Another Favorite Museum: Byzantine & Christian Museum of Athens

I have a new FAVORITE museum: The Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens Greece. Not reading Greek, I am limited to exploring images or sticking to the English language page. Still, for exploring the culture of my persona and characters, this is a thrill to find on-line.

I found this lovely museum page thanks to this image:
2141 - Byzantine Museum, Athens - Byzantine ceramic ware - Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, Nov 12 2009              By G.dallorto (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons


The pottery, in the pictures is listed as 9th-13th century. I could use this, and mug with the two small finger loops (seen in another image), as the basis for feast gear for an SCA: Society for Creative Anachronism event.

Lighting could be via a lamp like THIS. LOVELY! I like the two fish on a line.

Or THIS lamp. Note the loops for hanging the lamp and the fish coming out of the fish’s mouth to hold the wick.

HERE is a pretty gold buckle I would not mind using on a belt!

All in all a delightful museum!

The City: Constantinople in 1200

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to actually WALK THROUGH CONSTANTINOPLE?  This wonderful web site is a re-creation based on archeological records and the knowledge of great scholars merged with a wonderful geeky computer person.  Go see what they have done! It is WONDERFUL!

APPROACHING BY SEA the traveler could have seen these sea walls and marveled at the size and scope of the defenses! They would see the Hagia Sophia in the distance on a rise– imagine approaching at night during Easter with the entire place lit up?

I can just imagine sitting in these seats (scroll down a bit) and watching the races. I love horse races! Scroll a bit further down and imagine driving your horses through the arch onto the track and the cheering of the crowds.

The Monastery of St John the Baptist was of great influence in the 9th century and very likely in my focus on the 10th century. The architecture dates back into the mid to late 400’s. It is very beautiful and the original funding was by a senator Stoudios.

Home to Basil II in the 10th century: the Boukoleon Palace.

Of course I had to visit the page for the Hagia Sophia. I read a book on Liturgy for my period and region of the world. It talked about where the Divine Liturgy began and from which point it moved. Quite the complicated liturgical pattern!  Now I can “see” the building and imagine each part of the Divine Liturgy.

Of course, this wonderful site has a page of links to similar sites that cover places like ROME and BABYLON.  Go look, the work is so awesome and amazing!

Oh the joy I feel when perusing these pages!

I am very much hoping that this marvelous web site eventually will become a full color table top book with a CD– that is what I want. I would happily spend for a book and CD like that– and might even give a copy as a gift if I knew of a family member who would appreciate it enough!

Or maybe a wonderful app for the IPad where you could walk through and click on the map and read about each place.  I would download that to my iPad in a heartbeat, and again to my kid’s iPad!  I’d buy such an app!

So, go visit this wonderful site and enjoy. Wish they had a go-fund-me so they can do even more of this sort of work.  I love archeology recreated so we can better understand what the places were like in the past.

Two Favorite Museums: Dumbarton Oaks and Getty Museums

These two museums are wonderful examples. The first for their diligent efforts to further scholarship and the second as an example of how user friendly a museum can be.


First, Dumbarton Oaks Museum is so much more than a museum. I love using their web site. Of their Byzantine Collection they say,

The Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Collection is one of the finest collections of artifacts from the Byzantine Empire. Spanning the imperial, ecclesiastical, and secular realms, the collection comprises more than twelve hundred objects from the fourth to the fifteenth centuries.

I would add that their publications are of great value to anyone who wishes to delve into the thinking of scholars of Byzantine and related studies. Be sure to explore their coin and seal collection.

Dumarton Oaks also offers manuscripts in digital form. Of the Manuscripts in the Byzantine Collection they say,

Illustrated manuscripts are not simply texts. Neither are they simply a series of images. They are objects which combine text and image into a visual and verbal tool with particular uses and behaviors. We experience books sequentially by turning the pages. We can only experience a real book as openings, and then only one opening at a time. These animated manuscripts allow you to page back and forth through these books as they were intended to be used, and as they were used for hundreds of years before arriving at the museum.

The Dumbarton Oaks search page for the collections is easy to use. Simply choosing from the icons or heading leads to this early Byzantine pendant or this one.


The J Paul Getty Museum is a delightful museum with a wonderful, easy to use search pattern. J Paul Getty Museum-Byzantine search and the example:Bead 9-10 century. I would love to see more museum web pages this easy to use.