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cl-Byzantine-msg - 6/14/04


Clothing of Byzantine.


NOTE: See also these files: Byzantine-msg, cl-Russia-msg, clothing-bib, clothing-books-msg, fd-Byzantine-msg, fd-Turkey-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: timsmith at oasys.dt.navy.mil (Timothy Smith)

Date: 7 Nov 91 16:59:02 GMT

Organization: David Taylor Research Center, Bethesda, MD


Poklon k Rialto ot Timofeya Ivanovichya!


For those interested in a well-researched secondary source on Byzantine

garb, I recommend _Fashion at the Center of the World_, written by

Mistress Veleda of Isenfir (known to many as the artist responsible

for Lady Tudor Glitz & Beast).  Please send e-mail if you would like

her address.


Do svedanya,

Timofei Ivanovitch


--- Tim Smith ---  timsmith at oasys.dt.navy.mil ---- (301)227-1611 ---

--- Code 1522, David Taylor Research Center, Bethesda, MD 20084 ---



From: rachael at dolphin.csudh.edu (Rachael Greenberg)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Byzantine Garb

Date: 3 Apr 1996 20:08:58 GMT


Shannon Krysta Ward (skward at acs5.acs.ucalgary.ca) wrote:

: I am trying to make some Byzantine garb but was informed by the Baron of

: my local group that Byzantine Tunics (if that's the proper term) are

: _NOT_ constructed like t-tunics.  Is he right, and if so, how are they

: constructed?


: Pierfrancesca di Montefiore


There is a fairly recent Compleat Anachronist that talks at length about

the tunica (Roman/Byzantine tunic)  I do not have the number handy.

If that is not an accessibler resource, try 20,000 years of Fashion -

therer are a few pictures that are fairly detailed.


Basically the difference is in the way the body of the

tunic is put together and the way the sleeves are constructed.


Hope this helps somewhat....


BTW the name of the issue of CA is _Vestarios_.


- Theodora Demetriades



(who has researxched this stuff, but hasn't had the time to *make* any yet :))



From: Rebekah and Chip <rinman at ucsd.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Byzantine Garb

Date: 4 Apr 1996 10:08:45 GMT

Organization: University of California, San Diego


rachael at dolphin.csudh.edu (Rachael Greenberg) wrote:

>There is a fairly recent Compleat Anachronist that talks at length about




>BTW the name of the issue of CA is _Vestarios_.


>- Theodora Demetriades



It's #75.  It appears the author (Lady Tuana AElswith/Donna Bowers) got most of her information on tunica construction from Mary G Houston's _Clothing of Ancient Greece, Rome and Byzantium_, which should be available in your local library (*three* copies at the local branch of mine alone).  Depending on who is wearing it and which period you are talking about, construction varies greatly.


Being mostly interested in what soldiers of the period wore, I found _Vestarios_ a bit disapointing.  She states that military costume was covered in _Kyrie Eleison_ (CA 54), but that issue deals exclusively with arms and armor; not a word on what they wore under it.


Most of the sources I have found deal mostly with what could be called "court

attire", at which point we're talking about under tunics, dalmatics, and cloaks.  My tunicas are based soley on the fig.s 131 - 134 from Houston's book, p. 118, which are taken from actual tunicas in the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Houston assures us that, though these are from roughly the fourth to ninth century (don't let a little thing like a half MILLENNIUM mess up a perfectly good story ;-)), the style in military wear did not change appreciably for several hundred years after them.  I am skeptical, however, as she takes other liberties when discussing military attire.

But, she's the best source I've found so far, and my analysis of the artistic

renderings from my time period (11th century) can't contradict her.  But I am by

know means trained in the areas of costume analysis or Eastern Roman art.


Anyway, if you can't get hold of _Vestarios_, can't find Houston's book, or find

either source wanting, contact me and I'll try to give you a few other leads or

tips.  If anyone knows more about military costume from this time period and region, I'd *love* to hear from you.




Ld Nikodemos Katallakos

St Artemas/Calafia/Caid



From: djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Looking for "Byzantine information"

Date: 15 Jun 1996 21:03:20 GMT

Organization: University of California at Berkeley


Bryan J. Maloney <bjm10 at cornell.edu> wrote:


>So, any sources on clothing, food, attitudes, etc? I'm already teaching

>myself Koine Greek (which is not Byzantine Greek, but it's a start).


