Fabrics and Clothing

Maria Parani

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Fabrics and Clothing

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During the Byzantine Era, clothing was an important commodity, which, other than satisfying the basic need of protecting the human body from the elements, could bring profits to both the state and private entrepreneurs. Acquiring garments, especially those made of or decorated with expensive materials such as gold and silk thread, was perceived to be a wise investment from an economic perspective. Clothing also had aesthetic value and conferred prestige upon the bearer. That clothing in Byzantium functioned as a reflection of status was evident in the attire of the imperial court. A variety of archaeological, written, and artistic sources has led to a better understanding of certain aspects of the production, marketing, and use of fabrics and clothing in Byzantium. Archaeological evidence comes in the form of garments and other textiles recovered from Egyptian necropoleis and Syrian sites. Different materials were used to make Byzantine clothing, most of them linen, cotton, woollen, and silk fabrics.

Keywords: Byzantine Era; fabrics; clothing; garments; textiles; Byzantium; cotton; linen; silk

Article.  4837 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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