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This book presents the most prolifically illustrated medieval chronicle. It is embellished with 574 miniatures, painted in Italy by seven artists: Four Italians, an Englishman or Frenchman and two Byzantines - a unique cooperation between artists of different nationalities. The miniatures of the manuscript, all of which are reproduced here in full colour, illustrate various subject matter, including court ceremonies, cavalry and naval battles, sieges, hunts, and scenes of daily life.
     The book is based on a Ph.D. thesis presented to the University of Heidelberg, which was accepted summa cum laude. The author, a promising young scholar, has studied the manuscript for many years and diligently compared every scene to the text of the chronicle and to other relevant texts whenever a scene deviated from the original passage. In this work she examines the iconography and style of the miniatures, compares them to similar miniatures in Byzantium and the West and establishes the date and place of production of the manuscript.


CONTENTS: Foreword. Introduction: The State of Research, Purpose of the Present Study and Working Method. Chapter One. Description of the Codex: Provenance, Codicological Analysis, Palaeographical Study (The Scribes, the Marginal Poems, the Captions to the Miniatures, the Date of the Script and the Question of the Scriptorium, the Initials, the Marginal Notes). Chapter Two. The Content of the Chronicle and the Textual Tradition: The Author and his Work, The Textual Tradition, The Poems. Chapter Three: The Illustrations of the Matritensis: The Decoration System, The Arrangement of the Illustrations, The Methods of Dividing the Text. The Relationship between Text and Image with regards to the Content. Chapter Four. The Miniatures and their Relationship to the Text: Michael I Rhangabe to Konstantinos IX Monomachos. Chapter Five: The Iconography of the Skylitzes Matritensis and its Sources: The Imperial Iconography (The Imperial Insignia, The Throne, The Enthroned Emperor, Audience Scenes, The Accession to the Throne, Marriage scenes, Triumphal Scenes, The Emperor at War, The Death of the Emperor, Representations of Foreign Rulers), Combat Scenes (The Military Equipment, Battle Scenes), The Appointment of the Patriarch, Illustrations of Lives of Saints (Translation of Relics), Architectural Representations (The Byzantine Group, The Western Group), Scenes of Daily Life (Musicians, Masons, Agricultural Labour, Bath Houses, The Siamese Twins, A Teaching Scene, The Journey of Danielis, Hippodrome Scenes), Costumes (Dignitaries, Secondary figures, Female Costumes, The Costume of the Foreigners, Clerical Costume), Historical Representations. Chapter Six. The Style of the Miniatures: The Byzantine Painters, The Western Painters, The Matritensis in the Art of the Twelfth Century. Chapter Seven. The Place of the Matritensis in the Sicilian Society. Conclusions, Index, Bibliography, List of Illustrations, Illustrations 1-604.

“Considering the outstanding competence of the author and the value of her work, one is loath to quibble about a few minor details.” Christopher Walter in: Revue des études Byzantines, 61 (2003), 262.


"Mit ihrem methodisch und sachlich voll überzeugenden Erstlingswerk hat die junge Wissenschaftlerin ein opus magnum geschaffen, das der byzantinischen Forschung alle Ehre macht." Peter Schreiner in: Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 97 (2004), 256-260.


"L'étude a été bien menée et les résultats sont présentés avec beaucoup de clarté, notamment grâce aux 604 illustrations de haute qualité qui permettent de suivre et de vérifier l’exposé de l’a. Il va sans dire que ses analyses devraient également intéresser les historiens de l’époque byzantine." J. Declerck in: Scriptorium, 58 (2004), Bulletin codicologique, p. 105.


"Das Buch ist eine Pfilchtlektüre für all diejenigen, die sich mit mittelalterlichen und byzantinischen Handschriften und Handschriftenilluminationen beschäftigen. Es ist aber auch eine unbedingte Empfehlung für alle, die an mittelalterlicher und byzantinischer Geschichte und Kulturgeschichte im allgemeinen interessiert sind." T. Pratsch in: Das Altertum, 49 (2004) 3, pp. 237-240.

Bound, 24 x 17 cm., 664 pp. (448 pp. text, and 584 illustrations in full colour and 20 in black and white)

2002                                                                             ISBN 90-806476-2-4

Price: Euro 250


Emperor Theophilus orders the Eparch of Constantinople to execute the accomplices of Michael II Travlos

Madrid, National Library, Codex Vitr. 26-2, fol. 102ro, 12th century