Byzantine Material Culture and Religious Iconography (11th - 15th Centuries)
Author: Maria Parani
This volume examines the occurrence of secular contemporary artefacts (realia) in Middle and Late Byzantine religious painting. It explores the potential of Byzantine art as a source of information on material culture and inquires into the semiotic function of realia in religious pictorial contexts.
The first part of the book comprises five case studies dedicated to imperial, official, aristocratic, and military dress, furniture, furnishings, and implements. The creative processes that led to the introduction of realia into religious iconography are discussed in the commentary.
The book conveys a wealth of information especially on Byzantine dress and provides valuable new insights into the workings of Byzantine art. It is an original and thorough investigation of a fascinating, yet surprisingly little-studied subject.
In: Court Ceremonies and Rituals of Power in Byzantium and the Medieval Mediterranean
In: The Material and the Ideal
Author: Maria G. Parani

Late antique dress in its diversity offers a mirror to the heterogeneity and complexities of late antique society. This paper presents a brief overview of the attire of various social groups in Late Antiquity—beginning from the imperial court and reaching down to the professionals of the world of public-spectacle—as this may be reconstructed from the archaeological, the written, and the artistic records. Its purpose is to highlight the importance of clothing and accompanying accessories as eloquent signs in an intricate communication system that enabled individuals and groups to articulate their identity and express it outwards in different physical settings and in a variety of social contexts.

In: Late Antique Archaeology
In: Objects in Context, Objects in Use
In the politically and militarily complex world of the medieval Eastern Mediterranean people and entities of different ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds came into close contact at many different levels, from everyday dealings in the marketplace to high diplomacy between competing states, thus providing scope for fertile cross-cultural interaction and permeation. This collective volume examines aspects of intercultural communication as reflected in Byzantine, Latin and Arabic documentary sources originating from or relating to the Eastern Mediterranean and ranging from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries. Twenty essays examine a variety of archival sources for the Latin East, explore chancery traditions in the culturally diverse society of Frankish Cyprus, and trace modes of communication and exchange between Byzantium, Islam and the West.
Contributors are: Jean Richard, David Jacoby, Benjamin Z. Kedar, Michel Balard, Peter Schreiner, Michel Balivet, Catherine Otten-Froux, Svetlana V. Bliznyuk, Brenda Bolton, Karl Borchardt, Nicholas Coureas, William O. Duba, Charalambos Gasparis, Hubert Houben, Angel Nicolaou-Konnari, Johannes Pahlitzsch, and Kostis Smyrlis.
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.
In: Court Ceremonies and Rituals of Power in Byzantium and the Medieval Mediterranean