Towards a history of the Greek hil'at: an interweaving of Byzantine and Ottoman traditions

Variant title
K historii řeckého hil'at: prolínání byzantské a osmanské tradice
Source document: Convivium. 2017, vol. 4, iss. 2, pp. [176]-191
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
License: Not specified license
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The presentation of a cloak (mandyas) as a symbolic act of the Patriarch-elect's confirmation by the Byzantine Emperor was one of the ceremonial traditions of the Church. In a similar way, the capstone of a Greek clergyman's investiture by Ottoman officials was the presentation of the hil'at caftan, the symbol of social status and prestige par excellence. This intentional or coincidental interweaving of Byzantine and Ottoman traditions has been noted in foreign travelers' accounts, indicating a wide understanding of the entanglement. Official Ottoman documents, in contrast, provide more reliable information on the type of hil'at given and the position of the clergymen who received it. The evidence of vestments preserved in Greek sacristies suggests that this fundamentally bureaucratic practice might have substantially affected dress used in religious rituals and processions. Supporting this hypothesis is a discussion of relevant textile remnants, many of which were reused. The article opens up the discussion of this aspect of the ceremonial use of textiles in the search for how the Ottoman secular aesthetic influenced Greek ecclesiastical material culture from the fifteenth century and beyond.
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