A good starting place for Byzantine-era clothing is Veleda of

Isenfir's _Fashion at the Center of the World,_ which you may be

able to get at your local SCA bookmonger, or failing that order

it from Moongate Designs.  Ten years ago, when I got my copy,

Moongate's address was 44791 Windmill Drive, Canton MI 48187,

phone 313:451-6839, and the price was $8.  Many of these numbers

may have changed by now, but you can probably find the new

numbers by asking around.


Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin                Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West                        UC Berkeley

Argent, a cross forme'e sable           djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu




From: pp003060 at interramp.com (Guest)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Byzantine clothing question

Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996 14:16:28 -0500


In article <4t32oi$4q9 at nntp.club.cc.cmu.edu>, amergina at dementia.org (Ann

Laurel Kopchik) wrote:


> Quick Byzantine clothing question... on tunica, do the clavii run down

> both the front and the back, or only the front?  All the pictures I have only

> show the front of a garment.


> -Anwen ferch Morgraunt


> Amergina is Ann Kopchik -- amergina at dementia.org


They run down both front and back.



Bryn Gwlad




From: wulfgard at erols.com (Wulf & Teddi)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Byzantine clothing question

Date: Thu, 25 Jul 1996 13:03:51 GMT

Organization: Clam Wulfgard


khayman at ccia.com wrote:


>>Quick Byzantine clothing question... on tunica, do the clavii run down

>>both the front and the back, or only the front? All the pictures I have only

>>show the front of a garment.


>>-Anwen ferch Morgraunt

>They run on both sides.



>Kevin Hughes                     khayman at ccia.com


It can run down just the front too.


Lady Theodora



From: WebSerfs <webserfs at ladydra.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Byzantine costume ideas?

Date: Tue, 08 Jul 1997 13:59:32 -0500

Organization: House of Dra


On Sun, 22 Jun 1997 at 14:43:34, D. Tkach wrote:

> I am looking for costume ideas (both formal and informal wear) for a

> female Byzantine persona (somewhere between 1100 and 1400).  Can anyone

> recommend books which might of help, or just describe such garb to me?

> I've already searched through our university library without much luck.

> I'd really appreciate any suggestions.  Thanks!


> --Darca

> tkach at uvic.ca




'Historic Costume for the Stage', Lucy Barton, W.H. Baker, Boston, 1935,

Chapter V - 'Byzantine and Romanesque 400-1200', pp. 95-124.


also, from the rialto archives at

"http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/rialto/clothing-msg.html"; (see the rialto

for full citations):


"For Byzantine garb - primary sources - try any art history book and

look for pictures of the mosaics. Ravenna had a bunch, as did many of

the churches. In particular, there are good ones of Justinian and

Theodora, and a "procession of twelve female saints (virgins?)" one that

is particularly good. Then go to _Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine

Costume and Decoration_ for a good explanation of how all those folds

got there. Do *not* trust the Byzantine line-drawings in Doreen

Yarwood's _Encyclopedia of World Costume_ - she blows it on one of the

female saints from that mosaic by turning the drape of a chiton-like

undertunic into a cuffed sleeves. And ghod knows what else!"


"For those interested in a well-researched secondary source on Byzantine

garb, I recommend _Fashion at the Center of the World_, written by

Mistress Veleda of Isenfir (known to many as the artist responsible for

Lady Tudor Glitz & Beast). Please send e-mail if you would like her

address. "


And, in your spare time, please take a look at our catalog at



Good luck,

The WebSerfs


WebSerfs                  "Creator of wonderous magical garments...

The House of Dra           costumes, speciality clothing,

Custom Clothing & Costumes

http://www.ladydra.com     Renaissance Faire garb, everyday wear...

webserfs at ladydra.com       for the adventurous spirit."




From: Rebekah & Chip <rinman at ucsd.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: period jewel fastening

Date: Thu, 10 Jul 1997 22:55:56 -0700

Organization: University of California at San Diego


Isabelle de Foix queried:

> Does anybody know how they fastened all of those jewels on late period

> court garb? I once read that somebody was always following Queen

> Elizabeth I, picking up the jewels that fell off of her dress. Was the

> same method used throughout Western Europe or were different techniques

> employed? I *don't* think they sewed those things on!


