De Ceremoniis

   On the Ceremonies of the Byzantine Court (De ceremoniis aulae byzantinae), written by Constantine VII (q.v.), is a compilation of materials pertaining to the required court rituals for various occasions, e.g., the reception of foreign ambassadors, baptism, marriage, the burial of emperors (q.v.), coronations, proper etiquette in the Hippodrome (q.v.), and processions on feast days. The work may have been intended as an archive (e.g., the work of Peter the Patrician [q.v.] is included) for a future manual on court ritual. For historians it is a gold mine for the study of Byzantine diplomacy, for how the Great Palace (q.v.) was laid out, for historical events such as the reception of Olga (q.v.), and for the offices and dignities of the Byzantine court. This work illustrates how integral and pervasive was court ritual to all aspects of Byzantine government. As Liutprand of Cremona (q.v.) and every foreign ambassador learned, court ritual served as a constant reminder of one's place in relation to Byzantine imperial power.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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