Byzantine Fashions (Dover Pictorial Archives) by Tom Tierney

By Tom Tierney

Illustrations of real costumes, as depicted in historic mosaics and sculpture, exhibit dresses of all classes--from uncomplicated tunics of early Christian commoners and physique armor of Roman warriors to a pallium adorned with crosses, worn via a clergyman of the tenth century; and finely brocaded gown of a 12th-century Byzantine princess. shoes, headgear, and hair types also are provided in a set absolute to encourage and pleasure colorists and gown designers. Descriptive captions.

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Two of the three pigs, defying the two-dimensional space of the page, climb into the dragon’s lair while the third pig persuades him to break out of his sepia-coloured environment into a world of colour and movement, signified by the photo-realistic depiction of the climbing pigs. In the central panel in the lower third of the page the dragon bemusedly observes the pigs who cling to his back as he proceeds from the fairy tale setting to new narrative worlds. Beyond the dragon and his cargo of pigs stands the king’s castle, a stock Disney-style structure; the panels on either side bear the static image of the golden rose of the story.

In fact, because we cannot experience the reality of the past our consumption of the past relies on anachronism, a word which need not be pejorative; it derives from the Greek ana (not, without) and chronos (time). As long ago as 1962 Georg Lukács, one of the first theorists of historical fiction, borrowed Thinking about the Middle Ages 27 the term ‘necessary anachronism’ from Hegel to refer to the inescapable presentism of writing about the past; Lowenthal, discussing heritage and the past, says that ‘we are bound to update the past whenever we engage with it; no matter how much we may feel we owe to or empathize with earlier epochs, we remain people of our own time’ (1996: 153).

These negotiations between medieval and modern hinge on narrative strategies which simultaneously contrast the medieval with modernity, and encourage readers to align themselves, as reading subjects, with medieval protagonists. Historiography and medievalist fiction Imaginings of the medieval are intimately bound up with conceptions of history and historiography. The narrative turn which transformed Thinking about the Middle Ages 25 the discipline of history from the 1970s was ushered in by the work of Hayden White who, reacting against the so-called ‘scientific history’ of the nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries, introduced a narrativist conception of history.

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