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DATES:  400 - 1200 AD

Romanesque 900 - 1200 - Byzantine 400-1000+

bulletCrusades 1095 – 1192
bulletBarbaric 400 - 752
bulletCarolingian 742 - 900


bulletStained glass
bulletActual garments


bulletMonuments of Romanesque Art - Payne
bulletThe Art of Constantinople - Browning
bulletRomanesque Sculpture - Busch
bulletRomanesque Painting - Ainaud
bulletByzantine Style and Civilization - Runciman
bulletRomanesque Art in Europe - Künstler
bulletByzantine Mosaic Decoration - Demus
bulletWomen's Costumes in French Texts of the 11th and 12th Century - Goddard
bulletHandbook of English Medieval Costume - Cunnington


bulletA Winters Tale - Shakespeare
bulletKing Lear - Shakespeare
bulletMacbeth - Shakespeare
bulletTristan and Isolde - Wagner
bulletLion in Winter – Goldman
Romanesque/Byzantine Costume

It is possible to link these eight hundred years and four or five nations together because their dress was very similar to each other in this period. From the little information that is left from these Middle Ages, it seems that the differences in the Byzantine and Western dress in the years between the sixth and eleventh centuries are the differences in ornament, headdress, and length of particular garments. Garments for both men and women were developments of the sleeved tunics of Imperial Rome (tunica, stola, dalmatica) Cloaks were rectangular or semi-circular.

Byzantine men wore their hair cropped or bobbed with bangs across the forehead. The beards and mustaches were neatly trimmed. Romanesque men wore their hair short, bobbed or longish and they kept their faces clean-shaven. If they did have a beard it was in one or two points or with out trimmed beards. Byzantine men did not wear head pieces as much as the Western men. They wore the Phrygian cap, a small skull hat or the coif that fitted the head covered the ears and tied under the chin.

Women of Byzantium wore their hair up like the women of Imperial Roman with elaborate coiffures. They sometimes concealed their hair with turban-wrappings borrowed from the Orient. Women of the West also wore turbans however they did not wear their hair up like Roman women, they adopted the hair style of the barbarians and let their hair grow very long. They braided it into braids that reached below their knees.

If one color would to chosen for Byzantium it would be gold because it seemed the most prevalent color in art from that time. Other colors associated with this court would be violet, purple, brown, blue, red black, white gray and plum. The Western colors were much deeper and earthy. Fur distinguishes Western Europe from Byzantine modes, and much of their clothing was lined and decorated with it.

Notable Romanesque/Byzantine Costume Elements
Perpendula—Pearls and other precious materials hanging down from the crown on the side of the head seen primarily hanging by the ears. Often confused with earrings. 12.jpg (85938 bytes) hcrown3.gif (10030 bytes) ca5.gif (201322 bytes)
Tablion—The very elaborate, oblong decoration embroidered in red and gold on the back and front of the imperial Byzantine mantle. For other high officials it varied in color. Protects fabric from excessive wear. giusti1.jpg (44480 byte)
Tunic—It was like the late Roman tunica manicata, the sleeves in one with the garment, or pieced on with a straight seam. The neckline was high and slit down a little distance to admit the head. The length of the tunic varied from a little below the knees to the instep.   2-9.jpg (110193 bytes)
Consular Diptych Toga—This is the official costume for consuls as late as the sixth century. The toga was made of richly brocaded, stiff material so that its draping was very stiff and formal quite unlike the real toga, yet holds similar status. Diptyqued'Anastaseencostume.JPG (73279 bytes)
Cope— A semi-circular cape that is embroidered or brocaded and fastened across the chest by a wide ornamental band. This is sewn to one edge and is hooked or pinned by a jeweled morse to the other. A liturgical vestment of the later Catholic Church and as a choir vestment of some Anglican churches.  byzantine cloak
Wimple—A shaped kerchief for the head. Comes in various lengths from shoulder to floor
Bliaut—A garment worn by men and women, it originate about 1130 in the East and was brought to Europe at the end of the First Crusade. As worn by the upper classes at the end of the twelfth century it consisted of a snug-fitting torso, often wide embroidered sleeves, a low skirt pulled into elegant pleats across the hip, and snug lacing up the back under each arm. It was one of the first garments to depend on fit as well as cut. picture2.jpg (10019 bytes)
Mantle—Huge square piece of fabric tied around the body as a wrap and related to the himation.
Cote—A long tunic with the sleeve cut in one piece with the garment. The length varied from the calf to the instep.  
Surcote—A loose, lightweight garment originally worn by the Crusader over his armor as a protection against the sun. It soon became and over-tunic worn over the cote, sometimes unseamed, sometimes sleeveless, sometimes with wide open sleeves like a dalmatic. It could be belted or unbelted, and the length varied from knee to the ankle.
Chatelaine—Cord worn around the woman's waist that a house-hold items, such as scissors or keys, were attached.
Mitre—The first mitres were only low caps, with the points at the sides instead of front and back. By the end of the tenth century the low mitre was customary and worn, as the mitre is now, by a bishop as part of his ceremonial costume. Four Saints / Mantegna
Foliated Crown—A crown with a decorative and pointed upper edge—decorations were commonly leaf or scallop patterns.
Kirtle—Anglo-Saxon for tunic. Usually female garment, long sleeve fit at waist and full bottom at the floor. 1006710547766.gif (34796 bytes)
Chemise—An undergarment with long sleeves that showed beneath the sleeves and some lower necklines of the outer garment for women. Men also wore it underneath their tunics and could be seen at the collar or sleeves of his garment.
Other Useful Byzantine/Romanesque sites

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