Bibliography on Byzantine Material Culture and Daily life

The aim of this project is to collect all secondary sources concerning objects of daily life and the material culture of Byzantium covering the period from 300 AD until 1500 AD. The project will offer an interaction between texts and objects, and it should be useful not only for researchers in the area of Byzantine studies, but also in other medieval disciplines. The main source to find relevant material is the bibliographical section of the "Byzantinische Zeitschrift" (1892 − ), but a re-reading and a re-classification of the bibliographical material is necessary. Entries of the following lexica are included to build up a basic thesaurus: Lexikon des Mittelalters (1976-1998), The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (1991) and Reallexikon zur byzantinischen Kunst (1966-.

The great advantage of an online-database is that it can be regularly updated, new categories can be created, links can be easily established between categories and entries can be annotated.

The investigation of material culture and daily life has been at the centre of the research at the Institute of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Vienna since the 1980s. The 16th International Congress of Byzantine Studies, held in Vienna in 1981, paid special attention to these matters, and in the following year a project dealing with this topic was initiated at the Institute ("Alltagsleben und materielle Kultur von Byzanz"). A card catalogue arranging all available secondary literature in categories was produced and it is still an important and useful tool for information on certain aspects of Byzantine life. This system entails 20 main categories (Life cycle; Settlement; House and household; Food and beverages; Clothing and jewelry; Health and medicine; Agriculture; Mining; Trade; Traffic and transportation; Law; Sciences; Art; War; Weights and measures; Nature and climate; Church; Monasticism; Emperor and court) each divided in up to 10 subdivisions. For the database, the categories of this card index have been adapted and combined with the Index of The Dumbarton Oaks Hagiographic Database


Please send additions, corrections, remarks to
Dr. Michael Grünbart
Universität Münster
Seminar für Byzantinistik
Platz der Weißen Rose
D-48151 Münster
Tel. *49 251 83 25112


Basic Bibliography
K. Dark, Secular Buildings and the Archaeology of Everday Life in the Byzantine Empire. Stroud 2003.
M. Grünbart - D. Stathakopoulos, Sticks and Stones - Byzantine Material Culture: A Survey. In: Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 16 (2002) 298-327.
E. Kislinger, Aspekte der realienkundlichen Auswertung. In: Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik 32/3 (1982) 469-478.
H. Köpstein, Realienkunde - Materielle Kultur - Alltagsleben in Byzanz: Zu Termini und Forschungsstand. In: Medium Aevum Quotidianum, Newsletter 9 (1987) 6-25.
P. Schreiner, Stadt und Gesetz - Dorf und Brauch. Versuch einer historischen Volkskunde von Byzanz: Methoden, Quellen, Gegenstände, Beispiele. In: Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Philologisch-historische Klasse 2001/9, 3-96.