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SETTIMANE DI STUDIO

DELLA FONDAZIONE CENTRO ITALIANO DI STUDI


SULLALTO MEDIOEVO

LXII

LE CORTI
NELLALTO MEDIOEVO

Spoleto, 24-29 aprile 2014


TOMO

PRIMO

FONDAZIONE

C E N TR O I TALI ANO DI STUDI


S ULLALTO M E DIOE VO
SPOLETO

2015

INDICE

Consiglio di amministrazione e Consiglio scientifico della


Fondazione Centro italiano di studi sullalto medioevo ..... pag.

IX

Intervenuti .....................................................................

XI

Programma della Settimana di studio ................................

XIII

GIUSEPPE SERGI, Forme e compiti delle aggregazioni intorno ai poteri altomedievali ..........................................................

ANTONIO CARILE, Il potere imperiale: imperatore e corte da Giustiniano ai macedoni ......................................................


Discussione sulla lezione Carile ........................................

25
95

PAOLO CAMMAROSANO, La prossimit al re presso i popoli germanici e delle steppe ..........................................................


Discussione sulla lezione Cammarosano ............................

97
109

CLAUDIO AZZARA, Le corti delle due Italie longobarde ...............


Discussione sulla lezione Azzara .......................................

111
135

PHILIPPE DEPREUX, Der karolingische Hof als Institution und Personenverband ...............................................................
Discussione sulla lezione Depreux ....................................

137
165

RGINE LE JAN, Les crmonies carolingiennes: symbolique de


lordre, dynamique de la comptition .................................
Discussione sulla lezione Le Jan ........................................

167
195

WOLFGANG HUSCHNER, Der ottonische Kaiserhof (962-1002).


Aufgabenspektrum und Personalstruktur ............................
Discussione sulla lezione Huschner ...................................

197
231

VI

INDICE

THOMAS F. X. NOBLE, A court without Courtiers: The Roman


Church in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages ......... pag.

235

AGOSTINO PARAVICINI BAGLIANI, La corte dei papi nei secoli XI e


XII: ritualit e autorappresentazione .................................
Discussione sulla lezione Paravicini Bagliani ......................

259
279

LETIZIA ERMINI PANI, Per un organico funzionamento della corte


papale: le scholae peregrinorum ....................................
Discussione sulla lezione Ermini Pani ...............................

281
313

STPHANE GIOANNI, Les cours croates et la rforme de lglise dalmate


(IXe-XIe sicle) structures, hommes et doctrines ....................
Discussione sulla lezione Gioanni .....................................

319
353

LUCIO DE GIOVANNI, Imperatori, corti, attivit legislativa nella


tarda antichit ..............................................................

357

ERIC BOURNAZEL, Rflexions sur le rle et la place de la reine


dans le palais royal et le gouvernement aux temps mrovingiens

385

CLAUDIA STORTI, Le dimensioni giuridiche della curtis regia longobarda .......................................................................

429

BRUNO DUMZIL, La chancellerie mrovingienne au VIe sicle .....


Discussione sulla lezione Dumzil .....................................

473
501

MARK MERSIOWSKY, Die karolingischen Kanzleien als Problem


der Forschung ..............................................................

503

IGNAZIO TANTILLO, I cerimoniali di corte in et tardoromana


(284-395 d.c.) ..............................................................
Discussione sulla lezione Tantillo ......................................

543
585

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE, Space and ceremony in the Great Palace


of Constantinople under the Macedonian Emperors ..............
Discussione sulla lezione Featherstone ...............................

587
609

RUTH MACRIDES, After the Macedonians: Ceremonial and space


in the eleventh and twelfth centuries ..................................
Discussione sulla lezione Macrides ....................................

611
625

VII

INDICE

YITZHAK HEN, Court and Culture in the Barbarian West: a Prelude


to the Carolingian Renaissance ........................................ pag.
Discussione sulla lezione Hen ...........................................

627
651

FABRIZIO CRIVELLO, Il ruolo della corte nellarte carolingia. Le testimonianze dei manoscritti miniati ...................................

653

DANUTA SHANZER, Capturing Merovingian Courts: a Literary


Perspective ...................................................................
Discussione sulla lezione Shanzer ......................................

667
701

EDOARDO DANGELO, La letteratura alle corti longobarde minori


(Spoleto, Benevento, Capua, Salerno) ...............................

703

DANIELE BIANCONI, Libri e letture di corte a Bisanzio. Da Costantino il Grande allascesa di Alessio I Comneno ........................
Discussione sulla lezione Bianconi ....................................

767
817

MARINA FALLA CASTELFRANCHI, La cultura artistica alla corte di


Giustiniano (527-65) .....................................................

821

ERMANNO A. ARSLAN, Moneta e volto del potere ....................


Discussione sulla lezione Arslan ........................................

853
887

ANTONELLA BALLARDINI, In antiquissimo ac venerabili Lateranensi palatio : la residenza dei pontefici secondo il Liber
Pontificalis .................................................................

889

LORENZO ARIAS PRAMO, Iconografa del poder en el Arte Altomedieval Asturiano (s. VIII-IX) ......................................

929

PATRICK PRIN, Portrait posthume dune reine movingienne.


Argonde ( C. 580), pouse de Clotaire Ier ( 561) et mre
de Chilpric Ier ( 584) .................................................

1001

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE


OF CONSTANTINOPLE UNDER
THE MACEDONIAN EMPERORS

The Great Palace of Constantinople now lies buried under the


quarter of Sultanahmet in Istanbul. The first glimpses of it came to light
in excavations subsequent to the fire of 1911, including also the famous
Mosaic Peristyle 1. In more recent excavations to the south-east of St
Sophia, archeologists have discovered the Chalke, the monumental
entrance of the old palace 2.
Because so little excavation has been done, our main knowledge of
the palace comes from literary sources, of which the most important is
the so-called De Cerimoniis, a compilation of ceremonies initiated by the
tenth-century emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus 3.
Comprised of texts from the sixth to the tenth century, the De
Cerimoniis reflects the development of the Palace, and on the basis of it
1. Results of excavations of the 1920s in E. MAMBOURY - T. WIEGAND, Die Kaiserpalste von
Konstantinopel. Zwischen Hippodrom und Maramarameer, Berlin-Leipzig, 1934 (aerial photograph
of the quarter of Sultanahmet in Plate 2, Fig. 1 of the present article); for the excavations of the
Walker Trust, including the Mosaic Peristyle see G. BRETT - G. MARTINY - R. B. K. STEVENSON,
The Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperors. First Report on the Excavations Carried out in Istanbul on
behalf of the Walker Trust, Oxford-London, 1947; D. TALBOT RICE, The Great Palace of the
Byzantine Emperors. Second Report, Edinburgh, 1958; W. JOBST - H. VETTERS, Mosaikenforschung
im Kaiserpalast von Konstantinopel, Vienna, 1992 (sterreich. Akad. d. Wiss., philol.-hist. Kl.,
Denkschriften, 228); W. JOBST - R. KASTLER - V. SCHEIBELREITER, Neue Forschungen und
Restaurierungen im byzantinischen Kaiserpalast von Istanbul, Vienna, 1999.
2. . GIRKIN, La Porte Monumentale trouvee dans les fouilles pres de lancienne prison de
Sultanahmet, in Anatolia Antiqua, 16 (2008), pp. 259-90.
3. Constantini Porphyrogeniti imperatoris De Cerimoniis aulae byzantinae, ed. J. J. REISKE, I,
Bonn, 1829; reprint with English translation: A. MOFFATT - M. TALL, Constantine Porphyrogenitus.
The Book of Ceremonies, I-II, Canberra, 2012; cf. J. M. FEATHERSTONE, Basileios Nothos as compiler:
the De Cerimoniis and Theophanes Continuatus, in I. PEREZ-MARTIN - J. SIGNES, ed., The
Transmission of Byzantine Texts between Textual Criticism and Quellenforschung, Turnhout, 2014,
pp. 353-372.

