The work known as Pseudo-Kodinos, the fourteenth-century text which is one of two surviving ceremonial books from the Byzantine empire, is presented here for the first time in English translation. With facing page Greek text and the first in-depth analysis in the form of commentary and individual studies on the hierarchy, the ceremonies, court attire, the Blachernai palace, lighting, music, gestures and postures, this volume makes an important new contribution to the study of the Byzantine court, and to the history and culture of Byzantium more broadly. The unique traits of this ceremony book include the combination of hierarchical lists of court officials with protocols of ceremonies; a detailed description of the clothing used at court, in particular, hats and staffs; an account of the functions of the court title holders, a description of the ceremonies of the year which take place both inside the palace and outside; the service of the megas domestikos in the army, protocols for the coronation of the emperor, the promotions of despot, sebastokrator and caesar, of the patriarch; a description of the mourning attire of the emperor; protocol for the reception of a foreign bride in Constantinople all these are analysed here. Developments in ceremonial since the tenth-century Book of Ceremonies are discussed, as is the space in which ceremonial was performed, along with a new interpretation of the ’other palace’, the Blachernai. The text reveals the anonymous authors’ interest in the past, in the origins of practices and items of clothing, but it is argued that Pseudo-Kodinos presents descriptions of actual practice at the Byzantine court, rather than prescriptions.
'… this book is immensely useful for every scholar and student interested in medieval ceremonial and is, indeed, a piece of great scholarship, which will serve as a work of reference for generations of medievalists to come. For this, we should all extend our warmest thanks and congratulations to the authors.' Speculum
Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies is devoted to the history, culture and archaeology of the Byzantine and Ottoman worlds of the East Mediterranean region from the fifth to the twentieth century. It provides a forum for the publication of research completed by scholars from the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham, and those with similar research interests.