1st Edition

Byzantine Dress: A Guide

Edited By Jennifer L. Ball Copyright 2025
    328 Pages 86 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    328 Pages 86 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers approaches to the study of Byzantine dress of elites and non-elites, in sacred and secular modes, from the beginning of the Empire in the fourth century until the fifteenth century. Byzantine dress is considered from within and outside of the Empire, and examines both artefactual remains as well as emphasizing studies that elucidate Byzantine dress when few or no artifacts exist.

    Byzantine Dress: A Guide tackles current conceptual frameworks in the first three chapters and considers identity and sartorial signaling among Byzantines as well as foreigners in images as well as actual items of dress.  A second section addresses material considerations, reflecting on construction and its effect on value. The interpretation of archaeological material is analyzed, along with reconstruction and context. Dress as part of rituals – at court, church, and in various ceremonies – is the focus of a third section. The final two chapters bring Byzantine dress into conversation with dress studies more broadly. A discursive chapter argues for a fashion system within the Byzantine Empire, which has been largely seen as pre-dating the notion of fashion.  The final chapter concerns display, interpretation and conservation of fragmentary material in a museum context.

    This book aims toward a general audience new to the subject of Byzantine dress. Specialists in Byzantine studies and dress studies more generally will find the attention to current scholarship and archaeological interpretation invaluable for research, and the book will also appeal to an audience new to the subject of Byzantine dress.


    Jennifer Ball


    SECTION I: Perspectives on Byzantine Dress


    Chapter 1. Byzantine identity and dress

    Maria Parani


    Chapter 2. Uniformity and Distinction

    Jennifer Ball


    Chapter 3. Dressing Beyond Byzantium: Negotiating Identity Through Local and Imported Fashion

    Cristina Stancioiu


    SECTION II. Value and Construction


    Chapter 4. Jewelry

    Georgios Makris


    Chapter 5. Dressing the Non-Elite in the Byzantine Empire

    Arielle Winnick


    Chapter 6. The Construction and Re-Use of Clothing in the Late Antique Period               

    Faith Pennick Morgan


    SECTION III. Clothing Rituals


    Chapter 7. Byzantine Dress in Marriage Rituals

    Gabriel Radle


    Chapter 8. Liturgical Dress

    Warren Woodfin


    Chapter 9. Ceremonial and Diplomatic Dress

    Tim Dawson


    Chapter 10: The Byzantine Fashion System

    Jennifer Ball


    Chapter 11: Displaying Byzantine Dress

    Kathrin Colburn and Elizabeth Dospěl-Williams


    Jennifer L. Ball is a professor of Early Christian and Byzantine Art History at The City University of New York. Her research interests encompass textiles and dress, and portrait representations of dress. Much of her research considers the movement of textiles, and other material culture, around Afro-Eurasia, in the Byzantine, Islamic and Western medieval worlds. She is a frequent lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has held fellowships at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Princeton University’s Program in Hellenic Studies. She is the recipient of teaching awards including the Claire Tow Distinguished Teacher Award at Brooklyn College.