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MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

many reconstructions have been made, such as that on the internet site
Byzantium 1200 by Tayfun ner showing the palace on the eve of the
Fourth Crusade 4.
But such reconstructions are to be used with caution, for the Great
Palace was in effect two palaces: an older one, originally built by Constantine I, and a newer one which had taken shape in the late seventh
century. The old palace, outlined in Fig. 2, was on the higher level at
32m, beside the Great Church of Saint Sophia and the city Hippodrome,
with which it was closely connected. The new Palace, also outlined in
Fig. 2, was on a lower level at 16m beside the Sea of Marmara.
Careful reading of the literary sources show that by the ninth century
the old buildings on the upper level were no longer considered part of
the Palace. Emptied of their furnishings, they lacked even lighting. Just
as other late-antique buildings of Constantinople had been abandoned
or transformed in the Mediaeval period, so it was with the monumental
old palace now a sort of white elephant whose everyday functions were
transferred to the more compact, fortified palace below 5.
Let us review the principal structures of both palaces, beginning
with the old.
We have already mentioned the monumental entrance, the Chalke
Gate. A large building with a central vaulted chamber, the Chalke had a
great bronze door. But by the tenth century this door was used very
rarely, only when the emperor went out in grand procession, through
the Regia (the continuation of the Mese, ending at the Chalke) to the
Augustaion, the late-antique square beside St Sophia which was now
enclosed by walls. In the midst of the Augustaion rose an equestrian
statue of the emperor Justinian; and on its eastern side was the
Magnaura, or Magna Aula, the former Senate House 6. Crossing the
4. http://byzantium1200.com/images/tile01L.jpg
5. On the Great Palace, see most recently A. BERGER, The Byzantine Court as Physical Space,
in The Byzantine Court: Source of Power and Culture in: The Byzantine Court: Source of Power and
Culture, ed. N. NECIPOGLU - A. DEKAN - E. AKYREK, Istanbul, 2013 (2nd International Sevgi
Gonl Byzantine Studies Symposium, Istanbul 21-23 June 2010), pp. 13-22. About the
development and discontinuity of the upper palace: J. BARDILL, Visualizing the Great Palace of the
Byzantine Emperors at Constantinople. Archaeology, Text and Topography, in Visualisierung von
Herrschaft. Frhmittelalterliche Residenzen. Gestalt und Zerimoniell, ed. F. A. BAUER, Istanbul, 2006
(Byzas, 5), pp. 5-46; J. M. FEATHERSTONE, Der Grosse Palast von Konstantinopel: Tradition oder
Erfindung?, in Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 106 (2013), pp. 19-38.
6. Evidence of the sources for the Augustaion and Senate/Magnaura in C. MANGO, The

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

589

Augustaion in procession the emperor entered St Sophia by the


south-western vestibule, reconfigured in the tenth century with a
mosaic showing Constantine I offering his city and Justinian his church
to Christ and the Virgin 7.
In addition to the bronze door, the Chalke also connected with a
portico (embolos) running along the eastern side of the Augustaion to a
chapel of the Holy Well, on the eastern side of St Sophia, near the
entrance (now closed) into the south-eastern bema of St Sophia. Atop
this portico there was also a private passageway which connected
directly to the upper gallery of St Sophia. Comparable to the connexion
between the Carolingian palace and chapel in Aachen, this portico with
its upper passageway was part of the itinerary normally taken by the
emperor going to and from St Sophia 8.
Adjoining the Chalke, the Magnaura was identified by Ernest Mamboury with substructures excavated in the 1920s. Rebuilt by Justinian
probably with a central dome and restored in the seventh century by
Heraclius, the Magnaura was used for state receptions. Here stood the
famous throne of Solomon, described in the tenth-century sources with
its golden organs, roaring lions and singing birds 9.
Behind the Chalke the imperial guards still lived on the site of their
original quarters, with names derived from the old regiments: the
Scholai, Kandidatoi and Exkoubita. There, too, were the old baths of
Zeuxippos, now a prison 10.
Brazen House, Copenhagen, 1959, pp. 51-60; but cf. R. STICHEL, Sechs kolossale Sulen nahe der
Hagia Sophia und die Curia Justinians am Augusteion in Konstantinopel, in Architectura, Zeitschrift fr
Geschichte der Baukunst, 30 (2000), pp. 23-24.
7. About the procession to the south-west vestibule, see note 47 below; on the
reconfiguration of the south-west vestibule see P. NIEWHNER - N. TETERIATNIKOV, The South
Vestibule of St Sophia at Istanbul: The Private Door of the Patriarchate and the Imperial Entrance to the
Great Church, in Dumbarton Oaks Papers, forthcoming.
8. Portico connecting the Chalke with the Golden Well: MANGO, Brazen House cit. (note
6), pp. 76-77; entrance in eastern wall of St Sophia near Holy Well and outside staircase to
southern upper gallery: ibid., p. 65; raised passageway atop portico leading directly into southern
gallery: ibid., pp. 87-92.
9. On the Magnaura, see J. KOSTENEC, The Heart of the Empire: The Great Palace of the
Byzantine Emperors Reconsidered, in K. DARK, ed., Secular Buildings and the Archeology of Everyday
Life in the Byzantine Empire, Oxford, 2004, pp. 20-21; description of the Throne of Solomon: De
Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), II 15, pp. 566-570; automata: A. BERGER, Die akustische
Dimension des Kaiserzerimoniells. Gesang, Orgelspiel und Automaten, in BAUER, Visualisierung cit.
(note 5), 63-77.
10. For the guards quarters beside the Chalke, see e.g. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note

590

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

Just to the south of the guards quarters, we might identify the


Consistory, or old throne hall, with further substructures excavated in
the 1920s. Apparently a basilica in form, with a raised throne and
baldachin at one end, the Consistory opened onto the Tribunalion, a
court between the Zeuxippos to the north and the main buildings of
the old palace to the south. Beside the Consistory was the church of the
Lord (to Kurou), according to tradition built by Constantine I, in which
were kept antique vestments and military standards 11.
The Chalke and quarters of the guards, though not part of the lower
Palace, were neverthless more closely connected to it than the other old
buildings because of the entrance at church of the Lord to corridors
running south-east to the lower Palace. It was through these corridors
that the emperors passed on their way to and from St Sophia or the
Magnaura when they did not go in procession. Likewise, there were
other corridors connecting the lower Palace with the Hippodrome 12.
Three other buildings of the old palace mentioned in the literary
sources appear to have been placed along the southern side of the
Hippodrome.
3), II 15, pp. 578-579. Albrecht Berger has recently argued that the Chalke and guards quarters
were added to the original Palace in 498, BERGER, Byzantine Court cit. (note 5), pp. 17-18 and
Fig 5; Zeuxippos and prison of the Noumera: MANGO, Brazen House cit. (note 6), pp. 37-42.
11. In an earlier article, Grosse Palast cit. (note 5), p. 22, Fig. 1, I accepted Albrecht Bergers
thesis that the original palace of Constantine was comprised in a rectangular space on the 32m
terrace beside the Hippodrome between the Zeuxippos/Tribunalion and the court of the
Daphne (note 10 above); and thus I placed the Consistory there, at the south-eastern corner of
the Tribounalion in order to fit with the indications in the De Cerimoniis that it gave on to the
Exkoubita, the Tribounalion and the Onopodion. However, I am not sure that this is correct,
for on the evidence of the De Cerimoniis, e.g., ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 10, p. 107, 14-18, there
were stairs descending from the Tribounalion to the Consistory, showing that this latter lay on a
lower level. KOSTENEC, Heart of Empire cit. (note 9), p. 6, suggests that the Consistory may have
been added in the second half of the fifth century in the period to which Berger dates the
construction of the Chalke and the guards quarters. If so, even in keeping with Bergers thesis,
the Consistory could have been a later construction, outside the original rectangle, on the slope
descending to the 26m terraces to the south, MAMBOURY-WIEGANDs group B, Kaiserpalste cit.
(note 1). And the church of the Lord, whose bronze door one could reach by going in the doors
of the Consistory and was thus contiguous with this latter, could have lain in the area of
MAMBOURY-WIEGANDs B-e-g, with access to the long corridors running up from the lower
palace past MAMBOURY-WIEGANDs D-a, ibid., Plates 79-84. For the list of objects kept in the
church of the Lord, see De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), II 41, p. 641, 1-17.
12. E.g. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 1, pp. 34,18-35,7; II 15, pp. 566,20 - 567.
For the corridors connecting the lower Palace and the Hippodrome see note 25 below.

