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Female dress

The Empress

A senior court lady

Traditional dress

Affluent casual

“Ethnic” style

Theatre costume

A typical middle Byzantine outfit

This is a detail of a more typical treatment of the outfit seen on the ‘“Good Woman’” shown on the previous page.

Her headdress, which was very common wear in Rômania from the turn of the eleventh century, if not earlier, is called a σαβάνιον / savanion.1 Its method of wrapping can be seen here.

The ubiquitous woman’”s cape, called μάντιον / mantion, is a flat half circle, and might occasionally have rounded corners.2

The dress is a simple ἱμάτιον / himation with close-fitting sleeves, in contrast to the wide-sleeved delmatikion of the noblewoman.3 The embroidery at the collar and cuffs was based upon tenth century craftworks. Point at the picture for a closer look without the mantle.

Dress constructed by Edith Castro to a pattern and design by Timothy Dawson.


1) Timothy Dawson, ‘Propriety,Practicality and Pleasure: the parameters of Byzantine women’s dress, c.900 to c. 1204’’, Lynda Garland, (ed), Byzantine Women: Varieties of Experience 800–1200, Ashgate, 2006.
2) Mantion: De Ceremoniis, ed. I. Reiske, Bonn, 1839, p. 581.
3) Himation used for dresses: ‘‘Testment de la Nonne Marie’’, Actes d’’Iviron II, eds. Jacques Lefort, Nicholas Oikonomides, Denise Papchryssanthou, Paris, 1990, p. 179, 180.