The pearls on (at least late) Byzantine court (14th/15th century) attire

were, in fact, sewn on.  There are some beautiful close up color plates

of this work in a book called:


        Byzantine Art in the Collections of Soviet Museums

        Alisa V. Bank

        Leningrad: Aurora 1977


The pearls are drilled, the hole is parallel to the cloth.


The only stones I've seen appear to have been set in gold which wraps up

from the bottom forming a lip around the bottom of the stone.  These

photographs were not close enough for good detail, however, so I can

only call this speculation.


Bardas Xiphias,

Calafia, Caid



Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 09:45:38 +0000

From: Scot Eddy <seddy at vvm.com>

Subject: Re: ANST - Byzantine


Mistress Veleda of Isenfir's _Fashion at the the Center of the

Universe_ (I hope I got that right, I'll have to check) is a good plce

to start. She spends too much time in pre-period clothing in my

opinion and a few of her drawings are misleading, but it's not bad.

Creative Anachronist called _Vestarios_ is another good work.


After that it's time for the art books. This presents something of a

problem. Icons, which are the sources for much of what we know about

their clothing, are properly done by copying as closely as possible

the original. While this may seem unoriginal there are religious

reasons for doing so. In short, Mary is always dressed in 2nd C. garb

even if it's a 15th C. icon. Much of the clothing is pre-period as is

the armor, unfortunately.


Often, though, you can look at the others in the background. Minor

characters are sometimes shown in period clothing. Emperors usually

are in the mosaics.


If anyone has specific questions about Byzantine garb I would love to

help them out. I'm planning a class on Byzantine clothing and would

love to give it when it's complete.


Grace and Peace,

Jovian Skleros



Subject: Re: ANST - Elfsea Spingfaire - Garb

Date: Wed, 18 Mar 98 11:54:03 MST

From: Scot Eddy <seddy at vvm.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


Susan Lundgren wrote:

> I'm planning to make new garb for Elfsea Spingfaire and I'm looking for

> sources for Byzantine clothing as I've never made anything of that sort.

> Can anyone help point me in the right direction?


> Nichola Maccoffoc              Stargate

> Susi Lundgren                      Houston


Greeting, Jovian here,


Being Roman myself I have a nice collection of books that would most

definitely be of some help. Byzantine clothing stays pretty much the

same for a good portion of the time period we cover. 330 - 600 AD sees

somer big changes.


Cloth should be bright and bold. If if clashes somewhat... good! Find

repeating geometric patterns or solid gems tones fabrics.


Undertunic with clavii (long parallel stips of trim that start at the

bottom hem, go up over the shoulders, and down the back) Probably

ankle length.


Over tunic (aka Dalmatic) t-length (mid-calf) with sleeves to the

elbow. Here is where you go hog wild with trim or gold lame with

fusable backing. The simplest way to go is with lame around the neck,

hem, sleeve ends, and a wide stip down the front and back center.

Decorate with pearls, beads, cabochons (sp?) etc.


Belt. Wal-mart has some wonderful belts in the women's section. Don't

get a plain one.


Shoes. Low and slipper like. Decorate with pearls, beads, cabochons,



Hat: Make a long tube of cloth, stuff, wrap a strip of trim around the

front, sides, and back of the tube and set it on your head. Hang 2-3

strings of pearls from it.


Byzantine motto: More is better. When looter melted down the vestments

on a long dead Empress they got close to 22 lbs of gold.


Sources to find:

National Geographic Jan 1983

Late Period Byzantine Painting - David Talbot Rice

Byzantium - the Time Life series of the world civilizations series


Avoid Biblical figures or saints. Their clothing is the wrong thing.

For instance, Mary wears cloths from the 2nd century in all of the

icons. The same with most of the others. Look for pictures of Emperors

and court scenes. Tose will have you best examples.


Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.