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

591

On the eastern end was the banqueting hall, called the Triklinos of
the 19 Couches, in reference to its furniture for dining in antique fashion.
Here we might imagine a building with nine recesses on each of the
long sides and a main apse at one end, resembling the fifth-century hall
excavated on the north side the Hippodrome. Each niche contained a table
with three couches for the invited officials, with the emperor and his
guests at a further table in the main apse 13.
To the west of the 19 Couches stood the Cubiculum, or Koiton in
Greek, the old imperial Bedchamber. We have no indication of its form
other than its location beside an Octagon, which was used as a Vestry for
ceremonies in the tenth century. The Octagon was in turn connected with
the church of St Stephen; and all these structures gave onto a court
called the Daphne, a name used also for the old palace in general 14.
To the west of the Cubiculum was the Kathisma, or imperial box
on the Hippodrome. Beneath the Kathisma was a gate giving passage
from the arena of the Hippodrome into the court of the Daphne
behind. By the ninth century this gate had replaced the Chalke as the
main access to the new palace on the lower level 15.
The Hippodrome was still used for races on a few set days in the
year. These were, however, no longer true sporting events, but had
become highly ritualised, with ostentatious display of costume and
antiquarian usages which few of the spectators would have understood.
The circus factions, once the sports clubs of late antiquity, were now
little more than chanters and dancers on the palace rolls for the
performance of ceremonial in the Hippodrome and Palace 16.
Lastly, beside the 19 Couches and giving on to the courts of the
Tribunalion and the Daphne, stood the Augustaeus, now used chiefly
13. 19 Couches: S. MALMBERG, Dazzling Dining: Banquets as an Expression of Imperial
Legitimacy, Uppsala, 2003, pp. 91-98. Dining hall beside the palace of Antiochus: J. BARDILL, The
Palace of Lausus and Nearby Monuments in Constantinople, in American Journal of Archeology, 101
(1997), pp. 67-69, 86-89 and MALMBERG, Dazzling Dining cit. (above in this note), p. 86.
14. For the Daphne, see KOSTENEC, Heart of Empire cit. (note 9), pp. 4-10.
15. For the Kathisma, see J. BARDILL, The Architecture and Archeology of the Hippodrome in
Constantinople, in Hippodrom/Atmeydani. A Stage for Istanbuls History, Istanbul, 2010 (Catalogue
of Exhibition, Pera Museum), pp. 140-145. If Bergers thesis is correct, that the Chalke was
added only in 498 (see note 11 above), the gate under the Kathisma or another behind the
Hippodrome would have been the main entrance to the Palace. For the gate under the
Kathisma in later times, see note 33 below.
16. Hippodrome: Hippodrom/Atmeydani cit. (note 15); G. DAGRON, LHippodrome de
Constantinople. Jeux, peuple et politique, Paris, 2011.

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MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

for the coronation of an empress. On its southern side the Augusteus


had a raised porch called the Golden Hand, which gave on to an open
space called the Onopodion, or Asss Foot perhaps because it was oval
in shape 17.
These then were the most important of the old buildings on the
upper level.
The expansion of the palace down to the Marmara had begun at
least in the fifth century with private villas of the imperial family 18. In
the sixth century Justinian lived with Theodora near the later church of
Sergius and Bacchus before his accession. Once emperor, Justinian
embellished his private house and connected it with the Palace 19. The
construction around 520 of the vast terrace at 26m with buildings excavated
by the Walker Trust was perhaps part of Justinians connexion between his
house lower down the slope and the Palace above 20. To this same
period can be dated the earliest phase of the Apsed Hall, which was
subsequently restructured, probably under Tiberius (578-582), when
the Great Palace Mosaics were installed in its atrium, in a new
colonnaded peristyle. However, the Walker Trust buildings appear
never to have been part of the Palace proper, but rather an extension
toward the Palace of the emperors private houses lower down the
slope 21. By the beginning of the eighth century the mosaics, which
17. J. BARDILL, IN The Great Palace of the Byzantine Emperors and the Walker Trust excavations,
in Journal of Roman Archaeology, 12 (1999), pp. 217-230, esp. 225-229, argues for the identification
of the Apsed Hall of the Walker excavations with the Augusteus, whereas KOSTENEC, Heart of
Empire cit. (note 9), pp. 15-18, identifies it with Theophiluss Karianos. In Bardills later
Visualizing the Great Palace cit. (note 5), pp. 12-15, he admits to problems with his identification
of the Augusteus, but he rejects Kostenecs proposal of the Karianos, mainly on the basis that this
latter was apparently a much smaller structure. In all descriptions of relevant ceremonies, of the
sixth as well as the tenth century, it is clear that the Augusteus lay directly beside St Stephens,
the Octagon and the 19 Couches, on the same level (32m), not on the lower level of the Walker
Trust structures.
18. See note 21 below.
19. Procopius, De Aedificiis, I iv, ed. G. WIRTH, Procopii Caesariensis opera omnia, IV, Leipzig,
1964, p. 22, 16-23: tathn gr oikan auto idan Paltion einai doken te ka prpein t megaloprepe tv
oikodomav diapraxmenov, epeid autokrtwr katsth Rwmaoiv, tov alloiv basileoiv enyen.
20. The group labelled D in MAMBOURY-WIEGAND, Kaiserpalste cit. (note 1), Plates 79-89;
TALBOT RICE, Second Report cit (note 1), pp. 1-23; BARDILL, Great Palace cit. (note 5), pp. 14-20;
BERGER, Byzantine Court cit. (note 5), p. 18.
21. A. M. SCHNEIDER, Review of the First Report, in the Appendix to TALBOT RICE, Second
Report cit. (note 1), pp. 194-198, posited that all structures on the site belonged to private

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

593

show signs of earlier repairs, were covered with a white marble flooring
and the northern colonnade was walled up rendering it a corridor beside a
court. Other buildings were constructed on the sides of the complex,
and walls were constructed dividing the space within the Apsed Hall.
Deposits of pottery and kitchen refuse show that by the end of the
eighth century some of the adjoining buildings were used for dumping
rubbish 22. It is my impression that by the tenth century the general area
of the Walker Trust buildings on the 26m terrace, together with the
complex of the Triconch-Sigma on the slope just below, was referred
to as the Apsis, or Arch 23. The sources give evidence of private houses
built in the area of the Apsis, said to be near the palace, in the ninth
century 24. In the tenth century chapters of the De Cerimoniis the Apsis is
mentioned exclusively in connexion with corridors running through it
residences, such as are listed in the First Region in the Theodosian Notitia Urbis Constantinopolitanae: Palatium Placidianum, Domus Placidiae Augustae, Domus nobilissimae Marinae, Notitia
Dignitatum, ed. O. SEECK, Berlin, 1876, p. 230, 10-13. Cf. C. MANGO, The Palace of Matina, the
Poet Pallados and the Bath of Leo VI, in Eufrsunon. Afirwma ston Manlh Catzidkh, ed. E.
KYPRAIOU, Athens, 1991, esp. pp. 321-326. Citing John of Ephesus, Cyril Mango has very
convincingly argued for the identification of the Mosaic Peristyle and Apsed Hall with
constructions of the emperor Tiberius II (574-582), C. MANGO - I. LAVIN, Review of TALBOT
RICE, Great Palace (note 3), in The Art Bulletin, 42 (1960), pp. 67-73. Excluded by the dowager
empress Sophia from the official Palace, Tiberius pulled down many buildings and restored
others on the entire northern side of the Palace (viz. north of the lower Palace), constructing also
many buildings, including a bath and a stable, on the site of a former garden; and thus he made a
magnificent palace for himself, in consolation for his exclusion from the Palace above by the
dowager Sophia: Ioannis Ephesini Historiae ecclesisaticae pars tertia, ed. E. W. BROOKS, II, Louvain,
1936 (Corpus scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium. Scriptores Syri, ser. 3, t. 3), XXIII, p.
111, 1-19.
22. BRETT et al., Great Palace cit. (note 1), pp. 4-30; TALBOT RICE, Second Report cit. (note 5),
pp. 1-51; BARDILL, Visualizing the Great Palace cit. (note 5), pp. 12-20; BERGER, Byzantine Court
cit. (note 5), p. 18.
23. For the Triconch-Sigma, see note 32 below. BARDILL, Visualizing the Great Palace cit.
(note 5), p. 16, retaining his earlier identification of the Walker Trust complex with the
Augusteus, suggests that the tropik, or arch, which figured in Theophiluss Triconch-Sigma
complex might be the origin of the name. This might make sense in some passages of the De
Cerimoniis which refer to the hemikyklion (presumably Theophiluss Sigma) of the Apsis, e. g.,
ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 23, p. 128, 18, and others which appear to connect this same with the
Triconch, ibid., p. 128, 20-21: oi to kouboukleou dcontai tn basila en t hmikuklw tv aydov,
hgoun to trikgcou; ibid., I 32, p.174,19-20: dircetai di tv Augoustwv ka aydov to trikgcou, ka
mnousin oi basilev en t aut aydi to trikgcou. But in yet other passages, the Apsis appears to be
something different from the Triconch, see note 25 below.
24. Theophanes Continuatus, ed. I. BEKKER, Bonn, 1838, pp. 139,19-147,21, relates that

