Court Ceremonies and Rituals of Power in Byzantium and the Medieval Mediterranean

Comparative Perspectives


Publicly performed rituals and ceremonies form an essential part of medieval political practice and court culture. This applies not only to western feudal societies, but also to the linguistically and culturally highly diversified environment of Byzantium and the Mediterranean basin. The continuity of Roman traditions and cross-fertilization between various influences originating from Constantinople, Armenia, the Arab-Muslim World, and western kingdoms and naval powers provide the framework for a distinct sphere of ritual expression and ceremonial performance. This collective volume, placing Byzantium into a comparative perspective between East and West, examines transformative processes from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages, succession procedures in different political contexts, phenomena of cross-cultural appropriation and exchange, and the representation of rituals in art and literature.
Contributors are Maria Kantirea, Martin Hinterberger, Walter Pohl, Andrew Marsham, Björn Weiler, Eric J. Hanne, Antonia Giannouli, Jo Van Steenbergen, Stefan Burkhardt, Ioanna Rapti, Jonathan Shepard, Panagiotis Agapitos, Henry Maguire, Christine Angelidi and Margaret Mullett.

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Alexander D. Beihammer, Ph.D. (1999), Vienna, is Associate Professor of Byzantine history at the University of Cyprus. He has published on Byzantine diplomatics and on political and cross-cultural relations between Byzantium and the Muslim World and recently on the Seljuk Turks of Anatolia.
Stavroula Constantinou, Ph.D. (2003), Free University Berlin, is Assistant Professor of Byzantine Philology at the University of Cyprus. She has published a monograph, and many articles on Byzantine hagiographical literature, including Female Corporeal Performances: Reading the Body in Byzantine Passions and Lives of Holy Women (Uppsala, 2005).
Maria G. Parani, D.Phil. (2000), Oxford University, is Assistant Professor in Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art and Archaeology at the University of Cyprus. She has published on Byzantine material culture, especially on dress as a mirror of cultural and social identity.
Acknowledgments ... ix
List of Maps and Illustrations ... xi
List of Contributors ... xv

Comparative Approaches to the Ritual World of the Medieval Mediterranean ... 1
Alexander Beihammer

Part One: Rituals and the Transformation of the Roman World
1. Imperial Birthday Rituals in Late Antiquity ... 37
Maria Kantirea
2. Phthonos: A Pagan Relic in Byzantine Imperial Acclamations? ... 51
Martin Hinterberger
3. Ritualized Encounters: Late Roman Diplomacy and the Barbarians, Fifth–Sixth Century ... 67
Walter Pohl
4. The Architecture of Allegiance in Early Islamic Late Antiquity: The Accession of Muʿāwiya in Jerusalem, ca. 661 CE ... 87
Andrew Marsham

Part Two: Succession Procedures and their Ritual Articulations
5. Describing Rituals of Succession and the Legitimation of Kingship in the West, ca. 1000–ca. 1150 ... 115
Björn Weiler
6. Ritual and Reality: The Bayʿa Process in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Islamic Courts ... 141
Eric J. Hanne
7. Comnenian Imperial Succession and the Ritual World of Niketas Choniates’s Chronike Diegesis ... 159
Alexander D. Beihammer
8. Coronation Speeches in the Palaiologan Period ... 203
Antonia Giannouli

Part Three: Invention, Appropriation and Transformation between East and West
9. Ritual, Politics, and the City in Mamluk Cairo: The Bayna l-Qaṣrayn as a Mamluk ‘lieu de mémoire’, 1250–1382 ... 227
Jo Van Steenbergen
10. Court Ceremonies and Rituals of Power in the Latin Empire of Constantinople ... 277
Stefan Burkhardt
11. Featuring the King: Rituals of Coronation and Burial in the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia ... 291
Ioanna Rapti
12. Adventus, Arrivistes and Rites of Rulership in Byzantium and France in the Tenth and Eleventh Century ... 337
Jonathan Shepard

Part Four: Ritual Performances and their Reflections in Art and Literature
13. V iolence in the Palace: Rituals of Imperial Punishment in Prokopios’s Secret History ... 375
Stavroula Constantinou
14. The “Court of Amorous Dominion” and the “Gate of Love”: Rituals of Empire in a Byzantine Romance of the Thirteenth Century ... 389
Panagiotis A. Agapitos
15. Parodies of Imperial Ceremonial and Their Reflections in Byzantine Art ... 417
Henry Maguire
16. Look like an Angel: The Attire of Eunuchs and Its Significance within the Context of Middle Byzantine Court Ceremonial ... 433
Maria Parani
17. Designing Receptions in the Palace (De Cerimoniis 2.15) ... 465
Christine Angelidi
18. Tented Ceremony: Ephemeral Performances under the Komnenoi ... 487
Margaret Mullett

Bibliography ... 515
Index ... 565
All interested in the history of Byzantium and the medieval Mediterranean as well as medieval rituals and court ceremonies in general.
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