levantia title



Male dress in Rômania

Governor of the City

Junior courtier

Court undress

Aristocratic casual

Noble outer wear

Common male dress

Sunday best


An example of junior court regalia

The Book of Ceremonies tells us that in the tenth century the great majority of the court at Constantinople wore regalia that was not a riot of opulent colours, but white. This should not be so surprising, for before the technologies of chemical bleaching making fabric a true white was very difficult, and keeping it that way demanded great care and constant effort. The hegemony of white was a paradigm which had been established in the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, and five hundred years later major items of regalia, such as the khlamus (χλάμυς) with purple tavlia (τάβλια) were still in use unchanged.

The very lowest ranks of male courtiers, such as spatharokandidatos and dishupatos, wore the kamision, a white tunic with the so-called “persian-sleeves” but no decoration, as did higher ranking men on less formal occasions. The men who routinely wore the kamision performed many of the administrative functions of court and government. One of those functions was that of mandatôr, whose task it was to disseminate imperial decrees. The insignium of their function was a red baton.1

A full explanation of the outfit and its pictorial and literary sources may be found in the author’s book, By the Emperor’s Hand: court regalia and military dress in the Eastern Roman Empire, Frontline Books, Barnsley 2015.

For some military ceremonial outfits see ‘Uniforms’ page in the military category.

Outfit by Timothy Dawson


1) De Cerimoniis, ed. reiske, p. 708.