594

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

which joined the lower Palace with other places 25. Finally, remains of
minting activity have been found in a twelfth-century layer of a
building beside the peristyle, perhaps marking the location of the
imperial mint, known to have been somewhere along the way from the
gate under the Kathisma to the church of the Pharos 26.
Justinians successor, Justin, also had a private house on the lower
level, near the harbour of Julian/Sophia, and it was Justin who constructed
on the lower level the Chrysotriklinos, or Golden Hall, which was to
replace the Consistory as throne hall of the empire 27. An octagon,
similar in form to the nearby church of Sergius and Bacchus or San
Vitale in Ravenna and perhaps a model for Charlemagnes chapel in
Aachen , the Chrysotriklinos was the interface between the private
Theoktistos, regent for Michael III, built for himself in the Apsis a house with a bath and an iron
gate, before which he posted a guard.
25. For example, on the way from the Chrysotriklinos to the church of the Lord (and
further, to the quarters of the guards and St Sophia or the Magnaura), one went through the
corridors of the 40 Martyrs and the Triconch-Sigma, De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 30,
p. 169, 3-8 and II 15, p. 567, 1-8; on the way from the Chrysotriklinos to the Augusteus, one
went through the hemikyklion of the Triconch, the Apsis (NB the two latter were not the same!)
and the Daphne, ibid., I 35, p. 180, 14-21: o d basilev... dircetai ent hmikuklw tv mustikv filhv to
sin eukthroiv khra;
trikgcou, ka eiq outwv dircetai... di te tv aydov ka tv dfnhv, aptwn entov ekese ou
and on the way from the Chrysotriklinos to the Hippodrome, one went through the corridors
of the 40 Martyrs, the hemikyklion of the Triconch, the Apsis and the Daphne, ibid., I 68, p. 304,
5-9 and 18-20 (again, the Apsis and the Triconch are separate). All this, together with the
examples in note 23 above, would suggest that Apsis was a general notion for the area of both
the Walker Trust buildings and the Triconch-Sigma.
26. Minting refuse: BRETT et al., Second Report cit. (note 1), pp. 25-26; description of the
Nikolaos Messarites meeting the escaping workers of the mint (during the revolt of John
Comnenus in 1200) on his way to the Pharos: A. HEISENBERG, Nikolaos Messarites. Die
Palastrevolution des Johannes Komnenos, Wrzburg, 1907 (Programm des k. alten Gymnasiums zu
Wrzburg fr 1906/1907), pp. 25,31-27,3, esp. 26, 25-29.
27. Suidae Lexicon, ed. A. ADLER, IV, Leipzig, 1971, p. 646, 8; Symeonis Magistri et Logothetae
Chronicon, ed. S. WAHLGREN, Berlin-New York, 2006, p.105, 3 (and apparatus) and p. 145, 12.
John of Ephesus, Historiae cit. (note 21), XXIV, p. 111, 24-29, says that Justin desired to make
another of his estates, at Deuteron (just outside the Constantinian land walls), into a palace. He
destroyed many preexisting buildings and constructed others, including a hippodrome and
pleasure gardens with bronze statues. Similarly, one wonders whether the construction of the
Chrysotriklinos could not have been part of a plan by Justin to make his estate by the Sophia
harbour into a palace-perhaps already with a view to replacing the old Palace above. However,
it was probably not until the construction under Justinian II of the Ioustinianos and Lausiakos,
the assembly halls beside the Chrysotriklinos, that the official functions of the court could be
shifted there definitively (note 29 below).

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

595

and public parts of the new Palace, that is, between the Koiton, or
imperial Bedchamber on its southern side and, on its northern side, the
halls of assembly and Offices of administration. Like the old Consistory,
the Chrysotriklinos had a raised throne in an apse on its central eastern
side. An outside corridor, with connecting vaults on the other seven
sides, opened through arches into the central space under a dome with
sixteen windows. These arches were closed with curtains; and the
divided curtains before the entrance in the central western vault were
drawn aside to admit officials into the presence of the emperor sitting in
the eastern apse 28.
Two halls of assembly, the Lausiakos and the Ioustinianos, were
built beside the Chrysotriklinos under Justinian II in the late-seventh
century. The southern doors of the Lausiakos opened onto the western
porch of the Chrysotriklinos, called the Horologion (probably a sundial).
The Lausiakos contained a chapel and also kitchens, and its northern
side connected with the Ioustinianos and with the Offices of the
imperial administration. The Ioustinianos opened on its southern side
towards the Lausiakos, and on its northern side it had a semicircular
porch, called the Skyla, or Trophies perhaps referring to prows from
naval victories. The gate of the Skyla was the northernmost boundary of
the palace. It opened into the so-called Covered Hippodrome, probably
the hippodrome of a former private villa that of Priscus on his estate in
the quarter of Boraides? which had been roofed over and converted
into a vestibule of the lower Palace 29. Here imperial officials, coming
28. J. M. FEATHERSTONE, The Chrysotriklinos as Seen through De Cerimoniis, in: L. HOFFMANN
ed., Zwischen Polis, Provinz und Peripherie. Beitrge zur byzantinischen Kulturgeschichte, Wiesbaden,
2005 (Mainzer Verffentlichungen zur Byzantinistik 7), pp. 845-852. NB the sketch map on p.
840 is incorrect in showing the Ioustinianos as extending down to the Chrysotriklinos; for a
corrected version see Fig. 3 of the present article.
29. Construction of the Lausiakos and Ioustinianos: Patria III, 130, ed. T. PREGER, Scriptores
originum Constantinopolitanarum, II, Leipzig 1907, p. 257, 1-2. As others, e.g. KOSTENEC, Heart of
Empire cit. (note 9), 11-13, I formerly believed that the Covered Hippodrome was part of the
old upper Palace, a rectangular garden similar to the so-called Stadio on the Palatine in Rome.
However, it seems more likely that it was a real hippodrome of a private estate outside the
boundaries of the old Palace which was subsequently roofed over and made into a vestibule of
the new lower Palace. We have already mentioned the private houses of the Theodosian
dynasty which are known to have been in the in the First Region (note 21). And there is also
evidence for private hippodromes in the city, for example on the estate of Hierius called
Koparia at Sykai, Corpus iuris civilis, ed. W. KROLL - R. SCHLL, III, Berlin, 1895 (reprint 1968),
Novella 159, p. 738,11; on the estate of Justin II at Deuteron, Iohannis Ephesini Historiae, ed.
Brooks cit. (note 21), cap. XXIV, p. 111, 24-29; and most importantly, in the time of Heracliuss

596

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

from the city through the gate under the Kathisma and the court of the
Daphne, waited each day for the opening of the Palace. Entering at the
Skyla they proceeded to the Ioustinianos and Lausiakos, taking their
places by rank on benches along the side walls 30.
This assembly of officials in the Ioustinianos and Lausiakos was
called the daily procession, the Byzantine successor of the Roman
Salutatio, one of the Cottidiana Officia, or daily duties of imperial
officials 31.
Now, in the ninth century the Chrysotriklinos was some 300 years
old, and the emperor Theophilus constructed a grand complex (marked
in Fig. 2) centred on a Triconch and semicircular portico called the
Sigma on higher ground north-east of the Chrysotriklinos, together with
a number of pavilion-like lodgings after the fashion of residences of the
Abbasid rulers of Baghdad, with whom Theophilus had close contacts.
Theophilus so loved these buildings that he held all daily functions there
instead of in the Chrysotriklinos 32.
Although very keen on ceremonial and the repair of old vestments,
Theophilus appears to have had no interest in the old upper palace.
defeat of Phocas, on the estate of Priscus which had belonged to Justinians cousin Boraides
near modern Yenikapi and thus in the area of the lower palace, Joannis Antiocheni fragmenta ex
historia chronica, ed. U. Roberto, Berlin-New York, 2005 (Texte und Untersuchungen zur
Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, 154), Fragmentum 321, p. 552, 21-23 (excluded as
spurious from Joannis Antiocheni fragmenta quae supersunt omnia, ed., S. MARIEV, Berlin, 2008
[Corpus Fontium historiae Byzantinae. Series Berolinensis, 47], pp. 7*-8* and 599). One
wonders whether this could not have been the Covered Hippodrome itself.
30. See note 39 below.
31. About the Salutatio see A. WINTERLING, Aula Caesaris. Studien zur Institutionalisierung des
rmischen Kaiserhofs in der Zeit von Augustus bis Commodus, Munich, 1999, pp. 117-138; C.
ROLLINGER, En Theo pistos basileus Kaiserpalast und Kaiserzeremoniell im Grossen Palast zu
Konstantinopel (Universitt Trier, Fachbereich III / Kunstgeschichte, Wintersemester
2006/2007, Hauptseminar Zeremoniell und Raum ), Trier, 2007, p. 13.
32. For the buildings of Theophilus, see Theophanes Continuatus, ed. BEKKER cit. (note 23),
pp. 139,17 - 147,1; possible Abbasid parallels: J. SIGNES, The Emperor Theophilus and the East,
829-842. Court and Frontier in Byzantium during the Last Phase of Iconoclasm (Birmingham
Byzantine and Ottoman Studies, 13), Ashgate, 2014, pp. 446-451; Abbasid inspiration in palace
furniture: M. ANGAR, Furniture and Imperial Ceremony in the Great Palace: Revisiting the
pentapyrgion, in J. M. FEATHERSTONE - J.-M. SPIESER - U. WULF-RHEIDT, ed., The Emperors
House: Palaces from Augustus to the Age of Absolutism, Berlin (Urban Spaces 3), forthcoming; daily
procession in Triconch-Sigma: Theophanes Continuatus, ed. BEKKER cit. (note 23), p. 142, 20-22.
Theophilus so loved his new constructions that he took up residence in them (shifting from one
to another according to the season) and abandoned the Bedchamber (Koiton) beside the
Chrysotriklinos, ibid., p. 144, 5-11.

