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
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.
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.
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 It includes: Treasures unknown even to the most specialised experts, unpublished works that date back to the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods, 600 rare and valuable objects are, for the first time ever in a history of over 1,000 years,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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.