Byzantine Sources on the Web for SCAdians
This is a list of some of the most useful WWW sites for a person in the SCA who is developing or refining a Byzantine persona. Many of the sites on the list contain links to other sites also on this list. Eventually, I hope to add a bibliography to this list.
Jewelry and Embroidery-related sites can be found under Crafts, Garb/Costuming, or Merchants as appropriate, as both are important to the development of accurate Byzantine garb, but need not all be done by one’s self to ensure reasonable authenticity.
General Byzantine sites
Persona resources (names, background)
Interesting Related Sites
** Highly recommended Sites
Byzantium: Byzantine Studies on the Internet
Now the same list as can be found under the "General" heading. Very highly recommended.
The Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies
Queens College of The City University of New York has a fully developed major or Bachelor of Arts degree in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies. Their site explains the program and lists course offerings and events, primarily lectures. They have a library of 3,500 volumes -- probably worth checking out if you’re in the area.
This site contains several pictures of Byzantine textiles, murals, diptychs and triptychs. From the Christus Rex site, you can view selections from the Vatican Collections, the Sistine Chapel, and others.
Dakota State University Art History on the Web
A small but good selection of Byzantine architecture and mosaics, including the Empress Theodora and Attendants mosaic from San Vitale.
Primarily a scholarly resource, this collection has an astounding quantity of Byzantine art, coins and textiles. They sell catalogues of their collection as well as research papers. The museum is in Washington, D.C., so if you’re going to be in the area, it’s well worth your time to look them up.
The Royal Ontario Museum - Gallery of Byzantine Art
The Royal Ontario Museum recently opened a Byzantine gallery. The pictures on the site are well worth looking at. They may make you want to visit, though...
The Treasures of Mount Athos
This site is about an exhibit of Mount Athos Treasures which are being presented, for the first time ever to the public, from June 21 until the end of the year, at Thessaloniki's Museum of Byzantine Culture. It includes: Treasures unknown even to the most specialised experts, unpublished works that date back to the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods, 600 rare and valuable objects are, for the first time ever in a history of over 1,000 years, taken out from the monastic community to be presented to all those who have not had the opportunity or are unable to visit Mount Athos.
There are several interesting and useful pictures on this site, particularly a good picture of an early or mid-period saint (judging from the shortness of the dalmatica) wearing a cloak with a tablion. The details of the patterns are clear enough to reconstruct for garb purposes.
** Bibliography on Women in Byzantium, Thalia Gouma-Peterson, Ed.
This is an extremely comprehensive list of Primary and Secondary Sources available in Translation. It is also a very good site to skim for names, as the date of the historic figure is right in most of the listings.
This site contains descriptions and instructions for playing Byzantine chess, also called round chess. This variant of chess became popular in Byzantium around the 10th century. The site also has a link to a merchant selling chess sets.
Greek Jewellery 5,000 Years of Tradition
Not a lot of pictures from the specifically Byzantine period, but those they have are stunning. Also, some of the earlier jewelry provides a good source of information on available materials and techniques. One of the highlights of the site is a section on period jewelry techniques. A dictionary may be needed if terms like repousse and granulation cause you to scratch your head.
Hard-to-Find Needlework Books
An excellent source of older and/or out-of-print books. The site has a good search engine and reasonable prices.
Phiala’s String Pages
Phiala’s Pages contain links to other SCA and related craft sites. Also, this site contains an excellent list of references which would be a good jumping-off point for serious research into textiles and weaving.
Garb/Costuming (See Merchants also)
** Black Tauna’s Byzantine World
Written and maintained by an SCA member, this site is a good starting point for a Byzantine persona. It contains basic patterns and a fairly extensive description of Byzantine clothing for men and women, which was previously published in the Compleat Anachronist. A bibliography is also given.
Greek Costume Through the Centuries
Not a lot of information, but definitely interesting. Also, this site is very slow to load, because of the quantity of images.
The History of Costume
Plates 9 & 10 contain early - mid period Byzantine costumes from this well-known book now in reprint by Dover Books.
General Byzantine sites
** Byzantine and Medieval Studies Sites
Also available without links
This site is the jumping-off point for Byzantine and related studies. There are thousands of links, and they are fairly well organized and maintained. There is no rating system, but a brief description accompanies most listings. Many of the links on this page came from this site.
The Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies
The Labyrinth is a global information network providing free, organized access to electronic resources in medieval studies through a World Wide Web server at Georgetown University. In the future, the Labyrinth will include a full range of new resources: an electronic library, on-line forums, professional directories and news, on-line bibliographies, an on-line university of teachers and scholars available for electronic conferencing, and an archive of pedagogical tools.
The Encyclopedia Britannica has an on-line counterpart. There is a fee for membership, but they do offer a one-week free trial. There are several short essays which are useful, and several very nice maps of the Mediterranean region, one from 1256, which shows the advance of the Seljuqs and the rival Byzantine Empires (Trebizond and Epirus) following the occupation of Constantinople. The site features a search engine
A beautiful site with a good historical overview, although skimpy in the late Byzantine period. Well worth checking out.
A small site with some interesting maps, which show the changing geographical area of the Byzantine Empire through the centuries.
Has an interesting, though somewhat sketchy, timeline which is useful as a graphical comparison of major changes throughout the medieval world.
** Access to Tradition
An on-line source of Byzantine and Greek crafts made in traditional ways. The embroidery displayed is incredible, and can be purchased and/or commissioned for a moderate fortune. This site also has excellent pictures, and a good general history of the crafts and culture
1,200+ historical, ethnic and specialty patterns from 650 AD to 1950 AD, including men's, women's and children's costumes. Also, a range of costume reference books as well as supplies for millinery, corset making, bustles and more. 160 page catalog available for $5.00.
This popular SCA merchant can be found at major events throughout the year, but also has his own web site, complete with pictures of the various trims. His own Byzantine persona makes him particularly knowledgeable about appropriate trim. The trims displayed have no notes as to appropriateness for a particular period or geographical region, so do some research if you’re not sure about a particular trim. The Greek Key pattern is almost always appropriate, as are most geometric patterns.
The Costume Source
Although this is an excellent site for European SCA personas, there are almost no merchants listed who have Byzantine garb, patterns or accessories. However, there are many clothiers listed who profess to be able make anything for a fee if you can send them a picture or description along with your measurements.
Gaukler Medieval Wares
Master Mark der Gaukler, O.L. sells a few pieces of Byzantine-style jewelry, as well as some genuine antiquities (stock varies). The merchandise is all pictured on the site, and is reasonably priced. Master Gaukler can also be found at Pennsic.
Green Duck Designs
Under Price Lists of things available, and Costuming Patterns, you can find the Ubiquitous T-tunic Book for $4.50. Green Duck also has some SCA merchandise, such as stickers and SCA publications. The Dover books they list should be available at any major bookstore, and you’d do better to actually look at the books to be sure they have the information you need.
** Diotima: Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World
A substantial site with a searchable bibliography. Several of the books listed are readily available at major bookstores, and provide an excellent source for names and a view of women’s roles in Byzantine society.
** Bardas Xiphias' Byzantine Names
An excellent site with lots of men's and women's first and last names with instructions on naming conventions for creating your own last name in the style of the period.
Argos is a limited area search of the Ancient and Medieval Internet.
The Greek Indexer
The Greek Indexer is a Yahoo-like search engine which contains internet sites with Greek content. The site invites additions to their contents.
There aren’t many sites in this Yahoo category yet, but it should be growing...
Interesting Related Sites
Armamentarium: The Book of Roman Arms and Armor
Strictly speaking, this is too early to be of use to all but the earliest Byzantine-style warriors. But it is a fascinating site.
The Perseus Project
An evolving digital library on Ancient Greece and Rome. An excellent work in progress. but generally concerned with an earlier period than we are interested in, though there is some crossover with the fall of the Roman Empire.
Recipes - Ancient Roman & Medieval
No specifically Byzantine recipes, but a fair number of good redacted recipes.
Traditions of Magic in Late Antiquity
A description of magic, with an emphasis on Egypt, and periods generally before the acknowledged Byzantine period. But definitely interesting!
THE MUSEUM FOR TEXTILES
55 Centre Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2H5
Telephone (416) 599-5321 Fax (416) 599-2911
Information (416) 599-5515
Has a collection of coptic textiles.
P.O. Box 2446
Richmond, IN 47374
Has a catalog with an extensive selection of medieval patterns. The quantity of Byzantine patterns is unknown.
Created and maintained by Kassia Sophia Tzykandelina, mka Heidi Johnson. Please e-mail me with any bad links or suggestions for additions. Thanks.
This page last updated on 12/26/97
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