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

597

Even on such a great occasion as his triumph for the capture of Tarsus in
the year 831, though he made a ceremonial stop in front of the Chalke
Gate, he did not go in. Instead, he rode to the Hippodrome and entered
the gate under the Kathisma, going through the court of the Daphne to
the lower Palace 33.
Finally, toward the end of the ninth century, Basil I, founder of the
Macedonian dynasty, added major new buildings on the lower level:
the New Hall (Kainourgios) of the imperial Bedchamber beside the
Chrysotriklinos, and the large, five-domed Nea or New Church. 34
The name new in the case of the Kainourgios surely emphasises a
renewal of the Palace, and in the case of the Nea Church a supplement
if not replacement of St Sophia.
Thus, by the ninth century the old and the new buildings of the Great
Palace had ceased to be a functioning whole. However, the vision of
modern scholars has been blurred by the antiquarianism of the literary
sources of the Macedonian period, in particular the Banquet Book of
Philotheos and the De Cerimoniis, sponsored by Basils son Leo VI and
his grandson Constantine VII respectively 35. These texts are not simply,
as they pretend, compendia codifying old confused ceremonies, but
instruments of idealogical manipulation.
The Macedonians had seised power from the Amorian dynasty in
867 through Basils murder of Michael III, son of Theophilus. To justify
this coup, Basil and his offspring pursued a programme of cultural
propaganda what used to be called the Macedonian Renaissance in
order to demonstrate their restoration of what they imagined to be old
Roman, that is, Constantinian, traditions. The Macedonians predecessors,
the Iconoclast Amorians, were branded not only as heretics but also
barbarians, who had adopted foreign ways. Perhaps the best known
products of this renaissance are the illuminated manuscripts after
late-antique models 36.
33. J. HALDON, Constantine Porphyrogenitus. Three treatises on imperial military expeditions,
Vienna, 1990, Appendix C, pp. 146,825 - 150,873.
34. Buildings of Basil: Chronographiae quae Theophanis Continuati nomine fertur Liber quo Vita
Basilii Imperatoris amplectitur, ed. I. SEVCENKO, Berlin-New York, 2011 (Corpus Fontium
Historiae Byzantinae, 42/2), 83.1 - 86.27, pp. 272-280 and 89.1-82, pp. 288-294.
35. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3); Philotheos: N. OIKONOMIDES, Les Listes de prsance
byzantines des IXe et Xe sicles, Paris, 1972, pp. 81-235
36. E.g. the Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus in Parisinus graecus 510 (X s.), f. 440, with
scenes of the life of Constantine I. On the Macedonian Renaissance, see most recently: L.

598

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

We have already mentioned the mosaic with Constantine and


Justinian in the vestibule of St Sophia; and in the church of the Holy
Apostles the Macedonians re-opened Constantines mausoleum
having removed marble from that of Justinian for Basil Is building
projects in order to bury their family with the founder of the city.
And so also did they reinvent ceremonial in Constantines old palace 37.
But before discussing this revival of the old palace, let us visit the
new Palace on a normal day in the tenth century as prescribed in the De
Cerimoniis.
After the dismissal of Matins in the Lausiakos the commander of the
guards, together with the Palace doorkeeper, or papias a Sassanian
word put on their tunics of coloured silk, called skaramangia again, a
Sassanian word and then go with their men to open the Palace at the
gate of the Skyla. The guards are left to sit there, whilst their commander
returns to take his place on the bench in the Lausiakos, and the papias
sets his keys on the bench in front of his quarters in the Chrysotriklinos.
The imperial chamberlains then place the emperors skaramangion on
the bench outside the silver doors of the Bedchamber 38.
Meanwhile, the highest imperial officials, the magistroi and the
praipositos, together with the master of ceremonies, wait in the Covered
Hippodrome to receive the obeisance of the other officials entering the
palace at the Skyla. The silentiarioi also stand by, holding their rods to
remind all of the rule of absolute silence within the Palace. Once the
officials have taken their places on the benches in the Ioustinianos and
Lausiakos, the magistroi, the praipositos and master of ceremonies pass
through, whilst everyone rises 39.
BEVILACQUA, Arte e aristocrazia a Bisanzio nellet dei Macedoni. Costantinopoli, la Grecia e lAsia
Minore [Million. Studi e ricerche darte bizantina, 9], Roma, 2013.
37. List of the imperial tombs in Constantines mausoleum: De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit.
(note 3), II 43, p. 643,4-20, cf. N. ASUTAY - A. EFFENBERGER, Die Porphyrsarkophage der
ostrmischen Kaiser. Versuch einer Bestanderfassung, Zeitbestimmung und Zuordnung, Wiesbaden,
2006, pp. 120-127. Tellingly, the revived practice of burial in Constantines mausoleum ended
with the last male descendant of Basil I, Constantine VIII (ob. 1028), brother of Basil II (who
had been buried at Hebdomon by his own wish). Just as the Comnenians left the Great Palace
and resided mostly at Blachernae, so they abandoned the Holy Apostles and had themselves
buried in monastic foundations of their own patronage: A. CARILE, Funerali e sepolture imperiali a
Costantinopoli fra realt e leggenda, in Na Rmh. Rivista di richerche bizantinistiche, 9 (2012), pp. 46-57;
C. RAPP, Death at the Byzantine Court: The Emperor and his Family, in: K.-H. SPIESS - I. WARNTJES,
ed., Death at Court, Wiesbaden, 2012, pp. 273-286.
38. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), II 1, pp. 518,1 - 519,12.
39. The details in this paragraph are absent from the the description of the daily procession

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

599

When the first hour of day has passed, the chief steward goes to the
silver doors of the Bedchamber and, raising the bolt, strikes three times.
At the emperors command, the attendants bring in the skaramangion
from the bench outside the doors. The emperor puts it on and goes out
into the apse of the Chrysotriklinos, beneath the divine-human image
of the Lord; and reciting prayers and bowing down, he offers reverence
as a servant unto God. Then he sits on the golden seat sellion, from the
Latin sella which is placed there, and he commands the papias, who is
standing before the curtains of the western doors, to admit the logothete1
a sort of foreign minister.
The papias goes out into the Lausiakos, where the manglavitae,
or strap-bearers are standing, and tells the admensounalios - a sort of
seneschal to bring in the logothete. The admensounalios goes out
to the Offices apparently on the eastern side of the Lausiakos and
brings in the logothete, walking before him. When the logothete
comes in through the curtain of the Chrysotriklinos, he falls down in
obeisance and then approaches the emperor.
Note that if the logothete goes out and comes in again, he does
not do obeisance a second time. This same rule is observed for all.
Note that the golden seat on which the emperor sits is set up in
the apse on the right side of the imperial throne; and if there should
be other emperors, their seats are placed beneath the apse.
Note that if there be no pressing business, the dismissal minsai,
from Late Latin missa is given after the third hour. Taking his keys
from the bench, the papias shakes them as he comes out, so all might
know that the dismissal is given.
Note that on ordinary days the emperor sits on the golden seat
which is set up on the right side of the throne, wearing only a skaramangion;
but on Sundays he sits, vested also in a gold-bordered cloak, on the seat
covered with purple silk which is set up on the left side of the throne.
Note that if the emperor wish that certain foreigners should present
themselves, he sits on this same left side of the throne, vested with the
gold-bordered cloak; and the chamberlains stand by.
in the De Cerimoniis, but they can be inferred from another chapter, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 97,
pp. 441,21 - 442,21, on the promotion the proedros, or president of the Senate, which speaks also
of this officials daily routine (en tav koinav hmraiv). Composed and added to the De Cerimoniis by
Basil the Nothos, this chapter reflects usages in the 960s, cf. FEATHERSTONE, Basil the Nothos cit.
(note 3), p. 356.

