Great in imperial byzantine clothing. Produced most probably in the empire of Trebizond, Alexander was the ultimate imperial prototype, especially since its rulers claimed to be the rulers of the entire East.
Empress Theophano and her husband the Emperor Leo IV the Wise from an 18th century icon.
Probably one of the most recognizable figures of the byzantine millennium. Theodora left behind a legacy which formed all her successors in the imperial throne of Constantinople.
Though from humble origins she managed to married Justinian and elevate to the highest byzantine rank for a woman of her age. The law which forbidden a patrician to get married to a common woman had to change first, and it was her courage and strength that backed Justinian during the Nika riots; when he suggested fleeing she replied : ” Purple makes a fine winding sheet.”
Although Procopius very often criticized her immoral habits of taking long baths and participating in orgies, it was her character that shaped an emperor and indeed a very important one.
Aelia Eudocia. Colored stone inlay on marble from church of Lips monastery (Fenari Isa Mosque), Fatih, Istambul. Archeological Museum.
Daughter of the pagan Philosopher Leontios she is an example of the early byzantine woman; Cristian in faith but with a deep knowledge of the Greek-Roman treasures. She must have been the archetype whose steps Anna Komnene followed many centuries later.
The Naples Dioscorides
end of the 6th or beginning of the 7th century
Made in, Italy
Ink and pigment on parchment, 172 folios
Approx. 11 11/16 x 10 1/16 in. (29.7 x 25.5 cm); exact measurements vary by folio
Biblioteca Nazionale “Vittorio Emanuele III,” Naples (Ms.Ex-Vind.Gr.1)
Drawing of Job and His Family Represented as Heraclius and His Family
Date:5th century (text), ca. 615–629 (drawing)
Geography:Made in, Egypt
Medium:Ink on parchment; 8 fols.
Dimensions:11 x 9 7/16 in. (28 x 24 cm)
Credit Line:Biblioteca Nazionale “Vittorio Emanuele III,” Naples (MS.I.B.18)
Cover of the reliquary of the tombstone of the Holy Sepulchre:An angel greets the woman at Christ’s tomb. Constantinople,11th-12th. Silver,chased and engraved,on a wooden base, 42,6 x 31 cm
A “themata” map of around the 950s. The themata was the byzantine response to the rapid islamic expansion of the previous 2 centuries. Every thema had a commander with military and civilian duties and also permanent army in order to defend the area in case of an invasion while the armies of the Capital could take weeks to arrive. No doubt, this innovation led to the Macedonian expansion of the next century.
Gold solidus of the empress Irene of Athens which breaking the taboo of her predecessors did the unthinkable! She reigned (797-802) in her own name and used the female gender for her imperial title; BASILISSH instead of the BASILEUS; this was the excuse used my the Pope who anointed and crowned Charlemagne as Emperor of the Romans on Christmas day 800, practically re creating the Western Roman Empire after 3 and half centuries.
Coin of Michael VIII Paleologus, depicting the Virgin Mary rising over the walls of Constantinople, in commemoration of the capture of the city over the Latins.
The cult of Virgin Mary was very strong during the 1000years Byzantine History and even after; after all the capital was dedicated to the Mother of God, her Icon was the City’s Palladium and the “Akathistos” Hymn was written to her honour as the most supreme and invincible general.
Dated back to Byzantium’ s Greek heritage, it is normal for a city to have a patron saint, like Athena was the defender of Athens, an idea that grew and spread across the Christian world. The similarities between the Cult of the Virgin Goddess Athena and the Virgin Mary are notable, though Theotokos’ importance grew stronger and evolved due to her place in the Christian cosmos between the Deity and the World.