Display – 11th-Century Byzantine Noblewoman’s Closet by Anna Dokeianina Syrakousina

Hypatissa Anna Dokeianina Syrakousina, Barony of Castlemere

An excerpt from her article in The Complete Anachronist (full text linked below):

The onslaughts unleashed against the Byzantine Empire, first during the devastating Fourth Crusade in 1204, and ultimately in 1453 in their final defeat by the Ottoman Empire, has left little written work available for historians to glean from this once vibrant culture. After two intense periods of iconoclasm in the seventh and eighth centuries, and subsequent pillaging efforts of Latins, and Turks, even fewer material objects remain.

Despite severe shortcomings of source material, Byzantinists do have a way out of this lacuna tunnel: the untouched archives of twenty monasteries. Nestled in safety atop the holy mountain of Athos, they have provided a treasure trove of documents and encouraged a tremendous undertaking of study since the 1930s. One such treasure is the last will and testament of a nun, named Maria, which has unlocked the life of a Byzantine patrician woman from the eleventh century. Her name was Kale Pakouriane, wife of Symbatios Pakourianos, and kouropalatissa early in the reign of Emperor Alexios.

Her impressive inventory of gold, land, livestock, garments, and other household goods allows modern readers to catch a glimpse at the opulent lifestyle once lived by the highest nobility of a forgotten empire. This study will review the inventory presented within the wills of Kale and her husband. Through this, it will piece together a reflection of her life through her material possessions. In additions, the re-creation of garments once within her wardrobe will be used as a tool to approximate the dress and appearance of an eleventh-century Byzantine patrikia.

Full paper in The Complete Anachronist.

More articles and information can be found at Anna’s Rome

4 thoughts on “Display – 11th-Century Byzantine Noblewoman’s Closet by Anna Dokeianina Syrakousina

  1. I will never tire of seeing all that gorgeous silk, so stunning! Thank you for sharing your article!

  2. That is stunning and bright. I love that you show the opulence of the time and culture. Plus it is really pretty🙂

  3. How interesting!!! I think it’s really cool how you took a will, and used that information to bring this woman to life! Beautiful colors and design! Full of details!

  4. Amazing colors and workmanship. Thank you for sharing this information on a culture I personally know very little about.

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