600

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

Likewise, if the emperor wish to meet Saracen rulers in privacy, he


sees them in this same manner.
Note that a high official or general, whether he be on expedition or
imperial service or on private business, appears before the emperor
without his cloak, wearing only a skaramangion 40.
So is the procedure on week-days. On ordinary Sundays, after the
liturgy (St Basils chapel) in the Lausiakos, if the emperor so commands,
there is a Sunday procession. Again, the various officials take their places
on the benches. However, on Sunday there is no state business, but
only the ceremonial entrance of certain high officials.
Thereafter the artoklines, or banquet-master calls out the names of
those invited to dine with the emperor, and the papias goes out shaking
his keys for the dismissal. A banquet follows in the Chrysotriklinos for
those invited, whilst the others go to their homes 41.
The Chrysotriklinos and adjoining Ioustinianos were the venue for
nearly all imperial banquets. The emperor sat with his family and select
guests at a separate table, the apokopt, whilst the other guests were
placed at other tables according to their rank. On festive occasions,
organs announced the courses, and choristers positioned in side vaults
accompanied the meals. The Circus factions might also perform a ballet 42.
Like the late-Roman Salutatio, the daily procession was a manifestation
of power: a reminder to everyone of the emperors absolute authority.
According to the De Cerimoniis the ritual of the palace imitated the
Creators harmony in the universe. Awareness of a higher order was
assured by the enforced silence and rigid protocol. Every mans rank in
the world order was kept clear by the degree of his physical distance
from the emperor 43.
A sort of lower register in the Palacess imitation of the universal
harmony, the everyday procession was not focused on the emperors
semi-divine nature, but on his service to God and, in turn, his subjects
service to him. Just as the emperor bowed before the image of Christ, so
everyone bowed before the emperor; however, for expediency, only at
40. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), II 1, pp. 519,13 - 522,18.
41. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), II 2, pp. 522,20 - 525,15.
42. E. g. the banquet for Tarsiote envoys in 946: De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), II
15, pp. 584,22 - 586,10 and for Olga of Rus: ibid., pp. 596,20 - 597,16.
43. WINTERLING, Aula Caesaris cit. (note 31), pp. 117-144; Creators harmony: De Cerimoniis,
ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I Preface, p. 5, 8-10.

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

601

the first meeting each day. Dress was kept to a minimum: a simple
skaramangion for everyone; though, of course, the emperor was never
upstaged: junior emperors sat on a lower level, and everyone else
remained standing.
For greater effect in the presence of foreign dignitaries, the emperor
wore a cloak with the crown, and the chamberlains stood by. Exceptional
though this was, the register remained that of daily affairs, with the
emperor sitting on a simple seat to one side, whilst the empty throne in
the centre of the apse represented Gods supreme authority.
However, for official functions, such as the promotion of imperial
officials, the emperor sat with his crown on the throne itself, surrounded
by the chamberlains. The papias censed the emperor with the thurible;
and then the assembly of imperial officials what the Byzantines called
the Senate , was admitted by rank in eight entres, called curtains in
reference to the curtain being drawn aside each time for their entry.
Straightway they fell down in obeisance to the emperor and stood in
their place in accordance with their rank; and thereupon the candidate
was promoted to his office under the gaze of all 44.
Here we enter the higher, sacral register of palace ceremonial, for
which, in the ceremonial protocol of the Macedonian period, the
Chrysotriklinos and its dependencies the Palace proper at the time
did not suffice 45. For instance, according to the De Cerimoniis the act of
promotion of a patrikios takes place in the Chrysoriklinos; but then he is
escorted by the circus factions through the old palace: first to St
Stephens church and the Consistory to light candles presumably in
the church of the Lord and then, through the guards quarters and the
Chalke and the portico, to the Holy Well and St Sophia for communion
with the patriarch 46.
44. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 48, pp. 244,4 - 249,20.
45. The preface to Book I of the De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), p. 5, 6-8, speaks of
the orderly ceremonial of the palace as a representation of the harmony and movement of the
creator. Concerning the origins and development of this sacral register; cf. M.-C. CARILE,
Imperial palaces and heavenly Jerusalems: Real and ideal palaces in Late Antiquity, in: Mmeze
Ieorpjkz Ieoqhqh h himlmcosh piojblzt nompqolpqb, ed. A. M. LIDOV, Moscow,
2009, pp. 97-101.
46. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 48, pp. 249,10 - 251,14. The second, apparently
separate, text of this chapter subtitled Acclamations of the factions on the promotion of a
patrikios describes the same itinerary taken by the patrikios after the ceremony in the

602

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

Likewise, on solemn occasions the emperor went up to the old


palace or to St Sophia, with intricate variations of itinerary.
On his way to coronation in St Sophia the emperor goes in procession:
first to the Augusteus for robing; then through the open space of the
Onopodion escorted by the chamberlains to receive the obeisance of
the patricians; then to the Consistory, to stand under the baldachin and
receive the obeissance and wishes of long life of the assembled senate
this by way of secular coronation. Next he goes in procession across the
Augustaion and enters through the south-west vestibule of St Sophia for
ecclesiastical crowning on the ambo by the patriarch, followed by a
second acclamation by the officials of the gathered officials 47.
Grandest of all are the processions for Easter and Christmas, when
the emperor is escorted by the praipositos and the silentiarioi with their
jewel-bedecked rods through the old buildings where officials and
courtiers are positioned, wearing their particular vestments and holding
objects related to their function. For example, at the Augusteus stand
the nipsistiarioi, or bath attendants, with their gold basins and ewers; in
the Onopodion, the drouggarios of the Watch with the spatharioi
holding the imperial weapons; in the Exkoubita, the guards with their
antique standards and sceptres which will accompany the emperors
thenceforth. Other antique artefacts and relics are placed at the stations
along the way of the procession where the emperor is received by the
various officials, as in the Consistory, where the great (processional)
cross of Constantine and the rod of Moses are held upright before the
emperor standing under the baldachin. On Easter Sunday the magistroi,
proconsuls and patrikioi are permitted to wear the consular loros together
with the emperors 48.
Chrysotriklinos, but with more detail, including also the texts chanted by the Blues and Greens
at various stops along the way, ibid., pp. 251,15 - 255,8.
47. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 38, pp. 191,22 - 193,22. The description here of
the path taken to St Sophia is brief (ibid., p. 192, 16-20), but it is clear that the the same
procedure is followed as for processions on Christmas and Easter: the emperor crosses the
Augustaion in procession to the Horologion, at the south-western corner of St Sophia, enters
the Beautiful Door into the south-western vestibule for vesting in the metatorion behind the
curtain, and then enters the narthex and proceeds with the patriarch into the nave, cf. ibid., I1,
pp. 13,23 - 14,18; note 46 above; MANGO, Brazen House cit. (note 6), pp. 73-76.
48. Processions: De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I1, pp. 5,13 - 14,13; loros: ibid., II 40,
pp. 637,14 - 639,19. The magistroi and other high officials were also permitted to wear the loros,
for the sake of display, at the reception of the Tarsiote legates in 946, ibid., II 15, pp. 574, 6-7
and 591, 2-4.