Grace and Peace,

Jovian Skleros



Subject: Re: BG - Calling all Romans

Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 18:22:40 -0500

From: Scot and Domino Eddy <domino7 at texas.net>

To: bryn-gwlad at ansteorra.org


Chris Yone wrote:

> Any advice on garb that would be seen if one spent the day in

> Constantinople?  Especially things that are relatively easy to make?


> Kirsten of Skye


Start with a simple tunic of white cloth for the undertunica (anywhere

from ankle length to calf length) and put 2 stripes, one over each

shoulder, that start at the hem and go all the way over and back down.

They should be perpendicular to the hem and parallel to each other. At

about the nipple level place another stripe reaching across the first

two stripe, but not any further. Thoroughly confused. I hope not.


|    |


|    |

|    |

|    |


Is roughly how it should look. Hope that turned out. Put cuffs on the


The dalmatic is shorter than the tunica and short sleeved. Gem colors

(red, blue, green) are always good to choose from. Of course, blue is by

far the best :) Geometric patterns are good, too. A simple design would

be 3" - 4" of trim or "gold" material at the hem all the way around, 3"

- 4" of trim or gold material at the collar and 3" - 4" of trim or

"gold" material in a single stripe down the center front and back. The

"tube" hat (like the Burgundian chaperones without the liripipe and

fru-fru over the top) is acceptable as is a Phrygian hat or "pillbox"

hat. Dangly things are technically for the Emperor and Empress only, but

everyone expects it from "Byzantines." Tights or hosen and slippers with

trim and beads will finish it out.


If 2 layers is too hot for you in Sept. go for the knee high tunica

decorated with a hip or thigh length 1/2 circle cloak.


Jovian Skleros



Subject: Re: BG - Calling all Romans

Date: Sat, 02 Sep 2000 18:58:06 -0500

From: Scot and Domino Eddy <domino7 at texas.net>

To: bryn-gwlad at ansteorra.org


Chris Yone wrote:

> Thank you all for the input.  It has been very helpful.


> I do need a little clarification or a few more specifics--'cause that's how I

> am--want to make sure I have a proper picture in my head before I start.



> the white undertunica

> --What sort of neck opening does your simple tunic have--round/oval or

> keyhole?


I haven't seen any "keyhole" neck holes before. Mine are simple circular holes.

Some folks try for hexagonal and octagonal, but that is a misconception.


> --How fitted and long are the sleeves?  Snug, extremely tight, or slightly

> baggy? I assume loose enough to not need closures from your description--so

> I'm guessing snug.


Sleeves are not snug, but not loose either. Just comfortable. The hand should slip easily thru the cuff.


> --What should the stripes be out of?  Trim, ribbon, lace, contrasting fabric?


I'm less and less infatuated with trim. I'd try contrasting fabric or JoAnn's has gold Christmas fabric of cotton and nylon (on sale at 50% off of $5.99/yd)

that looks much better than tissue lame. Yuck, tissue lame.


> What is a dalmatic?  a loose over-tunic type thing?  I assume it is

> constructed similar to the undertunic with the exceptions of the differences

> you mentioned.  I'm afraid I'm not very familiar with the terms.


Dalmatics are over tunics or super tunics. Construction should be the same as the undertunic in most cases. The sleeves would be short and wide. Elbow length

and twice as wide as the undertunic.


> Most of the dresses I have made so far have been some form of a cothardie (sp?)

> I thought this sounded like a fun event to try something new, so assume I know

> nothing of this style of garb and you will probably be right.  I have found

> some online resources too for Byzantine dress, but I'm still a bit fuzzy.


> Kirsten of Skye



From: Gypsymtrch at aol.com

Date: Mon Apr 14, 2003 1:36:00 PM US/Central

To: stefan at florilegium.org

Subject: Lady Leah of Constantinople


Being Byzantine is certainly a challenge.  I have found Fashion At the Center of the World by Veleda of Isenfir to be very helpful, and informative.  There is also a coloring book by Dover called Byzantine Fashions by Tom Tierney.  I have also recently acquired a copy of Patterns for Theatrical Costumes by Katherine Strand Holkeboer, which is fast becoming indespisible to me.  I am a challenged sewer, always needing a pattern, and this book has helped me pick and choose pieces from various patterns to achieve the garment I wish.


Hope these sources will help others, as I have been helped by them.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org