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

603

Perhaps most remarkable of all ceremonies are the banquets reclining in


antique style in the 19 Couches at Christmastide, as described by
Philotheos, to which the various ranks of imperial and ecclesiastical
officials are invited in turn 49. The lying in state of a deceased emperor
also takes place in the 19 Couches, after which the funeral procession
goes out the Chalke through the city to the Church of the Holy Apostles
for burial in the mausoleum of Constantine 50.
But can we really be sure that all these precious ceremonies in their
overwhelming detail which often differs between Philotheoss Banquet
Book and the De Cerimoniis had indeed come down by continuous
tradition? The prefaces to both works speak of restoring order to confused
ceremonies 51, but in the text we find many notes stating that in current
practice many ceremonies described here as being performed in the old
buildings in fact take place in the new palace. For instance, the marriage
of an emperor is no longer celebrated in the old St Stephens, but in the
church of the Virgin of the Pharos beside the Chrysotriklinos which
had become the palatine chapel par excellence 52.
Indeed, we might well suspect that most of the ceremonies in the old
palace in the tenth-century chapters of the De Cerimoniis are reinventions
by the Macedonians based on protocols that had gone out of use, just as
the pretorian prefect, who is listed as a participant in some of them, had
long ceased to exist 53.
The Typikon of the Great Church, our main source for the liturgy
of St Sophia in the ninth and tenth century, makes no mention of
processions in any palace; and the principal manuscripts mention the
49. OIKONOMIDES, Listes de prssance cit. (note 34), pp. 166-189.
50. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 60, pp. 275,14 - 276,24.
51. OIKONOMIDES, Listes de prsance cit. (note 34), pp. 81,1 - 85,26; De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE
cit. (note 3), I Preface, pp. 4,2 - 5,11, II Preface, p. 516, 1-11.
52. De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), I 39, pp. 201,19 - 202,3. The church of the Pharos
is first mentioned in the sources as the venue of the wedding of Leo IV and Irene in 768:
Theophanis Chronographia, ed. C. DE BOOR I, Leipzig 1883, p. 414
53. Uparcov tn praitwrwn (sic): De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3) I 9, p. 61,15; cf. De
Cerimoniis, ibid., I 68, p. 306,11 (on the Golden Hippodrome), where the uparcov to praitwrou
(sic) is also impossibly present. G. DAGRON, Lorganisation et le droulement des courses daprs le
Livre des Crmonies, in Travaux et Mmoires, 13 (2000), p. 14, n. 31, argues that to praitwrou
(and thus also tn praitwrwn) is an addition of the scribe, and he sees here the city prefect. But can
we really accept the assumption of an addition, made twice, with the variation to praitwrou/tn
praitwrwn)?

604

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

emperors participation in St Sophia only once in the year, on Easter


Saturday 54. It is only in a later manuscript that we find mention of his
presence also at Christmas and Epiphany 55. Indeed, the very few mentions
there are of the emperor in the Typikon refer to him celebrating in
churches elsewhere, including the palace 56.
Despite the lengthy descriptions of ceremonies in chapels of the old
palace and St Sophia in the De Cerimoniis, and the Christmastide
banquets in the 19 Couches in Philotheos, in both these texts the
emperors attend church most often in chapels on the lower level; and
the evidence of the Typikon would suggest that before the Macedonian
recodification of ceremonial the emperor had ceased going to St Sophia
altogether, except on the feasts of Easter and Christmas 57.
As to the old palace, there is some numismatic evidence for the
continuance of banquets in the 19 Couches in the eighth century 58. But
in the ninth century there is no mention of the 19 Couches until a
wedding banquet held there by Leo VI in 882. Further, we know that
Constantine VII restored the roof, saving the building from a state of
collapse 59. The coincidence of Leos banquet and this restoration with
54. Thus in Patmiacus 266 (IX s.) and Parisinus graecus 1590 (XI s.): J. MATEOS, Le Typikon
de la Grande Eglise, II (Orientalia Christiana Analecta, 166) Rome, 1963, II, p. 84, 3-4.
55. In Bodleian Auctarium E 5 10 (XIV s.): for Christmas, see J. MATEOS, Le Typikon de la
Grande Eglise, I (Orientalia Christiana Analecta,165) Rome, 1962, p. 156, apparatus to l. 18;
Epiphany: ibid., p. 186, apparatus to l. 19.
56. For example, on the feast of St Elijah in the Nea Church (of which Elijah was one of the
patron saints): MATEOS, Typikon I cit. (note 53), p. 296,12; on the Thursday after Easter in the
chapel of St John en t palatw, ibid., p. 102, 27-28.
57. For example, the ordinary Sunday liturgy celebrated in the (chapel of St Basil) in the
Lausiakos, De Cerimoniis, ed. Reiske cit. (note 3), II 2, p. 523, 5-6; on the feast of St Basil (1
January): liturgy in the church of the Pharos, ibid., I 24, p. 137, 5-12, followed by a litany to St
Basils chapel in the Lausiakos, ibid., p. 137, 12-16, followed, in the third indiction (viz.
899/900, 929/930 or 944/45), by a reception in the Magnaura, ibid., pp. 137,16 - 139,20; on
Holy (Maundy) Thursday: liturgy in the church of the Pharos, ibid., I 33, p. 177, 18-20; there
again on the Thursday after Easter, ibid., I 14, p. 94, 21-23; and again on the feast of the
Annunciation (25 March), in Philotheos, OIKONOMIDES, Listes de prsance cit. (note 34), p. 199,
25-28.
58. S. BENDELL - J. NESBIT, A Poor Token from the reign of Constantine V, in Byzantion, 60
(1990), p. 433, cited by M.-F. AUZEPY, The Great Palace and the Iconoclast Emperors, in: NECIPOGLU
et al., Byzantine Court cit (note 5), p. 77.
59. Wedding banquet of Leo VI: Logothetae chronicon, ed. WAHLGREN cit. (note 27), p. 132,
22; restoration of roof of the 19 Couches under Constantine VII: Theophanes Continuatus, ed.
BEKKER cit. (note 24), pp. 449,17 - 450,3

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

605

the recodification of ceremonies in the tenth century casts doubt on the


continuous tradition of these banquets. Further, if the processions
through the old palace with chants for the various church feasts as
described in the De Cerimoniis had been practised continuously, we
should expect to find some mention of them in the Typikon. But there
is none.
Finally, whether continued or revived, we must ask ourselves whether
all the ceremonies in Philotheos and the De Cerimoniis could really have
been performed in all their elaborate detail every year. The vanished
pretorian prefect certainly did not take part ; and if the emperor and
court did, they would have had little time to do anything else. It is more
likely that this precious ceremonial was reserved for exceptional occasions.
Perhaps the most reliable tenth-century chapter of the De Cerimoniis
on the old palace is that containing actual protocols of receptions held
for foreign envoys. Here we see things as they were : with the old buildings
as backdrop in a show of antique costume, decorations, artefacts, chants,
dances, even chariot races, jumbled together from prescriptions for
various feasts all this, quote, for the sake of display (di endeixin). Even
St Sophia was brought into play, with Saracen envoys from Tarsus in
946 admitted to the upper galleries to view an exhibit of sacred artefacts
and liturgical equipment. And in 957 the Russian Princess Olga was
granted apparently in return for her baptism an imperial dignity and
received the obeisance of the wives of imperial officials. Olga was lodged in
the Palace, and she took part with the imperial family in the intimate
dessert on the feast of the Brumalia 60.
Smashing as all this sounds, we must not overindulge in fantasies of
late antiquity. The reality lies in the tenth century. For although
elements of the old palace had survived, noted with antiquarian zeal in
Philotheos and the De Cerimoniis, the old buildings original use and the
very name of one so important as the Consistory had been generally
forgotten, as is clear in the protocols of receptions for foreign envoys 61.
The topography of the old and even the new Palace had changed.
60. For display: De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), II 15, p. 584,7; p. 590,11; p. 591,
1-3; exhibition in gallery of St Sophia: ibid., pp. 591,16 - 592,1; Olgas visit: ibid., pp. 594,15 598,12, cf. most recently, C. ANGELIDI, Designing receptions in the Palace (De Cerimoniis 2.15), in
A. BEIHAMMER - S. CONSTANTINOU - M. PARANI, ed. Court Ceremonies and Rituals of Power in
Byzantium and the Medieval Mediterranean, Leiden-Boston, 2013, pp. 471-472.
61. In De Cerimoniis, II 15 the name of the Consistory is never used, but the building is

606

MICHAEL FEATHERSTONE

Some of the monumental open spaces of the old palace are still mentioned,
but we do not know to what extent they were reduced or altered 62.
The Arab historian Harun ibn-Yahya, who was prisoner in Constantinople in the tenth century, describes processions from the gate of the
Palace to St Sophia as going through the centre of the city. By Palace
here, Yahya must mean the lower palace; and thus, that which he calls
the centre of the city can only be the area of the old palace. Despite
Yahyas exaggerations of the number of participants, his description of
walls covered with precious fabrics corresponds with descriptions in the
De Cerimoniis of the old buildings being hung and passages blocked off
with textiles perhaps to hide their delapidated state 63. This, then,
always referred to as the triklinos where the baldachin hangs and the magistroi are promoted:
De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), II 15, pp. 573,8-9, 578,1314, 584,11-12, 595,6-7).
62. For example, the Delphax, which figures beside the Augusteus in the chapters appended
from the sixth-century author Peter the Patrician disappears completely in the tenth-century
chapters of the De Cerimoniis. The Delphax cannot have been the same as the Tribounalion,
which also bordered on the Augusteus, for both are mentioned as separate places in chapter I 92
(on the coronation of Anastasius): the Delphax, De Cerimoniis, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), p. 421,
18, and the Tribounalion, ibid., p. 423, 19. The Onopous/-odion, which is not mentioned in
Peter the Patrician but only in the tenth-century chapters of the De Cerimoniis, is the likely
successor of the Delphax, though one can only wonder at the metamorphosis of a piglet into an
asss foot.
63. Ibn-Yahya in Ibn-Rusteh, Les Atours prcieux, traduction G. WIET, Cairo, 1955, p. 139:
Depuis la porte du Palais jusqu lglise affecte au peuple, sur lordre de lempereur, on
couvre de nattes, sur la route, les rues du centre de la ville... Sur tout le parcours, les murs sont
tendus, droite et gauche, de brocart . Yahyas description of the procession continues with
10.000 old men vested in red brocade, 10.000 youths in white brocade, 10.000 pages in green
brocade, 10.000 valets in blue brocade carrying double-headed gilded axes, 5.000 middle-aged
eunuchs, 10.000 Turkish and Khazarian pages in striped coats, 100 patricians of high rank in
multicoloured brocade holding thuribles with which they cense the people, and 100 pages in
bright costumes studded with pearls. Earlier Yahya names three gates in the walls surrounding
the Palace, ibid., p. 135: the gate of the Hippodrome, the gate of the Mankana (presumably the
Chalke), and the gate at the Sea (presumable at the Bucoleon). Yahya describes the gate of the
Hippodrome as giving onto a corridor, 100m long and 50m wide, bordered on both sides with
platforms covered with brocades and fleeces and cushions, where christened blackamoors have
their places, brandishing gilded shields and lances . This gate is surely that of the Skyla, and the
wide corridor into which it opens would be the Covered Hippodrome. This must be the gate
of the Palace of which Yahya speaks in his description of the procession to St Sophia. Thus, the
centre of the city, through whose lanes the procession passes, with walls on either side hung
with fabrics, can only mean the area of the old Palace, the usual itinerary for processions to St
Sophia: Covered Hippodrome - Daphne - Augusteus - Tribunalion - Consistory - Exkoubita Kandidatoi - Scholai - Chalke - Augustaion - St Sophia, cf. above note 46; for textile hangings:

SPACE AND CEREMONY IN THE GREAT PALACE

607

suggests Mediaeval crowding rather than late-antique monumentality.


But still, the Macedonians did their best; and Yahyas exuberant exaggeration no less than Luitprands apparent envy 64 show that the effect
was striking.
But in 969, with obvious disdain for the old palace, the soldier
emperor Nicephorus Phokas, who had married the dowager Theophano,
mother of the emperor Basil II, built walls around the lower palace 65,
cutting it off from the old buildings and destroying not a few of them in
the process. The later historian Skylitzes remarks that this conversion of
the palace into a fortress a Mediaeval castle we might call it was the
most unpopular act of Phokass reign. Ironically, just after the
completion of these walls of defence, Phokas was murdered in the
Palace by Theophano and her lover John Tzimiskes 66. Basil II, his
brother Constantine VIII and his daughters Zoe and Theodora, the last
of the Macedonians, are not known to have undertaken any works in
the Great Palace; and the emperors of the following dynasty, the
Comnenians, appear to have resided mainly in another palace, at
Blachernai on the land walls, about which Ruth Macrides writes in the
present volume.
De Cerimoniis, II 15, ed. REISKE cit. (note 3), pp. 572,1 - 573,17. In the version of Yahyas text
published by J.-C. DUCENE, Une deuxime version de la relation dHarun ibn Yahya sur
Constantinople, in Der Islam, 82 (2005), pp. 247-248, the description of the procession to is less
detailed, but gives the same impression of the space between the palace and St Sophia. The gate
of the Mankana (Chalke) cannot be meant here as the starting point of the procession because,
regardless of Yahyas exaggerations, the itinerary he describes through lanes bordered on both
sides by walls could hardly refer to the short distance through the Regia and the Augustaion.
64. For example, in his description of a procession by Nicephorus Phokas: Luitprandi
Cremoniensis, Antapodosis; Homelia paschalis; Historia Ottonis; Pelatio de legatione Constantinopolitana, ed.
P. CHIESA, Turnhout, 1996 (Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio Mediaevalis, 156), Relatio de
legatione, VIII-X, pp. 190-191.
65. Marked in half-broken lines in Fig. 2, following C. MANGO, The Palace of the Bucoleon, in
Cahiers archologiques, 45 (1997), pp. 42-46 and Fig. 5.
66. Ioannis Scylitzae Synopsis historiarum, ed. I. THURN, Berlin, 1973, p. 275,76-87; murder of
Phokas: Leonis diaconi Calonsis historiae libri decem, ed. K. B. HASE, Bonn, 1828, pp. 93,1-94,15.

Fig. 1 - Aerial photograph of the quarter of Sultanahmet in 1916. MAMBOURY - WIEGAND, Die Kaiserpalste von Konstantinopel.
Zwischen Hippodrom und Marameer, Berlin-Leipzing, 1934, Plate 2.

M. FEATHERSTONE
TAB. I

TAB. II

M. FEATHERSTONE

Fig. 2 - Outline of the Old (Upper) Palace (above, to the right), the New (Lower) Palace (below,
to the left), the Triconchos-Sigma complex of Theophilus (828-842) and, in broken lines, the
(Lower) Palace walls of Nicephorus Phocas (963-869), after W. MLLER-WIENER, Bildlexikon
zur Topographie Istanbuls. Byzantion, Konstantinoupolis, Istanbul bis zum Beginn des 17. Jahrhunderts,
Tbingen, 1977, p. 177.

Fig. 3 - Sketch plan of the Chrysotriklinos and adjoining buildings.

M. FEATHERSTONE
TAB. III

Discussione sulla lezione Featherstone

HUSCHNER: vielen Dank fr den interessanten und facettenreichen


Vortrag. Sie haben darin architektonische Vorbilder aus Bagdad fr Bauten
im kaiserlichen Palastbezirk erwhnt. Knnten Sie darauf noch etwas
ausfhrlicher eingehen? Zudem wrde mich interessieren, in welchen konkreten
historischen Kontext das Mosaik gehren knnte, das Kaiser Konstantin
als Stadtgrnder und Justinian als Bauherrn der Hagia Sophia darstellt.
FEATHERSTONE: in der Beschribung der Bauttigkeit von Theophilus
im Bereich des Grossen Palastes gibt es keinen Hinweis auf arabischen
Stil. Aber wir wissen das Theophilus den Bryas-Palast im, Zitat, reinem
arabischen Stil errichten liess; und seine verschiedenen isolierten Einzelbauten
im neuen (unteren) Grossen Palast erinnern an die abbasidischen Palste.
Ich kann das Mosaik in Verbindung mit einem bestimmten Ereignis
nicht stellen, aber das sdwestliche Vestibl ist im 10. Jahrhundert als
Prozessionseingang des Kaisers zugefgt worden, und die Bilder von
Konstantin und Justinian passen gut zur Propaganda des makedonischen
Frstenhauses, sie stnden in der Tradition von Konstantin dem Grossen,
Grnders der Stadt und des Staates und Justinian, Grnder der
Sophienkirche.
CARILE: your very interesting lesson has evoked the interest for the
underground buildings of the Sacred Palace. Have they any rapport with
the buildings described by Constantine VII and are they useful in order
to define spaces and functions of the Palace?
FEATHERSTONE: the only underground structures heretofore excavated
which can be identified with descriptions in the De Cerimoniis are the
corridors connecting various parts of the Palace.

610

LA DISCUSSIONE

The newly discoved substructures in the excavations of the Four Seasons


Hotel would appear to have belonged to the Magnaura; but there is no
thorough publication of these excavations, and no one I know has proposed
identification with any precise part of the Magnaura.
LIZZI TESTA: thank you very much, Professor Featherstone, for your
lesson. I wonder whether we know something more about the Constantinopolitan square where the Horologion was. Had that square been built
in order to remind the Roman square where the Ara Pacis was?
FEATHERSTONE: I do not believe so. The horologion here was of the
Chrysotriklinos, built in the sixth century in what would become the
new, lower Palace. There was no square as such in this place. Clocks
(sundials) were a common feature on important buildings.